Set 1 of My Favorite Lilac Photographs

Bob Jensen at Trinity University 

This is at least the third day in a row with rain and cooler than usual weather. Our furnace
has been running every night since last October. But change is in the air according to the site. Everything is green, green, and more green except in my three flower gardens where my
New Guinea Impatiens for the Sun are all in the ground alongside the phlox

Our bleeding hearts are also having a good springtime

Daughter Maria is a psychiatric nurse in Wisconsin. She hates to fly, so she took the train
to Boston last week, and we met her at the bus station in Concord. She stayed a
delightful five days with us (all good weather). She took the following picture from our front yard.

Mt. Lafayette is on the left and Cannon Mountain is on the west side of Franconia Notch
The ski trail on Cannon leading to the alpine village of Mittersill no longer has any snow


It seems that Sugar Hill's famous lupine bloom later each year, perhaps due to cool weather
But the aromatic lilacs are in full bloom
This bush beside our back deck was damaged in the heavy snow that fell on Memorial Day of 2013


This is a large lilac bush on the golf course south of my barn
This is most likely a composite bush made up of both lavender and white blossoms
The large and small bees are all over the lilacs, but I see more bumble bees than honey bees


Our cottage sits in place of where there was once a large resort hotel --- Scroll down to cottage history

Our barn is one of the few resort buildings not torn down in 1973.
In the 1800s our barn was the power house that generated electric power for the resort
The corner of our barn is visible in the picture below

Erika didn't want me to take this picture beside a young lilac bush



Lilac ---

Syringa vulgaris (lilac or common lilac) is a species of flowering plant in the olive family Oleaceae, native to the Balkan Peninsula, where it grows on rocky hills.[1][2][3] This species is widely cultivated as an ornamental and has been naturalized in other parts of Europe (UK, France, Germany, Italy, etc.) as well as much of North America. It is not regarded as an aggressive species, found in the wild in widely scattered sites, usually in the vicinity of past or present human habitations.


Syringa vulgaris is a large deciduous shrub or multi-stemmed small tree, growing to 6–7 m (20–23 ft) high, producing secondary shoots ("suckers") from the base or roots, with stem diameters of up to 20 cm (8 in), which in the course of decades may produce a small clonal thicket.[7] The bark is grey to grey-brown, smooth on young stems, longitudinally furrowed and flaking on older stems. The leaves are simple, 4–12 cm (2–5 in) and 3–8 cm broad, light green to glaucous, oval to cordate, with pinnate leaf venation, a mucronate apex and an entire margin. They are arranged in opposite pairs or occasionally in whorls of three. The flowers have a tubular base to the corolla 6–10 mm long with an open four-lobed apex 5–8 mm across, usually lilace to mauve, occasionally white. They are arranged in dense, terminal panicles 8–18 cm (3–7 in) long. The fruit is a dry, smooth brown capsule, 1–2 cm long, splitting in two to release the two winged seeds.[1][8] Garden history

Lilacs — both Syringa vulgaris and S. Χ persica the finer, smaller "Persian lilac", now considered a natural hybrid — were introduced into European gardens at the end of the sixteenth century, from Ottoman gardens, not through botanists exploring the Balkan habitats of S. vulgaris.[9] The Holy Roman Emperor's ambassador, Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq, is generally credited with supplying lilac slips to Carolus Clusius, about 1562. Well-connected botanists, like the great herbalist John Gerard, soon had the rarity in their gardens: Gerard notes that he had lilacs growing “in very great plenty” in 1597, but lilacs were not mentioned by Shakespeare,[10] and John Loudon was of the opinion that the Persian lilac had been introduced into English gardens by John Tradescant the elder.[11] Tradescant's Continental source for information on the lilac, and perhaps ultimately for the plants, was Pietro Andrea Mattioli, as one can tell from a unique copy of Tradescant's plant list in his Lambeth garden, an adjunct of his Musaeum Tradescantianum; it was printed, though probably not published, in 1634: it lists Lilac Matthioli. That Tradescant's "lilac of Mattioli's" was a white one is shown by Elias Ashmole's manuscript list, Trees found in Mrs Tredescants Ground when it came into my possession (1662):[12] "Syringa alba".

In the American colonies, lilacs were introduced in the eighteenth century. Peter Collinson, F.R.S., wrote to the Pennsylvania gardener and botanist John Bartram, proposing to send him some, and remarked that John Custis of Virginia had a fine "collection", which Ann Leighton interpreted as signifying common and Persian lilacs, in both purple and white, "the entire range of lilacs possible" at the time.[13] Cultivation

The lilac is a very popular ornamental plant in gardens and parks, because of its attractive, sweet-smelling flowers, which appear in early summer just before many of the roses and other summer flowers come into bloom.[14]

In late summer, lilacs can be attacked by powdery mildew, specifically Erysiphe syringae, one of the Erysiphaceae.[15] There is no fall color and the seed clusters have no aesthetic appeal.

Common lilac tends to flower profusely in alternate years, a habit that can be improved by deadheading the flower clusters after the color has faded and before seeds, few of which are fertile, form. At the same time twiggy growth on shoots that have flowered more than once or twice can be cut to a strong, outward-growing side shoot.

It is widely naturalised in western and northern Europe.[8] In a sign of its complete naturalization in North America, it has been selected as the state flower of the state of New Hampshire, because it "is symbolic of that hardy character of the men and women of the Granite State".[16] Additional hardiness, for Canadian gardens, was bred for in a series of S. vulgaris hybrids by Isabella Preston, who introduced many of the later-blooming varieties, whose later-developing flower-buds are better protected from late spring frosts; the Syringa x prestoniae hybrids range primarily in the pink and lavender shades.

Continued in article


My neighbor to the north has a long row of old lilac bushes that were probably part of the original resort


Although I prefer the English lilacs we have several of the even more sweet-smelling French lilac bushes

Note where we had to cut out an old and large American cranberry bush that did not survive our hard winter of 2014
I hung a geranium basket on the old stump


In the picture below you can see a couple bags of soil that I had left over after planting our flower gardens


When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd

Also see


More of Bob Jensen's Favorite Photographs and Stories ---


What Goes on in a Garden? ---


On May 14, 2006 I retired from Trinity University after a long and wonderful career as an accounting professor in four universities. I was generously granted "Emeritus" status by the Trustees of Trinity University. My wife and I now live in a cottage in the White Mountains of New Hampshire ---

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Our address is 190 Sunset Hill Road, Sugar Hill, New Hampshire
Our cottage was known as the Brayton Cottage in the early 1900s
Sunset Hill is a ridge overlooking with New Hampshire's White Mountains to the East
and Vermont's Green Mountains to the West


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