Plants: Lilac

April 10, 2012Devon No Comments »

Well, it’s April — Landscape Architecture month. Frederick Law Olmsted (the “Father” of landscape architecture”) was both April 26, 1822 along with some other good memorable people, such as: Charlemagne (April 2, 742), Booker T. Washington (April 5, 1856), Leonardo da Vinci (April 15, 1452), Wilbur Wright (April 16, 1867), Charlie Chaplin (April 16, 1889), J. P. Morgan (April 17, 1837), William Shakespeare (April 23, 1564), and Adolf Hitler (April 20, 1889) — okay maybe not all good memorable people. But that’s beside the point, the most important April Birthday is MINE – LOL! (April 16, 1985). LOL, i’m not that vain, right? Anyways, some interesting events happened in April too: G. Washington inaugurated as the first President of the United States on April 30 1789; Joseph Smith founded the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in April 6, 1830; Louisiana became the 18th state on April 30, 1812.; and Television first publicly broadcast from the Empire State Building on April 30, 1939. But that’s not really want this post is about. It’s my Birthday month plant post! And in honor of my Birthday, I will talk about my favorite flower, Lilac. For as long as I can remember, I loved the smell of Lilac. Syringa is a genus of about 20–25 species of flowering woody plants in the olive family (Oleaceae). It’s a deciduous shrubs or small trees that flowers in shades of purple (often a light purple or “lilac”), white, pale yellow, pink, and even a dark burgundy.

1) Common Lilac (Syringa vulgaris) This is the typical Lilac you can find around, especially public parks in the North East. It does best in full sun and acidic/neutral well drained soils. But, it has an average water need, so water regularly. It is very attractive to bees, butterflies, and birds.

2) Alba (Syringa vulgaris ‘Alba’) the term French lilac has come to mean all cultivars of the common lilac that have double flowers. But this is a white double flowering variety. White Lilac. Now that’s an oxymoron!

3) Charles Joly (SyringaVulgaris ‘Charles Joly’) Shiny purple buds opening into double, magenta flowers that are very fragrant, and excellent for cutting. This strong, long-lasting shrub has an upright shape and is easily grown in average, medium moist, well-drained soil in full sun. Charles Joly Lilac tolerates light shade, but best bloom is in full sun. It prefers organically rich, slightly acidic soils with good drainage. With its lovely spring accent, it makes a wonderful screen or border specimen. This hardy, disease and deer resistant lilac, is simply stunning as it shows off its vivid coloration of the deep, wine-red flowers. It is considered to be the best in its color class.

4) President Grevy (Syringa vulgaris ‘President Grevy’) vigorously growing French Hybrid Lilac with double, lilac-blue, fragrant flowers that are produced on large panicles in May. It is a leggy, suckering, deciduous shrub, somewhat irregular in shape. This is a strong, long lived shrub that will give a lifetime of flowering satisfaction. President Grevy Lilac prefers full sun, good drainage and air circulation. If one removes flowers as they fade, as well as older wood and suckers, it will improve the plants appearance and flower production.

5) Ludwig (Syringa vulgaris ‘Ludwig’) red-purple flowers in early June that are excellent as cut flowers because of their very fine fragrance. This lilac is beautiful as a hedge or background planting. The blooms come late spring, extending the lilac season! This lilac has an outstanding open branched, upright habit useful in mixed shrub borders or in mass plantings. It is easily grown in average, medium moist, well-drained soil in full sun. Ludwig Spaeth tolerates light shade, but best bloom is in full sun. It prefers organically rich, slightly acidic soils with good drainage. Once it is established, it only needs occasional watering

6) Evangeline (Syringa x hyacinthiflora ‘Evangeline’) Evangeline is an early flowering, attractive hardy hybrid that is a profuse boomer; non-suckering and deer resistant too! Since Evangeline is an early bloomer, it flowers a week or more before common lilac. Sites with full to partial sun and well-drained, mildly acidic to mildly alkaline soil are ideal for this early flowering lilac. Evangeline is an ideal old-fashioned shrub for screens, tall hedges, or specimen plants. The blooms make a lovely flower arrangement!

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