Lilacs in the Summer
By Theresa Myers
Published: 06/08/2009  Updated: 08/14/2019
"...the perfume strong I love."
 - Walt Whitman
"...the perfume strong I love." - Walt Whitman   Veronica Russell

Lilacs lure us with their fragrance and beauty, making them difficult to resist. With a little love and patience, lilacs can thrive in our mild Northwest gardens.

Few plants or shrubs convey a sense of home like the lilac (syringa). Anyone who has experienced its fragrant blooms and gracefully bending branches will hold the memory in a special place in the heart. Lilacs are rarely seen on oceanfront properties, but go inland a few blocks where older and settled gardens thrive and prepare to be delighted.

Cultivating the lilac with the mild Northwest coast ­temperature range requires a bit of patience, and some lime to amend the generally acidic soil. The lilac loves a good winter freeze and bright summer sun, so keep that in mind when choosing a location. Lilacs can grow up to 20 feet in height and live over 100 years, so plant a variety that will fit your space for the long term. The variety "Miss Kim" grows to a manageable six to seven feet and is a popular choice in the area.

Give your lilac time to get settled and expect it to be two to six years before ­being rewarded with full blooms. Clip off the spent blooms right away to ensure healthy flowers next spring. For a lovely bouquet in a vase, strip the lower leaves from the cut branches, then bruise the woody stems and place in warm water first. This allows more water to be ­absorbed quickly and the blooms to stay fresh longer.
Lilacs in the Summer