WellesleyWeston Magazine

SPRING 2014

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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Lilacs are tough plants and it takes a lot to kill them, as they almost seem to thrive on neglect. The early colonists brought lilacs with them to the new world and both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson planted them on their estates. As the settlers moved westwards, lilacs were most often planted by front doors, to appreciate their beauty and scent amidst a world full of challenges. Many old abandoned farmhouses have overgrown lilacs standing sentry by time- worn front porches; bushes are known to last a century or more. While lilacs might be considered old-fashioned, a lilac or two or more can be a good choice for today's garden, large or small. They are relatively low maintenance and come in a range of colors from traditional dark purples, pale lilac, pinks, whites, wine shades, and blues, all colors which would fit into any modern garden scheme. The common lilac, Syringa vulgaris, is the largest, growing to 15 feet with heart-shaped leaves that nicely offset the flower clusters, and is an overall handsome shrub. Some cultivars to consider are 'Mme Lemoine' with heavy panicles of well-scented white flowers, 'President Lincoln' with fragrant lilac blue flowers, and 'Monge,' an old-fashioned cultivar with richly scented deep purple flowers. If you're thinking pink, look for 'Katherine Havemeyer' with very large double flowers and a strong fragrance. For a dramatic accent, 'Ludwig Spaeth' is an intense wine red. If space is limited there are smaller species to consider like the dwarf Korean lilac, Syringa meyeri, 'Palibin.' It produces a profu- sion of pale lavender flowers attractively off- set by small leaves and with a fine compact habit, its mature height is less than six feet. The 'Miss Kim' lilac, Syringa patula, has fra- grant, soft lilac blooms with the added bonus of good red fall foliage; its mature height is six to eight feet. Both these cultivars bloom a bit later than the common lilac. When choosing a lilac it's best to buy them in bloom to insure the right flower color and cultivar. Lilacs are not fussy (any well drained soil suits them), but make sure they get full sun for best flowering. A general purpose fertilizer every few years will keep them hap- pily blooming and once the blooms finish, remove the spent flowers. To ensure maxi- mum flower production prune one third of the oldest stems every year, as an ongoing renewal program. A final word on these fabulous shrubs; lilacs symbolize love, and I hope you put some love into your gardens this spring. the green scene "put some love into your gardens" 22 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | s p r i n g 2 0 1 4 RUTH FURMAN is a Massachusetts Certified Horticulturist (MCH). She trained in horticulture in England and spent many happy years working and gardening there. To reach Ms. Furman, email her at: Ruth@wellesleywestonmagazine.com. 020-022_WWMa14_greenscene_v2_WellesleyWeston Magazine 2/1/14 3:03 PM Page 22

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