It just wouldn’t be spring without the smell of lilacs in bloom. I grew up in western New York and lilacs were everywhere. They were so much a part of this area of the country that Rochester hosted (and still does) a lilac festival each year. Western NY lilacs were large bushed filled with blooms. While I have lilacs growing here in Pennsylvania, the number of blooms just doesn’t compare to the New York plants.
I think part of the issue is the coldness of the winters. Lilacs need a period of cold call vernalization in order to blossom. I planted one lilac on the south side of the house and it never blossomed – the location was too protected and warm. The other lilacs I planted are more exposed and blossom to varying degrees each year.
I don’t know all of the ins and outs of getting a lilac to bloom profusely. Maybe there are some tricks I have yet to learn. But even a few blooms makes them worth growing. Below are some pictures of this year’s lilacs. I especially like the last one of the group. While I usually prefer crisp and clear pictures, softening the focus on a white lilac in dappled sunlight makes it look almost ethereal.
Whether the bush is full of blooms or only has a few scattered flowers, I couldn’t imagine spring without lilacs!