Aside from Roses, there is no flower as beautiful and aromatic as Lilacs. Of the two, Lilacs have a stronger scent that carries quite a distance. Unfortunately, Lilacs bloom for only a very brief couple weeks in the spring. To prolong their presence in your yard, grow a variety of Lilacs, including, early, mid and late varieties. With variety and luck, you may be able to see Lilacs in bloom in your yard for up to six weeks. Weather will have a lot to do with how long your blooms last. Once the buds begin to open, pray for a cool dry spell. Once the blooms are over, you still have a nice shade bush, but you have to wait for up to fifty more weeks to see them again.
Lilacs in the United States date back to the mid 1750’s. They were grown in America’s first botanical gardens and were popular in New England. Both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew them in their gardens. Lilac bushes can live for hundreds of years, so a bush planted at that time may still be around. Lilacs originated from Europe and Asia, with the majority of natural varieties coming from Asia. In Europe, lilacs came from the Balkans, France and Turkey.
Where is the Lilac Capital of the World? Many areas grow them and many have a wide variety in large numbers. But Rochester, N.Y. undoubtedly is the Lilac Capital of the World. It’s love for Lilacs dates back to 1892 when Highland Park horticulturalist John Dunbar planted 20 varieties on the sunny southern slopes of the park. Highland Park in Rochester is the scene of an annual, two week long Lilac Festival ,with over a half a million people attending the event each year. This park has over 500 varieties of lilacs and more than 1200 lilac bushes in the parks’ 155 acres.
In addition, many homes and parks in the Rochester area have one or more lilac bushes. If you take a ride along many of the Finger Lakes, you will find thousands of them along the roadside and the sweet smell will come right through your open window.
A Stately Bush: On August 18, 2006, New York State Governor George Pataki proclaimed the Lilac as the State bush.
From The Gardener’s Network