Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Pollinators Love Lilacs


There are few gardeners that do not have lilac bushes in their gardens and if you do not have at least one you should make room for one.  The fragrance of lilacs are so sweet and strong that the breezes carry them throughout the yard.
As I was walking around in the back yard yesterday I could smell the fragrance of the lilacs which grow out front on the bank by the road.

The shrub form may not be all that attractive most of the year after the blooms fade but for these shrubs it is all about those fragrant flowers that bloom for up to three weeks in the Spring.

I have two very large bushes that are about forty years old now. They were starts taken from off of the shoots of my Grandmothers shrubs which she had had for many many years. I loved smelling them while my cousins and I played outdoors at her home. So they always bring back fond memories to me when mine bloom.
Those starts I had gotten are now well over ten feet tall and about six feet or more wide. I allow some of the new shoots to grow that come up around them in the spring and summer so that there will always be new plants just in case the unexpected tragedy should  happen to the old growth of the shrub.  I never want for them to be totally lost.


The ice storm we had in 2008 broke many of the old branches off, but what branches remained pulled right back up after the ice melted and it bloomed beautifully  the following spring.


I not only love their hardiness and fragrance but I love those light lavender blossoms that appear on my old fashioned lilac bushes in the spring.


Their sweet smell also attracts  the  pollinators like no other flower in my gardens. While they are in bloom they are swarmed by the bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.


No matter how well the chemist try to manufacture a duplicate scent for lilacs they can never get it to smell as good as the ones that grow in my garden.


The Lilac bushes are a very busy place with all of the pollinators vying for the blooms.


There are so many varieties of lilac shrubs now ranging from white, lavender, pink, yellow and even  two toned.
Some newer varieties even bloom more than once during the spring and summer.
Lilacs can be trimmed after they bloom so you can keep them to a size to fit into your small garden spaces or maybe at the back of a bed where later blooming flowers can then fill in the space in front of them and take their turn to bloom.
With varieties that can be grown from zones 2 to 9 there is a shrub that can adapt to many gardens.
Think about getting a Lilac bush for your garden and draw in those pollinators to your flowerbeds and gardens.

Happy Gardening,


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Liz said...

Hi Lona,

Lovely photos and I'm so pleased they attract so many pollinators to your garden :)

I haven't noticed them being that attractive here, my neighbour has a large bush that comes up against out dividing hedge, so at the moment I get the perfume around the garden and of course steal some of the blooms for vases.
I also bought myself a dwarf variety as I don't have the space to allow for a mature bush.

Becca's Dirt said...

That is one that I need to add to my gardens.

A Vintage Green said...

Extremely sharp and clear photos. Beautiful. Thanks for sharing.
- Joy

Beyond My Garden said...

How nice to have such a connection to your grandmother. Yes! A lilac's bloom and fragrance make it all worth while.

Gatsbys Gardens said...


I had some farm lilacs at my old old house and I now have one of my neighbor's lilacs peeking over my fence. I just told my daughter-in-law to try the new one Boomerang that blooms in the spring and fall.


Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

I loooove lilacs. I had one and moved it a couple of times before I found the right spot for it. It's getting huge now, it looks like many of the blooms will be up high this year. Is there a trick to getting it to bloom lower?

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Hey Lona girl : )
I too love lilacs .. i hated to dig one out last year for Ms Amur Flame Maple but I have the bicoloured French lilac still thank heavens ! I so love their perfume there is nothing like it .. as the perfume of roses .. so individual and wonderful : )
I was thinking of trying to fit the reblooming one in "Bloomerang" is it called .. have you had any experience with that one ? I wonder if it smells as nice as the standard type ?
Joy : )

Gardening in a Sandbox said...

I have three lilacs in the Sandbox including a dwarf by the name of Miss Kim. I am with you on the fragrance. It can't be beat. Your photos were spectacular with the butterflies and the big bumbly bee. V

.............................. said...

Hi Lona,
I heartily agree with your high opinion of lilacs! (Your pictures of the butterflies are simply stunning by the way!!!) I have several large bushes that I inherited when we moved in- both old fashioned, pale purple ones. I have added a few new one varieties and would love more, if I can find a spot for them.

Alison said...

Great pictures of the butterflies on your lilac. I agree, love their scent! I have two in front, and they are great!

Corner Gardener Sue said...

My brother-in-law planted a lilac bush in the vegetable garden when their dad lived here. I liked it until it kept sending suckers up. We cut it down several times, but it kept sending more new plants up. We finally have the main plant out, but are still battling the suckers.

Your blooms sure are pretty. said...

Pretty photos Lona, almost could smell them from here. I have two lilac and they attract bees, but I never noticed butterflies or hummingbirds on them. I will pay better attention this year now.

Jenni@ RainyDayGardener said...

Hi Lona, I couldn't agree with you more..lilacs are wonderful and nothing can really duplicate the scent just right. I have 50+ yr old Lilac's lining my back yard and are perfectly situated to attract pollinators. I'm a little jealous though..mine are no where close to blooming as it's been so wet and cold.

Stephanie said...

The butter yellow butterfly looks as sweet as the lilac ;-)

Sunray Gardening said...

Really pretty. I love lilacs. In fact I managed to buy one last year and saw blooms on it yesterday and am heading out shortly to get photos. Of course it's just a baby.
Goldenray Yorkies

HolleyGarden said...

I know there are new varieties that are supposed to be able to stand our heat, but I have not tried them. Yours look beautiful. Wish I was there to smell them!

Lisa Rusczyk said...

Thanks for the beautiful flowers on this dreary day!

LifeBelowZero said...

Visiting via Flaunt Your Flowers
Thanks for the inspiration!
Life Below Zero

Rebecca @ In The Garden said...

Gorgeous photos, and I agree 100%, a garden is not complete without a lilac (or 2, 3...).

cherry said...

Oh these are yummy so wish we could grow them here .. Love your header all that pink sure is pretty..
it's been awhile since I have stopped by looks like I have missed out on some great post..
hugs from Savannah, Cherry

Karen said...

Lona, I love the smell of my old-fashioned lilacs too. There is no sweeter fragrance to be had. I wish I knew how to prune them properly so they don't grow to resemble a giant haystack, but whatever they look like, there is no other shrub to compare to that heavenly Spring nectar.

Heather at Dusty Bay said...

Lilacs are one of my absolute favorites because of their lovely scent... I'm sooo looking forward to them!

sweetbay said...

Oh, I love the pictures of the Tiger Swallowtail on the Lilac. Beautiful! The Common Lilac doesn't grow well down here, but there are other fragrant species/ hybrids, 2 of which are in my garden and I want to add more. My grandfather grew huge Lilacs in his limestone garden in Indiana.

Kathleen said...

I LOVE lilacs too Lona. There is really nothing that smells as heavenly. I had my tree guy do some pruning on mine in January. We decided to them back in thirds so that by the end of the three years all the growth will be new. This came about because they had gotten so tall and leggy with only a few blooms near the top (that were too high for me to enjoy). I can't wait to start reaping the benefits ~ it might be next year tho?