may day! may day! incoming!

bouquet of lilacs

I just rang your virtual bell and left you this fragrant bouquet of lilacs to celebrate May Day. Old fashioned flowers are appropriate for an old fashioned tradition. Pay no attention to the giggling in the virtual bushes.

old lilac tree

This old lilac tree came with the property. I have been pruning it, but timidly: trying to let vigorous new shoots replace gnarly, tired branches. The short but heavy snowfall of this past winter used a heavier hand, breaking off large chunks. The tree is liking its new haircut and flowering more generously than ever.

lilac blossom close-up

The flowering is powerful, but brief. With several years of trial and error (mostly error) we finally got it right. The last picture shows the right moment to cut some branches for indoor enjoyment: a few of the individual florets have opened, others are still in bud. Cut too early or too late, they will go limp almost immediately. Fill a vase with lukewarm water and crush the ends of the cut branches (this is one of the few times I get to break out the meat tenderizing mallet). An arrangement on the dining room table fills the entire house with its delicious aroma. Same for the one on the front deck. We have been enjoying them for almost a week. I wish that I could waft that scent your way. Instead, I will send you over to Lelo in NoPo for another scented post.

Oh, and Janet’s Plant Sale is this Friday and Saturday 9-3 at 2090 SW Crest Drive in Lake Oswego (97034 if you need to Mapquest). Prices start at $1, and I can vouch for the gardenworthiness of her plants.

6 Responses to “may day! may day! incoming!”

  1. Wendy Says:

    those guys can be fussy, huh? A little fussy and space-consuming…I’ll just be really enjoying the virtual bouquet!

  2. ricki Says:

    Wendy~But worth it, don’t you think?

  3. Jane / MulchMaid Says:

    I do love lilacs! Thank you for the sweet virtual bouquet, and the harvesting tips. I always wondered why they sometimes flopped…now I know. Happy May Day, Ricki!

  4. ricki Says:

    Jane~Thanks, and you are so welcome!

  5. Grace Says:

    Yep. We’ve been enjoying lilacs around here too. I’ve got two white-flowered bushes that come from runners I brought here in ’97. The neighbors have a dark purple variety that generously leans over into our yard. Most years lilacs are in bloom on my hubby’s b-day which is April 15th. They’re late this year but so worth the wait.

  6. ricki Says:

    Grace~ I bought a lilac at a farmers’ market long ago. It was early and it had yet to bloom. When I asked what color it would be, the vendor looked at me like I was a madwoman and said “lilac”.

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