Lilac Revival

April 6, 2016 Parkway 008

This lovely Lilac, another gift left by previous gardeners here, is revived.

Covered in blooms again, with lush spring growth, it is finally performing better than it did that first spring we found it in our new garden .  Revived, you wonder?  What happened?

There was the small matter of Holly Tone,  spread generously for its acid loving neighbors…..   The Lilacs, there are two, are planted among Hydrangeas, Forsythia, and a Rose of Sharon.  I spread Holly Tone pretty generously on all of the acid loving shrubs our first few autumns in this garden.  Azaleas, Hydrangeas and their cousins love Holly Tone and respond with vigorous growth.

But not the Lilac, which prefers a sweet soil.  And these let me know right away that I had made their soil inhospitable.

It was a sad and sorry sight to watch them struggling along these past few years.  We gave them a little lime from time to time and some Plant Tone.   The crisis is finally passed, and they have covered themselves in abundant blooms and beautiful leaves for the first time in several years.


April 6, 2016 Parkway 009

A large ‘Rose of Sharon’ tree towers over our Lilac, with Forsythia and Hydrangea shrubs behind. These have grown together in the garden for a very long time. It is wise to plant Lilac with at least 6′ feet all around for its future growth.


Lilac shrubs enjoy full to partial sun and consistently moist soil.  They have few pests and require little or no maintenance.  Lilacs will grow into small trees if allowed, so plant them with plenty of space!  Deer won’t bother them, and they offer plenty of nectar for pollinators.

I order Lilac shrubs from mail order nurseries and grow them in a pot for their first few seasons, then move them out into the garden.  This is our current potted Lilac, our first with a white flower.  We will plant it in the garden after its bloom has finished.


April 5, 2016 052~

Lilacs make wonderfully fragrant and colorful cut flowers.  Cutting lilacs to bring indoors is simply ‘pruning,’ which should only be done after they bloom each spring.  Prune too early, and you prune the flower buds away!  These long lived shrubs have been popular in both home and public gardens in Europe since late in the 16th Century; and in North American gardens since early colonial times..

There are Lilac enthusiasts who showcase their Syringa collection as the ‘bones’ of their garden.  They prove excellent additions to our Forest Garden.

Woodland Gnome 2016

About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

12 responses to “Lilac Revival

  1. Anonymous

    deer won’t bother them… they eat them

    • It is always interesting to discuss what deer will and won’t eat with other gardeners. Deer candy in one yard is left alone in another. It seems that they don’t all order off of the same menu. I guess we have been fortunate that our lilacs have been left alone- probably because we had more appealing options for them…..

  2. farseems

    What a favorite has been, the lilac.

  3. Ooh, lilacs, I’m so envious! I’ll see mine in maybe 4-5 weeks if it every warms up again. 😉

  4. I love lilacs ! I have one in my garden but over here they are still in bud, the blooms and the leaves.

  5. Such a lovely, old-fashioned flower. I dare anyone to catch a whiff without being transported back in time.

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