Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Early Flowering Lilac (Syringa × hyacinthiflora)

Early Flowering Lilac
Syringa × hyacinthiflora ‘Pocahontas’
(si-RING-ga) (hi-a-sin-thi-FLO-ra)

Okay I have decided to quit complaining about what a crummy early spring we have had, even though there is a chance of snow here for Thursday. Yesterday was a little better weather wise and today it is actually suppose to reach 50 degrees F. I noticed a lot more daffodils out yesterday and that is a good sign. I have been cleaning up one of the large gardens I care for. I spent most of the day pruning some big Junipers. I am not sure what type they are (probably ‘Hetzi’) but they have completely overgrown, which is typical. I have torn out more Junipers than I have planted. I think it is the most misused plant in gardens in this area. They generally just grow too big. The ones I was working on were about 10 feet tall and 30 feet wide. When I looked underneath I could see that it was just 3 original plants. I took about 3 feet off the top and tried to reduce the sides. Of course I have a case of what I call ‘juniper rash’ and it feels like it is getting worse as I remember pruning them yesterday. Don’t get me wrong there are several types of Juniper that I like and I think I will go out and take a picture of some them for this space. There are also certain spots I might consider using them, like the side of a steep dry hill. For the most part I will only be using the dwarf and smaller types and as single specimens in my gardens.

I took this Lilac picture at the nursery when I was looking for a 12-14 foot Magnolia tree. I have been enjoying bud photography but it is sometimes hard to get the right depth of field. The Lilacs growing around here are not as far advanced as I looked at some yesterday and they were just starting to show a little green. I hope to get up to the Arnold Arboretum when the world’s largest lilac collection is blooming. I went a couple of years ago and it was amazing. The NYBG’s Lilac Collection is quite nice, also. I may have to settle for that if I can’t take the time to get up to Boston.

This is a Lilac I have seen growing and it is superb. The dark purple buds open to deep violet single flowers. Developed by the famous lilac hybridizer, Frank Skinner from the Hardy Plant Nursery in Dropmore, Manitoba, to withstand the severe prairie conditions, he introduced several popular hybrids including ‘Pocahontas’ (1935) and ‘Maiden Blush’ (1966). His work in this group of Lilac hybrids is sometimes called the Canadian Hybrid Cultivars. The original early Lilacs were developed in France in the latter part of the 19th century. They generally bloom a week or two earlier than the Common Lilac and can extend the season a bit for Lilac lovers. ‘Pocahontas’ gets up to about 10 feet.


Jackie said...

I have never seen a lilac in real life all I know is I loved the smell of the lilac perfume my Grand Mother used to wear. Nice photo of it.

Marion said...

This is a great site! I love anything about gardens and plants and understand bud photography a least I know how difficult it is! rash! Is there anything like it?

Digital Flower Pictures said...

Jackie, you must try and see a Lilac they are truly a garden treasure. Marion, thanks for visiting and taking the time to comment. I am over my rash but I am sure there will be another case as I slash my way through the numerous Junipers I take care of. I would rather have Spruce rash but that is a topic for another day.

Diane Dehler said...

Lilacs are my favorite flower as I was given an armful of them just a few hours before my daughter was born. Whenever I think of their scent I remember holding her in my arms for the first time.

Digital Flower Pictures said...

Princess that is a nice story. Lilacs will always have a special place in memories of my youth.