Sunday, February 13, 2011

Lilac Lamentations

I met a woman at the garden center the other day.  She was from Michigan, and a long time gardener.  She stated that the one plant she missed the most she could not grow here.  That plant was the lovely lilac.

Texas is not lilac country, at least not East Texas.  Lilacs grow in zones 3-7, and here we are a zone 8.  A hot, humid zone 8.  No lilacs here, even though my new gardening friend from Michigan had tried, in vain.

Many years ago I tried to grow lilacs, too.  I wanted lilacs because I have always heard how beautiful they are, how sweet they smell, and how loved they are.  But --- sit down while reading this --- I have never seen a lilac bloom, nor smelled its sweet scent.  Gasp!

So while my new gardening friend was reminiscing about the lilacs in her former garden, I could only wonder what I have been missing.  But will never know, at least not in my garden.  Perhaps one day I will venture to a garden father north than mine at just the perfect time when the lilacs are in bloom.

But I'm not sure I want to.  I don't think I want to wish for something I can't grow.  I don't want lilac lamentations.

A crab apple bloom, since I have no lilac pictures.

How about you?  What common plant have you never actually seen?  Do you grieve over a plant you can't grow?


  1. I had never seen or smelled a lilac either until I moved "Up North". They are nice, but I'd rather have gardenias. I have tried everything to get gardenias to survive the winter here in NJ, but no luck! I miss that heavenly smell. A summer night just isn't the same without the scent of gardenias!

  2. Hello, HolleyGarden! I didn't know you had your own blog. What a joy to have discovered you today on Blotanical!

    I miss lilacs too, they have come up with some hybrid that tolerate low winter chill, but they are not as good as the real thing.

  3. Like you, I don't seem to wish for things I can't grow... but I do enjoy finding new plants I can grow!

  4. Dear HG, Yes, I think that I should miss Lilacs if I could not grow them. Of course, they are prolific in England and are a marvellous sight in May/ June when their blowsy flowers are to be seen everywhere and their scent flls the air. My favourite is Syringa persica which is a small variety with the most perfect pale lilac/pink and delicious perfume.

    Having been drawn to the very attractive title of your weblog, I have added you as one of my Favourites on Blotanical and am also signing myself as a Follower. I look forward to staying in touch.

  5. Shannon - I do have gardenias, so I am glad you said that. I will not worry any more about not having lilacs.

    Masha - welcome! I found some lilacs for sale at one store, but didn't believe they would grow here. Perhaps they were the hybrids you mention. Most things they 'improve' upon are not as good as the original. Glad I decided not to give them a try.

    Carolyn - thanks for stopping by. I do find that stores seem to be stocking more variety these days, except for roses - it seems only Knockouts are offered. But that's another subject entirely.

    Edith - thanks for following! I should think anyone that is used to lilacs would have a hard time giving them up, they are so adored. Since I can't grow them, I suppose I'm glad I never fell in love with them to start with.

  6. It's great to find another rose gardener!!

    My parents are both transplanted from southern California, and when I go there to visit relatives I am always amazed at the plants that grow there that we have to grow as houseplants in Virgina. The flip side of this is that we have perennial daffodils, lilacs, forsythia, and other flowers that signal the end of winter.

  7. Connie - in a way you have the best of both worlds. At least for a short time while you're visiting. I suppose each zone has a frustration for the gardener - just part of the challenge!


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