Lilacs & Tulips in Bloom

I had no idea lilacs were such a documented piece of American history. Thomas Jefferson recorded his method of planting lilacs in his garden book in 1767. Then in 1785, George Washington noted that he translated lilacs into his garden.

“Although lilacs are part of New England’s heritage, they, like most of our citizens, are not native here,” according to this article from Harvard’s Arboretum. Most varieties hail from Asia and a couple – like the common lilac (Syringa vulgaria) come from Europe. In fact, the word “lilac” comes from a Persian word meaning “bluish.” And it sounds much more soothing and pastoral than Syringa vulgaria – such a harsh name for such a pretty lavender flower.

I guess the lilacs took to the New England climate back in the 1700s because “they need a period of cold-initiated dormancy to trigger flowering.” Well, then, these guys must love Cleveland, because now that the winter has warmed into May, their flowers are peaking out of dormancy to spread their fragrant scent and springy color.

Thanks, forefathers, for introducing lilacs to America.

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