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Lilac: “Edward J Gardner"

Lilacs, it’s what April is all about in the Northwest for me personally….while the tulip festivals are going gangbusters, I’m more obsessed right now with the first blooms on my new lilacs planted last fall, thankyouverymuch! (Not that I don’t adore tulips…)

My childhood home had huge lilac bushes, my first home I bought came with what looked like a six-foot stump at least 5” in diameter that, once out of the shade when I had two tree-of-heaven (weed trees) removed, came back from the dead in all it’s lilac glory...only to be destroyed years later when the people we sold the house to razed everything I’d taken over a decade to grow and nurture…including the 100+ year old lilac (below, in happier days)...

Yes, folks, there’s a special place in hell for people who chop down mature lilacs.

When we went to the farm, I made the mistake of buying the wee little starts of lilacs and they drowned in the shitty soil in the garden - so I learned from that and when we downsized to the cottage in the Emerald City, I made sure to ‘buy time’ and planted one several feet tall. Hopefully the new owners are seeing it peeking over the top of the fence now, as I’d planted them and others for privacy hedges.

Here in the Valley, I immediately snagged three different varieties last fall to replace a number of the arbor vitae I’d sold on Craigslist. SUCH an improvement! Our first one is blooming, the Edward J Gardner, a pinkish purplish beautifully scented French hybrid of about 4’ tall right now. It is VERY cold hardy, and like most common lilacs, should double in height within several years which I love (about a foot a year if it’s in a good spot, cool huh?).

"I made wine from the lilac tree Put my heart in its recipe It makes me see what I want to see And be what I want to be." ~ Nina Simone


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