Lilacs in July

July 1, 2013

blog_judy_coolsMoonlighting. A blog by Judy Cools

Ahhhhh….. Lilacs!! Nothing touches my heart quite the way lilacs do in the spring. From the soft purplish-gray ones that look like they belong in the quiet palette of a Victorian painting, to the deep, rich double purples and bright thistle colors, it seems like each time I see one it becomes my new favorite.

I never tire of seeing them as I travel about. They are welcome signs of spring throughout the neighborhoods; they stand as testimony to beauty-in-the-wild along the roadside or in a field. No matter, they always bring me a smile.

As a child, I remember a circular planting of multi-colored lilacs in a family friend’s yard. We kids used to crawl into the middle of the circle and delight in lying on the ground to look up at the blossoms up above us. And the fragrance!! Inside that circle was just overwhelming with their sweet scent.

Knowing my fondness for lilacs, my mom got us a beautiful pinkish-purple lilac for our 15th anniversary, which as you might imagine was a good long time ago. It was in flower when she gave it to us, which is helpful since it’s rarely bloomed in the years since. Lovingly, we have moved it with us from our house in Onekama, to our first house in Hamlin, and again to our present house in the woods.

I’ve researched how to grow happy lilacs, and have followed all the advice the internet has to offer. I’ve mulched and limed, I’ve provided “enough” sun and plenty of water, I’ve pruned and coddled and had long conversations with it. Yet again this year, it stood as a vibrant testimony to…..foliage. Evidently, there is some secret I have yet to uncover.

In the meanwhile, a second lilac I bought a few years ago surprised me with flowers when I have done nothing special to encourage it. Moreover, I was delighted to find its flower buds just forming a few weeks ago, after most other lilacs had gone to seed. Since this is the first year it’s blossomed, I eagerly waited to see what color they were, and was rewarded with a bright and clear lavender.

I’m not sure if something caused it to blossom so late, or if it’s just an extremely late-blooming variety. No complaints from here, though. It blossomed, and gave me lilacs when I thought the season was done. And this is why we have a story about spring flowers, when we’re all the way into July.


© 2013, J. Cools

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