Friday, May 24, 2013

Flowering Shrubs and other lovelies

We returned from vacation last Tuesday, and as I stepped out of the car, all I could smell was lilacs! Mmmmmmmmm…….divine…...
I have 3 lilac bushes in bloom right now. Two are the common lilac Syringa vulgaris and one is a Korean lilac Syringa meyeri 'Palibim'.

The common lilac is in the Olive tree family. One of mine is about 12' feet high and the other one at least 18' tall.

The buds of one are pale mauve, opening to a whitish mauve.

The tall one at the side of the house are a deep pinky-purple opening to mauve. Both are delightfully fragrant.

Did you know that the best way to make lilac branches last in a vase is to smash up the bottoms of the stems with a hammer before placing in water?  Lilacs have a woody stem and this gives the water more surface area to enter up into the stems.

The Korean lilac is an almost perfect plant: it has fragrant flowers, it has a manageable size (5' x 5'), it's winter hardy and easy to grow.

It's grown over the years but never outgrown its spot.

Several types of viburnum are also in bloom right now. Above is Viburnum plicatum 'Popcorn', a tough plant whose corrugated leaves have never succumbed to the rotten beetle that's eaten my other viburnum leaves over the past years.

The flowers are not fragrant but very lovely nonetheless.

Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum 'Mariesii' is a gorgeous shrub, whose flowers bloom HORIZONTALLY along its branches. I had a lot of die-back this year (probably due to last summer's drought) but even though it's not as full, it's still one of my favourites.

It's a large shrub averaging 8-10' high and 9-12' wide. I have three side by side so it's quite a show.

Also blooming right now are my Giant Ornamental Onions Allium giganteum. These beauties have self "seeded" all over the front area (they are actually bulbs). They make great cut flowers and make a terrific bouquet when added to lilacs and bleeding hearts.

And be sure to drop by my recipe blog to check out tried-and-true recipes plus restaurant reviews!


HELENE said...

Lovely photos, Astrid! I love the smell of lilacs, I could fill my house with it. I do have one lilac in my garden, I got it as a tiny cutting from someone and have grown it for the last 9 years. Unfortunately it doesn't have much scent, only very faint, so although very pretty I might get rid of it eventually as I kind of think the whole purpose with lilacs is the scent. Your alliums are lovely, mine are flowering too, Hope you have a great week-end, we finally have a bit of sunshine and slightly better weather for a couple of days!

Nadezda said...

Astrid, I hope you had a lovely holiday!
The Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum 'Mariesii' is called here 'Kalinka" and I have got one, will bloom soon. Another your plant 'The Korean lilac' is very common here as well but we call it "The Persian lilac' Isn't it funny?
Nice bushes, onions, I love this time in the garden.
Have a nice weekend!

Astrid said...

Hi Helene
You are correct - a lilac that doesn't almost overwhelm you is not doing its job. Aren't giant alliums fun? A friend once called them Pom Pom flowers.

Hi Nadezda
Yes - we vacationed in the Okanagan Valley (wine country) in British Columbia in western Canada. Stunningly gorgeous views and astounding food and wine.
I love this time in the garden, too. Now every time I look at Mariesii I will hum Kalinka :)

debsgarden said...

I have always wished I could grow lilacs here, and you have given me a terrible case of garden envy! Absolutely gorgeous! And I can't grow alliums either! (But at least I have my confederate jasmine!) Don't we always want what we can't have!

Astrid said...

Hi Deb
LOVED your Confederate jasmine! I can just imagine the gorgeous fragrance. That's why garden blogs are so interesting - it's cool to see what grows around the world.

Jennifer said...

My lilacs had no flowers last year and this year WOW! The bushes are covered. Why the difference is a mystery?
You are right; the scent is divine. I wish they lasted longer in a vase though. Even when you smash the stems they seem only to last for a few days.
I love the Viburnums, especially the Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum 'Mariesii'. I would love to have one myself.

Alistair said...

Your Lilacs are incredible Astrid, but the Viburnum Mariesii is my favourite.

Astrid said...

Hi Jennifer
Smashing the stems usually works to make them last for w eek but this time I had only a couple of days, like you said. Still, they are so fragrant is even for a short while.
I have a lot of dieback on my Mariesii and other shrubs. I think they hated last summer's drought.

Hi Alistair
Both are a delight to have in the garden. I'm glad i have the space for them.

Mario said...

Astrid, the perfume of lilacs is one of springtime pleasures. I must say, they are all lovely, but the 'Mariesii' is so delicate and white blooms are my favorite.

Astrid said...

Hi Mario
At the moment, the big lilac has already shrivelled and lost its blooms, due to 85F degree heat but the other common one and the Korean are still going strong. If I walk anywhere near them, the fragrance is so lovely.
Thanks for stopping by!

Angie said...

What a lovely selection of lilac you had. I lost mine to flooding last year, it was only young!
Do do like that Korean Lilac - I think a neighbour grows it.
Your flower arrangement is very fetching!

thomas peter said...

This compact arrowwood viburnum typically grows to 3-5 feet tall. It is noted for its flat-topped cymes of white flowers in spring flowering shrubs