An Alameda Garden: Lilac in Bloom

Friday, April 16, 2010

Lilac in Bloom

This is the first bloom of the lilac I planted a couple years ago:

I wish you could smell this! I also wish more people in the bay area would plant lilacs. It is commonly thought that they won't bloom here because our winters aren't cold enough. But I can testify that they do in fact bloom in Alameda. And you don't have to shovel snow to make it happen!

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  1. Too bad we can't send smells over the internet, right? No lilacs here for a while though they are pretty commonly planted. The main thing keeping them from blooming here is moose browsing.

    Christine in Alaska

  2. Well, I can imagine the scent and it is lovely. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I was away for the weekend and my husband surprised me by removing a terrible old juniper and replacing it with a lovely lilac in our front yard. I adore lilacs and am glad that someone else is able to get them to bloom in Alameda.

  4. Anonymous4:16 PM

    Here’s a little story about seemingly non-blooming lilacs.
    While living on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington, at about 950 feet above sea level, we had freezing temps all through winter and come spring, Port Angeles came alive with lilacs of every color and fragrance. Lilacs and red geraniums are your Dad's favorites (reminders of his days on Mackinac Island) so we planted a lovely lilac right in the middle of the lawn. 3 years passed, 4 years, 5 . . . and more, the darn thing appeared to be very healthy but wouldn’t bloom. I read every book I could find, asked every nurseryman I came across (this was before computers) and they all said the same thing. “We get this question a lot and we don’t know why some lilacs just don’t seem to want to bloom but try putting down a handful of lime late summer/early fall, that seems to work well”. I did the lime thing, religiously, for 3 years-----nothing. Then I happened upon a nurseryWOMAN who gave me the common sense answer. “The reason plants bloom is to make seeds and reproduce. If you trick it into thinking it’s in danger of dying, it will put lots of energy into trying to bloom. Shove a spade into the ground deep enough to injure a few roots (shock it---make it think it’s being dug up). You might also want to make a few superficial cuts in the bark”. I got out my shovel and made 3 or 4 digs into the ground about a foot from the trunk, then, just for good measure, I smacked it a couple of times with a butcher knife. Guess what happened the following spring? 2 glorious blossoms!!! From then on, that lilac was a blooming fool!! ~ Dawn


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