|HEAVY FOG THIS MORNING|
|COMMON AND HYBRID LILACS...|
|...COME IN MANY COLORS|
|BE SURE YOUR SELECTIONS ARE FRAGRANT AND WILL LAST AS CUT FLOWERS|
|JAPANESE TREE LILAC, BLOOMS AFTER COMMON LILACS|
Monday, 8:30 AM. 48 degrees F at the ferry dock and on the back porch. The wind is variable and calm, the sky overcast and very foggy. The humidity is 97%, the barometer steady at 30.04". Today should clear to partly cloudy, with highs around 50. Midweek highs will be around 60, with clearing skies. By Wednesday it will warm up to a high of 70 again, with a chance of rain. Fog horns are sounding again this morning, but it is quite beautiful with the sun trying to burn through the gloom.
Lilacs are bursting into bloom everywhere now, in colors from traditional lilac to deep purple and pinks and reds and whites. My recorded blooming times for the common lilac, Syringa vulgaris, are: 5/24/15; 5/04/13; 5/15/12; 6/03/11; 6/03/08. So this year they are about on time.
One would think some yellows would have been bred into lilacs along the way, but that color is evidently not in the Syringia gene pool. The genus Syringa is in the olive family. It is native to eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Afghanistan. Selections between vulgaris and other lilac species have been much hybridized over the centuries, the most famous being the French hybrids. There are at least another ten species of lilacs from all over the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, and there are too many selections and hybrids to mention. The only true tree species is S Japonica, which we have been planting in Bayfield as an ornamental street tree, and I am quite pleased with. It is hardy, relatively trouble free, and is spectacular in bloom (after the other species and varieties of lilacs) with its large panicles of creamy white flowers. There are no indigenous North American lilac species, although there are escaped populations established here and there. A lilac bush by the kitchen door was a small luxury not to be denied even the lowliest American pioneer family.
Lilacs are best planted as background shrubs, as they can beome huge (except for a few dwarf varieties) and rather rank in growth habit. They all need to be properly pruned to bloom well, and even occasionally rejuvenated, but they are very long lived. Be sure you want them where you plant them, for that is where they will stay unless you rent a bulldozer.
When choosing a lilac to plant, do some research to be sure the blossoms are fragrant and will keep well when cut and put in a vase…I see no point in planting those that aren't and don't.