We’ll gather lilacs …

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Lilacs smell like they look.  They could have no other scent or colour, the flower simply smells mauve, that haunting naive purple, mysterious and sweet, just this side of decay.  When you think about it, the combination of hue and scent is first correct, then perfect. ~ J. Carroll

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Purple lilacs symbolize the first emotions of love; while white lilacs represent youthful innocence.

According to Greek mythology a beautiful nymph Syringa (Lilac’s botanical name) was chased by Pan, the god of the forests and fields.  Frightened by Pan’s affections, she escaped him by turning herself into an aromatic bush – the flower we know as Lilac.

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For me, the Lilac heralds the next phase of flowering in the garden.  The daffodils and tulips are almost at the end of their time.  We have been graced by their presence over the last few weeks; when they brought an end to the winter drabness and bare borders; now we welcome the newest arrivals, and Lilac is one of the first. 

On a calm day, with the sun shining, their perfume can be almost overwhelming and intoxicating; but a day like today with a strong wind blowing and no heat in the sun the fragrance dissipates as the blooms are tossed like a ship in a storm.

The bushes in my garden are full of blossom but the buds are still mainly tight-closed, like a fist, with just one or two opening as the weak sun catches them.  I snip off a sprig and place it in a tiny vase on my desk so that I may delight in the perfume as I work.

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“The lilac branches are bowed under the weight of the flowers: blooming is hard, and the most important thing is – to bloom.” ~ Yevgeny Zamyatin

To end with I thought I would share some photos husband took over the weekend.

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p.s. Guess what – I have my first ripe strawberry in the greenhouse!  The first of many more to come I hope.

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Elaine

Comments

  1. "we'll gather lilacs in the spring again, and walk together down an English lane"
    we just sang that with my choir for a May Day concert.
    your pictures are lovely. when we lived in Boston we would go every spring to the Arboretum, it is like a whole Kew Gardens of lilacs.

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    1. You sing in a choir - how lovely - I can just imagine a choir singing 'We'll Gather Lilacs' - I would love to have heard it.

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  2. A lovely treatise extolling the Lilac - really like your Erythronium sibiricum, and wish I had one too,

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    1. Thanks Rosemary - it is a new plant to the garden - hope it survives.

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  3. Lilac for me is a memory of childhood but we don't have any in the garden. The photos arer beautiful

    PS I have the same wooden figure,

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    1. I don't have any childhood memories of lilac I'm afraid - they can be a nuisance in the garden though. We had to chop one down as it was threatening to take over. Husband bought me the figure when I used to draw and paint but I don't think I've ever used it for that purpose - I just keep putting it in funny positions.

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    2. I got mine years ago when I subscribed to a weekly art magazine but like you just play at posing it :)

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  4. Gosh you are way ahead of us! Lilacs and strawberries (even in the greenhouse!) Beautiful close ups of the flowers.

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    1. I was surprised myself at the strawberry - the plants aren't very good, no leaves at all and they look as though they are dying - maybe contaminated compost!

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  5. Oooh I could eat that strawberry. Kent strawberries are just coming into the farm shops.

    I love lilac.......cannot have it in the house, for to be truthful, the scent overwhelms me. I love lilies and hyacinth but cannot have them in the house either.

    I love the images your husband has taken.....he has the eye.
    The close up of the flowers are beautiful.

    Lovely joint post Elaine xx

    BTW I was trying to think of a way to send you some auricula when I divide them. Have a feeling they will not travel too well.......

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    1. I am waiting for the strawberry to ripen just a little more before I tuck in!. I will pass on your kind comment to my husband it will make his day. I agree - I don't think the Auricula would do very well - I would have for it to arrive in a sorry state - nice thought though thank you. I did buy one at the weekend - not a very good specimen but it may pick up - you don't see them very often in garden centres - or maybe I just haven't been aware of them till your post drew them to my attention.

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    2. I have not given up on the Auricula ......still thinking :)

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  6. I've always loved lilacs ... May is such a wonderful month for so many of our plants and flowers.

    Liked seeing your husbands pictures too.

    Enjoyed your post, thank you.

    All the best Jan

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    1. Thanks Jan. They are lovely aren't they. There are all sorts of flowers starting to show now - although I think they would do better if we hade a bit more warmth, there is still that spring chill in the air.

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  7. How wonderful - lilac takes me back to my childhood in a little Derbyshire village. We had a lilac tree in the front garden and the colour and scent was wonderful. The tree used to overhang to the roadside where the local bus stop was and the lilac was admired by all who waited there. Lovely post:)

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    1. Thanks Rosie. Everyone in our village seems to have a lilac and they seem to be in all sorts of colours too - for me it has to be the colour it was named after.

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  8. We had a huge White Lilac tree next to our house when I was young, after some heavy rain it became unstable and had to be cut down, I remember crying for the loss of such a beautiful tree...
    Golden acre park (Leeds) were I have visited before has on of the largest collections of Lilac trees on it's grounds, will make a special effort to go see them in flower this year.
    Amanda xx

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    1. My neighbour has a white lilac - the only trouble is it looks awful when the plumes die - they go brown whereas my lilac coloured one doesn't seem to, or at least it's not noticeable. Golden Acre Park sounds wonderful.

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  9. A lovely post! I love lilacs too with their beautiful waxy flowers, intoicating scent and colours (I love the pink and white ones too).

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    1. Thank you. They do look splendid when all the flower buds open but I think they need for the weather to be a bit warmer first.

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  10. I love this post. Here we have anxiously awaited the arrival of the lilacs, but they have fizzeled. I have only a few due probably to the harsh winter that we endured and older bushes. Now we wait on iris and peonies. The little wild flower that I call shooting star brought back memores of my walks with my grandma through the mountain woods at her cabin. Have a wonderful day.

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    1. Oh dear - shame about the lilacs - mine seem to do well most years but a couple of years ago there wasn't a single flower - I was a little worried but they picked up again the following year.

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  11. Your pictures of the lilac, your words and the quotes are cheering. Here we have another thunderstorm at this moment.
    When it is dry I will go outside to see if my lilac is opening her buds and may be I take some flowers inside, I long for their lovely scent on my table.
    Your husband made some beautiful photos, the birds on the feeder so pretty!

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    1. Thanks Janneke. We have had a terrible week of weather - gales and rainstorms, lots of branches lying in the road and most of the blossom blown away but the garden did need the rain so I shouldn't complain. I love the scent of lilacs it can be overpowering indoors but I love the fragrance.

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  12. Your post was uplifting and the photos so beautiful. I could almost smell the lilacs, one of my favourite flowers. I have a small bed of them right outside the bedroom window because of the scent, but the wind has to be just right, to bring it into the house. Beauty of Moscow is a favourite and lasts the longest in the garden. Have a great day.

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    1. Thanks Bren. Our lilac tree is getting quite large now and could do with a good prune but I am reluctant to do it as it does look quite splendid. I don't know what ours is called I think it was in the garden when we came to live here.

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  13. What a beautiful world you live in Elaine...stunning. Our lilacs are just starting here, we are a bit behind the little town down below the mountains, but ours are equally loved even if later. I agree that Lilacs do smell just like they look..

    Jen

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    1. Thanks Jen. The trouble with lilacs is that no sooner than they come into flower they go over very quickly - so I like to make the most of them when they put on their annual show.

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  14. The daffodils are just out and so we are still a ways from lilacs in flower. Last year was a great year for lilacs and I hope this year will be the same. Didn't your hubby take some nice pictures! Please pass on my compliments. And lucky you to already have a ripe strawberry heralding the start of the berry season. I detest the cardboard strawberries in the grocery store and can't wait until we have local berries again.

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    1. I am missing the daffodils already - I still have some white narcissus blooming but I love the freshness of the yellow at the beginning of spring. I will pass on your compliments he gets a lot of enjoyment wandering round with his camera. The supermarket strawberries always seem tasteless to me especially out of season. I think it is more of a treat when you have to wait for them to ripen and can eat them warm from the plant.

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  15. Signs of spring all around you. Just to walk by your lilac bush would be wonderful! I liked all the perennials your husband photographed. Happy spring!

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    1. Oh yes, we are definitely in the full throes of spring now - I love this time of year in the garden so many new things to look at as they come into leaf and flower.

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  16. Hi Elaine, thanks so much for letting me know that you did find me. I have no idea what happened with the redirection, but there are some spots that my blog isn't showing up and it should.

    Jen

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    1. I hope you get all the glitches sorted out Jen - why is nothing ever straight forward?

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  17. Love your lilacs!!!! And you are so right about all of their goodness! And those shots up there! Elaine....they are just so beautiful!!!! It is like time just stood still in those photos! And YAY for strawberries!!!!!! Is there anything better than having your own fresh fruit!!! Happy growing my friend!!! Nicole xoxo

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    1. Thank you Nicole your comments always make me smile - I think we are both on the same wavelength. Happy growing to you too.

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  18. Our lilac was over too quickly, so lovely to see yours.

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    1. It's a shame they don't last longer - wouldn't it be good to be able to freeze the garden when it looks its best.

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  19. Hello Elaine,

    I've just discovered your blog through a comment that you left on mine, and I am delighted to have made your acquaintance. We are kindred spirits in our writings on the great outdoors and the plants and flowers that grow there.

    I adore lilacs and I can almost smell yours across the miles. I've never tried to grow them but should as I cannot think of a good reason why I've not attempted to do so to date. Yours are gorgeous!

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    1. Hello,
      It's nice to meet you to - thanks for visiting - I look forward to reading more of your posts. Lilacs are so easy to grow - you should give them a try - I am sure you won't be disappointed.

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  20. I love lilac, we only had a white one when I was growing up and I was always confused about why it was called lilac when it was white!!!

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    1. Yes - it does seem a bit strange doesn't it.

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  21. A lovely post and wonderful pictures. Mum had both purple and white lilacs in her garden, and were another of her favourites. Flighty xx

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    1. Thanks Flighty. Your Mum had good taste.

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  22. Well hello there, not only are your pictures and prose beautiful but you have a greenhouse?

    Where have you been?

    Thanks for linking, I'm delighted to meet you and your beautiful garde,
    .

    xo J

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    1. Hello Jane
      Thanks for the return visit - delighted to meet you too - I have been wanting to join in with your link but never quite got round to it. Yes - I have a greenhouse - my pride and joy - it's wonderful to work in there when the weather is awful outside.

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  23. Lilacs are magnificent. It seems to me that the flowers of Spring are most fragrant are they not? Lilacs, lily of the valley, and here the acres and acres of orchard blossoms.
    Oh how lucky you are with strawberries all ready ... so lush and tempting. Mine will be pillaged by sneaky little squirrels no doubt!
    Enjoy the weekend.
    Susan x

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    1. Thank you Susan. I am always pushing my nose I to flowers checking for fragrance - at the moment other than the lilac and fragrant narcissus there is Apple blossom and wallflowers which are very heady. This time of year is a delight to be sure.

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  24. my syringa is almost in flower and seems to flower at the same time as the aquilegias and, as you say, heralds the next stage in the gardening year ... a ripe strawberry, how delicious!

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    1. Yes the aquilegia are just starting to flower a beautiful lilac coloured has just appeared no doubt my next blog post will be full of pictures of them - I seem to have let a lot self-seed but I don't really mind they are perfect for my cottage type garden.

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  26. Dear Elaine,
    I love to visit your garden. Its magical.. I have never grown lilacs.. they are beautiful. I must find out if they can grow here in our climate.
    your new header is really lovely.
    Wow, a strawberry.. half each!! ):- you will be getting much more.
    Your hubbies photos are stunning..
    A lovely post.
    wishing you a happy weekend.
    val x

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    1. Dear Val,
      Thank you for your kind comment. I have to admit the garden is looking pretty good right now - plenty of things left to flower in the coming months - the lilacs are flowering their heads off right now - as you say, beautiful. Sorry I ate the strawberry all by myself and of course it was delicious.

      Enjoy your week.
      Elaine

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  27. You have dodecatheon! Such a stunning flower. We used to sell them at the nursery I worked in and I underplanted an acer with them. Beautiful. Dave

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    1. Yes - it is a new addition, quite beautiful and delicate - I hope it survives so I can increase my stock from it.

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  28. Dear. Elaine- your photos of the lilacs are beautiful. I so love their fragrance as well. They always make me think of my dear grand ma. She had such lovely and full bushes. Yummy looking strawberries. How delightful to have them ripening in your greenhouse. Enjoy your week. Hugs

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    1. Dear Debbie
      Thank you. I think in the old days Lilacs were a staple in most people's gardens - I thought that perhaps they had gone out of fashion but it seems from the comments on this post, they most definitely have not.The first strawberry was a real treat and quite delicious.

      Have a good week yourself my friend.
      Elaine

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  29. Oh, I adore lilacs, and I've always wished we had one or more lilac trees in the garden. Such beautiful photographs you've shared, I can practically smell them :)

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    1. Dear Annie,
      They are lovely and add a splash of colour just when the bulbs are finishing. The garden wouldn't be the same without them. Thanks for taking the time to visit.
      Elaine

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  30. Oh....you are naughty showing that strawberry!!!! You'll have the blogging world in meltdown!!! Love to know how you manage it, I took a leaf out of your book and grew mine in the greenhouse this year....not a strawb in sight! Your Lilac is ahead of mine too....not a bud in sight! I fail at gardening....lol! I do love Lilacs and that quote about them smelling as they look is so true! I do love that smell..... I enjoyed the mythology, I'm always fascinated by the myths and legends surrounding plants; Your third pic is gorgeous, what a lovely print that would make, hubs pics were lovely too, I especially enjoyed the wee birds! A lovely entertaining post, as always.xxx

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  31. Thanks Snowbird - I always appreciate your comments. Don't know why your greenhouse strawbs haven't produced - perhaps they're just late starters. I bought one ever-bearer plant to see how it performs - so far it is all mouth and no trousers.

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