Surprised By Lilacs

Have I ever mentioned that lilacs are my all – time favorite flower?

I like a lot of flowers, really, and it’s hard to pick a favorite.  Peonies have a special place in my heart because their scent never fails to remind me of my grandmother.  Ann Magnolia trees with their giant pink saucer – shaped flowers remind  me of spring in New Jersey as a child, when it seemed to me they were everywhere.  When the wind blew and the loose petals would fill the air I thought there could be nothing more magical. It was like a fairy tale.

But lilacs. Beautiful white and purple lilacs.  They have the best scent of any flower, bar none.

My grandparents had lilac bushes growing near the hotel (as well as the peonies….and mulberry trees!!) and I have a photo of me at about Neve’s age, with my messy and super – white hair, sitting in the grass holding a giant bunch of lovely lilacs.

Later when we lived up in the Adirondacks the springtime was full of lilac trees everywhere.  Growing all over the roadsides and in backyards.  You could stop almost anywhere and pick as much as you could carry, and it wouldn’t leave even a dent in those huge, densely packed branches. Then we;d bring them home and put them in vases all over the house and the scent of lilacs would faintly waft all through the house.

I miss that.

Since we moved to the south it has been much more difficult to come across lilacs.  Either they are just not as popular here or the growing conditions aren’t quite right.   I’m not really sure.  Some people here certainly have them, but they were fairly hard won – a lot of soil amending and proper placement and care and whatnot.

A few years ago (3 years?  maybe 4) my mother gave me a small lilac sapling that was supposed to be just right for our climate.  I was excited, but cautiously so.

I planted it and kept an eye on it but every spring since I have gotten nothing but a mass of dark green foliage.  Pretty, but no flowers.

This spring I’ve been so distracted by all the stressful things going on that I didn’t even notice until I was bumbling by the tree on my way to the chickens that it had bloomed.

Two large, beautiful, perfect purple cones of lilacs.  What a moment that was.  I didn’t dare cut them to bring them in.

When I came out of my moment I realized that spring had bloomed all around me and I had barely noticed.  How awful , to not even have noticed the brief and beautiful display going on all around me!

The azaleas were fairly shouting for attention!

When we finally move, I will be digging up that lilac tree and taking it with me, as a reminder to never be too shut down to notice the beauty around me.

And I am so buying more of them to plant!!!