Monday, May 7, 2012

Lilac Love

French hybrid lilac 'Monge'
Day 109
The Daily DuBrule

On a regular basis I am asked "What is your favorite plant?" Usually, I answer that it depends on the week. But hands down, one plant that is always on my top ten list is lilacs. I am a sucker for fragrance. Lilacs do it for me. I have an old fashioned, common purple lilac beneath my bedroom window. Heaven. Who could ask for more? 

The problem with lilacs is that they don't bloom for very long. It usually rains when they are in flower, which doesn't help things. This year, my old fashioned lilacs bloomed in late April and are just finishing up now. Thank goodness I have the next lilac just opening: Syringa meyeri 'Palabin', also called the Korean lilac. My plant is a grafted tree form that I dragged around with me for years until I finally found a good home for it when I moved to Middletown. It is really happy here. Korean lilacs usually bloom in late May and early June thus true to form for 2012, they are open now, 3 weeks early. The fragrance is intoxicating. You can smell this plant from across the yard. The buds are deep purple and the flowers are soft purple. If you are looking for an earlier lilac, try Syringa x hyacinthaflora varieties. They start flowering a few weeks BEFORE Syringa vulgaris and the French hybrids, thus moving the season back a bit.
My Korean Lilac
The latest introduction into the world of lilacs is a Proven Winner called 'Bloomerang'. This is a repeat blooming lilac and they are right, it does keep blooming. The flowers are a soft lilac color but they really don't have much of a fragrance which ruins it for me. As a flowering shrub that gives you months and months of color, they are the best. But if you grow lilacs for their scent, you will sink your nose into these flowers and come up empty.
'Bloomerang' lilac

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