In a Vase on Monday. We’ll Gather Lilacs in the Spring Again.

‘There were few houses that did not contain in their gardens… lilac bushes…And so it came about that, all through the month of May, each small house found itself dowered with an expected magnificence, a whole, silent household staff of young lilacs gathered about the door and filling the interior with sweet air and fragrant smells, a staff which could have been supplied in an Eastern fairy-tale only by a  fairy gifted with poetical powers’. Proust.

Syringa vulgaris

The scent of the lilac wafts all over the garden, so at some point each day I am stirred by Proustian moments of childhood memories. Their flowering time is so brief and so evocative of bygone times. It makes me think of Edwardian ladies with parasols. I love to cut armfuls to enjoy in the house. If you are superstitious you might believe it is unlucky to bring it into the house, but I am not, so I do it, and always have done. I think that once it was believed that the lilac belonged to the fairies and then the Victorians associated them with death.  Anyway, I am defying the fairies today and enjoying this lovely vase full of gorgeous frothy blooms.

Some years ago, in another life I had a lovely German mother-in-law who claimed that when the lilacs are in bloom then everybody suffered from ‘Frühlingsmüdigkeit‘ or spring tiredness. I don’t know whether this strange condition afflicts just German people or if it is more widespread than that. Fortunately, we don’t get it here and it is just as well because like you, I am having to spend an enormous amount of time on cleaning my shopping and washing everything in the house. And this week is National Gardening Week so of course I have to celebrate that by working in the garden. But of course, just like you, my dear blogging friends, I don’t need a special week for that, I do it anyway when I can spare time from washing my hands or my light switches and door knobs.

Cathy from Rambling in the Garden hosts this Monday meme and today she has a bit of glitz and glamour, so perhaps she is in a party mood. Lilac always makes me  feel nostalgic and this year I am nostalgic for a time when I could hug my family and friends – and be a domestic slob.


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46 Responses to In a Vase on Monday. We’ll Gather Lilacs in the Spring Again.

  1. Tina says:

    I don’t grow lilacs as it’s way to warm here for them and probably, they wouldn’t be happy in my soil, but I always think of them as old-fashioned. Maybe it’s their prevalence in older poetry and literature, though roses are there, too, and I don’t think of roses as old fashioned. Yours are quite gorgeous with the blue sky and on your table.

  2. Tina says:

    I guess I should have said, in a vase, on your table. Ah, Monday morning (for me!).

  3. Oh my goodness, that is pure heaven! I’d forgotten how pretty syringa is and when I eventually get back from this posting in New York (where we don’t have a garden!) I shall create a garden with lilac in it! I love pinks, purples and silvers. In fact there are several lilacs here in Central Park, but somehow they look rather lost in such a large space. Lovely and uplifting post …. made me a bit homesick too! 😩😩!!

  4. Kris Peterson says:

    They’re spectacular and of course you must bring some of them inside! Superstitions are such funny things and untangling their meaning is virtually impossible. Lilacs don’t/won’t grow here. People call Ceanothus the “California Lilac” but it’s nowhere near the same in either scent or splendor.

  5. Anna says:

    Oh “Now that the lilacs are in bloom, she has a bowl of lilacs in her room” – they are rather special flowers Chloris. I’m enjoying a view of my neighbour’s lilac against a background of a fence smothered with clematis montana. Yes all this cleaning shopping and doorknobs lark is getting rather tedious but thank goodness for lilacs and other spring gems. Enjoy National Gardening Week!

  6. Cathy says:

    Being a domestic slob is very underrated, don’t you think…?! What a glorious froth of lilac you have cast a snook at the faeries with and the fragrance indoors must be glorious – but fragrances wafting past you in the garden are even better so I guess they must follow you around the garden if you have several. I have spotted a partial escapee white lilac nearby, which I have been eyeing up for a vase… In the meantime, thanks for sharing yours

    • Chloris says:

      Oh yes, I am usually far too busy in the garden to have the time or inclination for much housework. I only have one big lilac and it is in the front garden but it is amazing how far the fragrance travels.

      • Cathy says:

        I never have the inclination, Chloris (except for the cooking and baking side, that is)…!
        I checked back on your post and somehow had got the impression you had other lilacs in the garden but no, it was the fragrance of your single one that was following you around

  7. Heyjude says:

    I love the scent of lilac and it takes me back to my childhood. My mother would not have it indoors though.

  8. magpiesue says:

    I just planted a lilac in our front yard two years ago. I’m really looking forward to when it bursts into bloom. Shouldn’t be long now!

  9. If only I could inhale through the computer. I am also in a hot place where we can’t grow them, but the scent (imagined) and your photos bring back my childhood in the northeast. We are told to grow Crepe Myrtles if we miss lilacs. They don’t have a scent, so not quite the same. I’ll bet the lilacs and spring blooming shrubs and trees, bring on allergies with a stuffed sinus and ears, which would make one sleepy or tired.

  10. Jo Shafer says:

    My white lilacs here are just coming into bloom. I’d love to cut a bunch for my husband’s birthday dinner, but I can no longer reach branches stretching taller and taller each year. He’ll have to climb the garden ladder and snip snip snip away as I catch the froth spilling into my arms.

  11. M.B. Henry says:

    ❤ Lilacs have always been high up on my favorite lists – for both smell and beauty 🙂

  12. pbmgarden says:

    Lilacs are rarely seen here. Yours are spectacular. Enjoy.

  13. Beautiful lilac, I can smell it from here!

  14. So brief a show, but so absolutely wonderful!

  15. Cathy says:

    Aren‘t superstitions often strange?! Yes, for some reason lilac flowers make me nostalgic too, for the good old days when meeting friends and visiting family was the most natural thing in the world… Our lilacs are just about to open and I will certainly bring a sprig indoors, but they are still small shrubs unlike your beauty. And what a gorgeous blue sky too!

    • Chloris says:

      Yes, one wonders where superstitions about flowers came from. Today we are having some welcome rain but April has been amazing; warm sunshine nearly every day.

  16. I love the scent of lilacs. I was just thinking about how we should bring some inside.

  17. tonytomeo says:

    Lilacs are SO rad. We used to grow the French hybrids. However, my favorite is still the common straight species. That is what I remember from when I was a kid. However, they also remind me of one of the worst tragedies of American history. My former neighbor, Mrs. Hoagland, remembers them among the many cut flowers that were delivered to her home after her son, Mark Bingham, was killed on Flight 93. It seemed odd to me that flowers that exemplify spring were available in autumn.

    • Chloris says:

      I am surprised you can get lilac as a cut flower, they don’t last long in water. It is a shame that you associate such a gorgeous flower with this tragic time.

      • tonytomeo says:

        Well, I still adore lilac anyway. I grew up with them. I had never seen them as cut flower, and can not imagine how they were available in September. I suspect that Mrs. Hoagland misidentified the fragrance.

  18. Simply gorgeous, I wish the magic carpet would come and whisk me to smell them. I heard it is out being sanitized. I have never lived far enough north to experience lilacs, however…this year I planted seeds of a Tropical Lilac that is supposedly similar. It is now 3 inches tall so we will have to wait. I agree about all the cleaning, ugh. Tiresome. Back outside to smell something other than bleach.

    • Chloris says:

      I am intrigued by your tropical lilac. We need that magic carpet more than ever right now. I can’t imagine feeling safe enough to fly in an aeroplane for a long time.

      • I am intrigued by the Lilac too and spent quite a bit of time picking scale off of it this week. Wondering how it will do once planted. I agree about the magic carpet, airplanes are pretty scary right now.

  19. bittster says:

    Of the few fragrant flowers which the garden has, fortunately lilacs are one of them. I love the scent but someone else here says they give her a headache so I’m lucky to even have them out back. Overhanging trees were removed last year and there are so many more buds this year. It will be excellent I’m sure.

    • Chloris says:

      I love the scent of lilacs. Every year I threaten to cut mine right back in late summer when they look so dull but when they bloom they are gorgeous.

  20. snowbird says:

    Oh, I can smell them just by looking at them. Gorgeous! Oh…the endless cleaning is driving me crackers. Today I realized that I’d forgotten to change my walking shoes and had tramped the plague throughout the house. Usually I would tear around frantically mopping but today I threw caution to the winds and didn’t bother. What a rebel I am!!!xxx

    • Chloris says:

      Lilacs are wonderful aren’t they? I don’t clean my floor every time I walk across it. I think it is fine as long as you don’t lick it.

  21. Geri Lawhon says:

    I always hated waiting for the lilacs to bloom each spring. It seems that it took forever each year. Probably more that I was inpatient. Thanks for this post.

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