Get­ting the most from your lilac bush

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page -

This cool spring has made many as­pects of our wildlife late in ar­riv­ing, or slow to bloom or to emerge. How­ever, the lilac bushes I have seen in peo­ple’s gar­dens and the odd one dot­ted around the coun­try­side are all just flow­er­ing well on time. The Lilac was brought into Bri­tain by John Trades­cant in 1621, who was a nat­u­ral­ist and then be­came the gar­dener to Charles I and his queen Hen­ri­etta Maria. Lilac orig­i­nates from East­ern Europe and across Asia and has quickly be­come a pop­u­lar gar­den shrub. A vast va­ri­ety of li­lacs were de­vel­oped, mainly in France, dur­ing the 19th cen­tury by a hor­ti­cul­tur­ist called Vic­tor Le­moine. The in­cred­i­bly scented va­ri­eties are used by a num­ber of in­sects through the spring, along with fruit tree blos­soms which are im­por­tant early nec­tar sources in the spring. The tree it­self is de­cid­u­ous and if you want blos­som each year, don’t prune it. That tends to gen­er­ate young growth and it will take sev­eral years for the shrub to re­flower. The shrub it­self can have a num­ber of stems grow­ing from the base and the tra­di­tional flow­ers are a pur­ple colour in big spikes. The leaves grow in pairs op­po­site each other on the stem and they are gen­er­ally oval shaped and pointed.

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