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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Dappled

I'm madly stitching on my K.I.S.S. quilt and I'm on the home stretch. Just the hand stitching with pearl cotton and binding to do now... as soon as I get the go-ahead, I'll share as it is pretty cool, even if it isn't much like I usually do, but hey, expansion, as long as it doesn't apply to my hips, is good.

I love lilacs. Growing up in Michigan I lived on farms with ancient lilacs. Great purple behomoths which had been on the site for ages...the farms I lived on had houses from the 1850s, 1880s and 1890s. The sweet heady fragrance was lovely on soft, warm nights. We usually had the light purple, the violet purple, white and a very dark blue-violet which I have not been able to find in any nursery, and only once did I see it growing in Connecticut. No pinks, but that's ok as I find them smaller and sort of namby pamby compared to their full cousins. I regret that I can't find the dark one anywhere, and I don't know who to ask of the people who still live in the towns I grew up in.

Lilacs take up a lot of space and for most of the year are dull and boring green. Great for playing under with Barbies, but not so great when they get powdery mildew. For the most part, I didn't plant them in Connecticut because I didn't have a lot of space...until I found this variagated beauty. The variagated leaves made it a summer time interest long after the flowers faded. This is Syringa vulgaris "Dappled Dawn" . I found it at the Variagated Plant Nursery in Connecticut and never saw another until much, much later. Needless to say, this plant journeyed down with me. It is earlier than my other lilacs and doesn't sucker as much.


Additional evidence of my favoring variegated foliage is this cultivar of the native solomon's seal (Polygonatum odoratum 'Variegatum') . The cream margins are gorgeous and it seems to like it in the shade as well as the sunlight...it is running out from underneath a rosebush...A bit of root got transplanted and it has established itself nicely even though common garden wisdom marks it as a shade lover.

Good plants to grow.

3 comments:

Sunita said...

How lovely! I'm a bit depressed that I've never seen lilacs grow till date :(
Do you think it will grow and bloom in hot humid Mumbai?

Michigoose said...

Lol..sorry, Sunita, but you have to give up something in order to grow all those luscious tropicals you do! Lilac is a temperate only plant...the warmest weather it supposedly grows in is zone 7 (cold going to 5 - 10F) but I hear that there is one variety which is supposedly a zone 8. It does stand some pretty significant heat (temperatures in the 80s for extended periods with peaks for 5 days or so to the 90s are not uncommon), but I think it needs a rest period.

It's a wonder as it does well as cold as zone 3 (-30 to -40F). Its one of the few things my mom can grow in her wilds of Montana home...and it fact, it is often used as a wind break around houses. My brother (who lives down the road from my mom) has a huge stand which box in his back patio. You'll have to take a trip somewhere in the spring to see them...I'm betting that Australia has it's share and would be far closer than coming to the States or to England.

Jessica said...

I love lilacs too. Ours is a pastel purple shade but it is fading out now. *sigh* It was good while it lasted.