Sunday, May 18, 2008

Lilac Season

It's Lilac Season. Yes, I know all the reasons why lilacs are a sadly deficient flower. They only bloom once a year, they make terrible cut flowers, they come in a limited range of colors, and they take forever to get to a nice size. We planted these in 2001, I think, and they're still not where I want them to be.

I don't care. I love lilacs, and they are my favorite flower. Hub 1.0 and I planted nine varietals along the road, intending for them to form a hedge (maybe in another 10 years -- ?). I made a judicious selection from a specialist lilac farm in Canada; I wanted a range of color, floret configuration (single vs. double, for example), and size. But I did pick among those said to have a nice scent.

The first three are pictured here: President Lincoln (a classic "blue" lilac), Charles Joly (the gangly red one), and Edith Cavell (a pleasant white one).

I did try photographing the entire roadside collection, but it's not a very interesting picture. Imagine a bunch of green bushes with dots of color that are barely recognizable as flowers, and you have the right idea.

This is Konigin Luise, and my goodness, she is magnificent this year. Some white lilacs are actually a slightly dirty color, but Luise here is the crispest shade -- making you think of cotton pique, lace-trimmed sheets, or fresh snow.

All the same, I'm fondest of the bluish lilac varietals. This is President Grevy.

And this is President Lincoln. I love this color.

It's funny -- if you saw this plant by itself, you'd say, "Oh, a lilac," and not really think twice about the color. But when you line them all up, you can see the wild variations in color and so forth. Kind of fun.

Baby Charm. No, that's not the official name (which is, possibly, Charm). "Charm" was described on the Canadian lilac farm's website as "pale lilac"; this flower is actually a very robust color in real life. So I don't know if we have Charm here, or what. I don't care. When I ordered all the varietals I wanted, I got the largest size they came in (36" I think), but Charm was only available in a smaller size. After we planted her, she failed to thrive, and actually got smaller!

Hub 1.0 and I worked hard to encourage Baby Charm, as we called her, to grow, and celebrated when she made it to 36". This is the first year she's produced a good show of flowers, and while she bears no resemblance to the description I got from the grower, I love her for sentimental reasons.

Another reason I have to suspecting that I may not have "Charm" here is that there's another clear mix-up in the nine that we purchased. We numbered them from 1 (at the southern end of the road) to 9 (Baby Charm at the north). Here's the list as I recorded it after we'd planted them:

1. President Lincoln (pale blue)
2. Charles Joly (reddish)
3. Edith Cavell (white)
4. Vulgaris -- (lilac)
5. Edward Gardner (pink)
6. President Grevy (bluish)
7. Konigin Luise (white)
8. Katherine Havermyer (lavender)
9. Charm (pale lilac)

Okay, so President Lincoln is clearly right, as is Charles Joly, Edith Cavell, Edward Gardner (not pictured, but a lovely, lacy pink color), President Grevy, Konigin Luise, and Katherine Havermyer (also not pictured). Because I had a small accident with a herbicide in 2003, #4 (intended to be the classic roadside lilac, Syringa Vulgaris) had a set back for a couple years. But it didn't die, and this year the lilac in that position bloomed pretty convincingly . . . pink. In fact, I'm hard pressed to see any differences between it and its neighbor, Ed Gardner. So I don't think I got what I paid for there, either.

These things happen, and there's no reason to be upset. Now, the amount of weeds in my flower beds -- that's upsetting, but now that Mimi is off lead part of the time (we didn't even make it two weeks...), I can get back to weeding. As soon as it stops raining!

1 comment:

  1. Oh, I do love you! I've been missing lilacs BigTime and here you send them to me. Now if you could just send the fragrance...::grin::