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The UberLilac

Thursday, May 8, 2008

I’m torn in spring between telling you about my travels and showing you the things that are blooming at the moment. As I write, the heirloom lilac is at its absolute peak, every floret open. The entire yard, all the way out to the vegetable garden, smells heavenly. It wafts into the house. A rain last night brought some rust-brown edges to the oldest florets. Sigh. It's almost done. I’ll miss it so when it’s by Bill Thompson III

Just look at the color and size of the clusters. The individual florets are nearly the size of a quarter; the trusses are almost a foot long. Any other lilac looks wimpy by comparison. I mean, they're all nice, but this one is a superhero. Not only that, but it blooms a full week longer than conventional lilacs, having slow-opening buds and tremendous holding power.

For those new to the blog, this lilac grew on Bill’s family farm in Marietta for many years. The Highway Department grabbed the farm property by eminent domain, and Bill’s Great Aunt Lolly saved the lilac, some American hollies, and a Magnolia grandiflora to bring to their new home in town. They didn’t want to leave the farm; they didn’t want to sell it. They were run out. Now it’s a highway interchange, Exit 1 on Interstate 77. But I have a child of Aunt Lolly’s lilac, given to me by Bill's mom and dad, and I treasure it beyond any other plant on the farm. We planted it in 2000. It's as old as Liam. At eight years, it's enormous.
When the buds were about to open, we had a frost scare—it was supposed to drop to the 20’s for two nights running. Having watched the lilac freeze black while in bud last spring, I was not about to give up those flowers, that scent. So Christo came to Whipple. I emptied my linen closet of its bedspreads and sheets to protect my gardens. I topped the lilac off with a tarp, hanging it as high as I could reach. It was not easy. I had the one of the kids hand me clothespins and the other hold the ladder as I teetered and reached.I hadn’t realized how big this plant had grown until I tried to cover it. I managed to secure only about half of it. As it happened, it didn’t freeze after all, and the buds swelled

And opened.

I’ll look at these pictures in late summer and remember when the lilac bloomed in May. There is no finer lilac on the planet, for size, color and fragrance, but it’s the history behind the plant that makes it even more special. I love it. Every time I pass by I bury my face in it. I tried to pose with dignity but it seduced by BT3

Big, fat homegrown asparagus and my favorite lilac. Life is good.


ohhh, to drink in that scent! Lovely asparagus, too.

That IS a lovely bush!
Is it my imagination or is this the loveliest spring on record?
We're having bountiful blooms on everything--and I wondered if last summer's drought would harm them!

Could it be they reserved every last ounce for this spring's surge?

(asparagus looks yummy!)

Ahhh.. to walk among lilacs. Heaven.

Well, I was wondering if you were going to mention the marvelous looking asparagus! There you stand, spears in hand.
I love a lilac--the scent takes me back to college years in the spring (and of course I was in love) so lilacs make me young & foolish again. Priceless.
By the way, I agree with Nina--this is the bloomingest spring I can remember.

Oh, such a sad, sad story about people being run out of their own home. I'm glad the lilac was saved.
"I mean, they're all nice, but this one is a superhero." -I LOVED this line.

Love those photos of you and your super-hero. Your excitement is contagious! Lilac fragrance pulled in by a breeze through an open window is the best spring can offer.

I could almost smell that aroma wafting all the way to Georgia! Ahhhh.... so beautiful, and as you said, the story of it makes it even more so. So glad it was safe from the low temps.
And, look at that asparagus!! Dang woman!

Aunt Lolly would be proud.

Lilacs are my husbands favorite. They remind him of his childhood. Your blooms look gorgeous. We have a late bloomer so we are still waiting.

That photo says it all! To be so overcome by the sweet richness of lilac, and to not be able to resist just burying your face in it...that is the genuineness that makes you Queen of the Garden. I especially love that offhand reference to your asparagus scepter.

Oh, when will they invent smell-o-vision?!? I do love lilacs. Heavenly things!

Pretty great asparagus, too.

Oh how I love lilacs. Reminds me of my childhood home in Minnesota. We had a backyard filled with large lilac bushes. Don't see many around the DC area and the ones I see are pretty small. Me thinks it's a bit too warm here for their tastes.

Steam those asparagus, melt some butter and drizzle on some lemon juice--perfection.

Your covered lilac looks like a Russian babuska, to me at least!

Julie, I am enchanted by your lilac. I have three 'baby' bushes, one rooted for me by my sister, which has yet to bloom, and the other two, newly planted from Costco. I have seached "Uber Lilac" and cannot find anything about that variety. What a beautiful bush!
And...I found a red mandevilla, of all places, at the supermarket. I picked it up and put it right in my basket. I treasure it. I'd never heard of a red mandevilla till I read about yours!

Lilacs have such a heavenly aroma. Don't they? I remember having a hedge row of lilacs in my back yard when we used to live in Colorado. Thanks for sharing, Julie. It brought back some memories of years gone by. ;o)

Boy, it's tough work making an asparagus bed! Good job! Wish I could sneak in like Peter Rabbit and -er- borrow some....

Our lilacs are just now showing off, and the fragrance filled the yard starting yesterday. Ahhhh....

I looooooooooove lilacs! They remind me of my childhood. My parents were lucky enough to have a huge lilac by our quarters in PA when he was in the Army. Now he's retired in MN and they have a row of miniature lilacs from their front yard all the way to the back alley and then full size lilacs bordering their back alley...oh reminiscing ;-)

We are on the cusp of lilac season here...the buds are swelling! I can't wait. I'm planting in the morning...

Lilac is one of those fragrances that sends me back to my childhood. We have a scraggly bush here that we moved from a very shady spot to a place where it would get more sun, and where we could see it and ooh and aah over its beauty. It only produces small flowers and few at that. Oh but we love it.

They say the lilac fragarence is actually good for the health. It will certainly make you smile.

We have posted:
Alaska's Haul Road - The Dalton Highway.
A 414 mile gravel road,
to the Arctic Ocean

Come join us for the trip,
Troy and Martha

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