I love plants with a story


A friend asked me where I got my white, amazingly scented, double-flowered lilac tree the other day. I didn't buy it; it came with the farm when we acquired it. Perhaps a Mother’s day present, I’ll never now.

Our 18th century property was so overgrown, the first time we saw it we didn't even notice there was a house for only the barn was visible. Trees and rambles had moved in and invaded the living quarters. We cleared the house and the yard around it for months. By the end of fall, I could see the potential the land had to offer and I started dreaming what I would grow there.

In front of the house, I discovered an old lilac shrub in poor condition but with lots of shoots sticking out of the ground all around it. I pruned the lilac really hard, thinking that if it wants to grow, it will. Dug out all the suckers, potted them and forgot them on the side of the house for a few seasons.

What a surprise in the spring when my lilac tree bloomed. It was the old fashion kind of syringa, with white heads that looked like fluffy bunnies, and an heavenly scent that took me right back to my grand-mother's garden in Paris.

I jumped with joy when most of the potted lilac shoots rooted and turned into strong little shrubs. I eventually planted them next to the lavender field and waited, watching them grow slowly for four years. Finally, this May, the reward; they are all blooming, faithful to the parent plant.

These trees have sent shoots of their own, so guess what? in another four years I’ll have a lilac grove!

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