Sunday, May 27, 2007

Fragrant Lilacs in High Altitudes

It's been a busy time for visitors. The last pair departed Thursday, the next person arrived Friday afternoon. Some house guests, like some plants, are high maintenance. Others, not so much. This one rises early without making a sound (and washes the dishes, too!)

This morning, I'm enjoying the intoxicating fragrance of lilac blossoms in full bloom. No cottage garden is complete without them.

Lilacs are misunderstood. They're long-lived and low maintenance ~ getting along fine without extra watering and fertilizer.

I used to be afraid to snip the blooms. Then I discovered that lilacs don't know when to stop caring for their own flowers. The bushes send energy and nutrients to flower stems all summer long.

Do yourself, and the bush, a favor. Picking the flowers re-energizes the lilacs. You'll get lots more flowers next spring.

If you've ever woken up to the fragrance of fresh lilacs on your nightstand, you know that a vase filled with these spectacular blooms can re-energize you, too.

Mountain Lilacs

Popular to 8,000 feet altitude
  • Syringa x persica 'Persian' Lilac
Popular to 9,000 feet altitude
  • Syringa x prestoniae 'Donald Wyman' Lilac
  • Syringa patula 'Miss Kim' Lilac
Popular to 10,000 feet altitude
  • Syringa x chinensis 'Chinese' Lilac
  • Syringa vulgaris 'Common Purple' Lilac
  • Syringa vulgaris alba 'Common White' Lilac
  • S x prestoniae 'James MacFarlane' Lilac
  • Syringa meyeri 'Korean Dwarf' Lilac
  • Syringa x prestoniae 'Royalty' Lilac
Popular to 12,000 feet altitude
  • Skiing and snowboarding on the 4th of July
* When properly selected, lilacs regularly outlive the person who plants them.

* For most flowering shrubs and trees: when in doubt, wait to prune until after you've enjoyed the flowers.


janemngardener said...

Hey-If they have already bloomed, will it benefit the lilacs to now snip off the wilted flowers? I was not aware of this, so will be sure to gather more bouquets next year. We cut ours back a couple years ago, so am wanting to help them thrive properly.

Anonymous said...

As a good rule of thumb, you always prune shrubs shortly after they've bloomed. It takes a full season for shrubs to set bud. So don't prune spring bloomers in the spring or summer bloomers in the summer! Of course, there's always exceptions. One exception is the everbearing (usually hybrid) rose. They bloom on current year's growth. So prune them often and enjoy the blooms!