Monday, May 18, 2009

Lilacs in dooryards holding quiet conversations with an early moon

Every old house and farmstead in Illinois and Wisconsin has lilacs. A hundred years ago women picked arms full of lilacs to brighten their drab kitchens. Fifty years ago families sat on their porches on fine spring days and enjoyed the scent of lilacs all around them. As a child, spring lilac blooms always graced our kitchen table. I carried bunches tightly clenched in my little fists to grade school teachers. In later years, a vase sat on my nightstand perfuming my bedroom. Today lilacs sit on my desk at work. A bit of my garden carried with me to this sterile place.

A few lines from Amy Lowell's poem. Read the rest at Amy Lowell Lilacs

Your great puffs of flowers
Are everywhere in this my New England.
Among your heart-shaped leaves
Orange orioles hop like music-box birds and sing
Their little weak soft songs;
In the crooks of your branches
The bright eyes of song sparrows sitting on spotted eggs
Peer restlessly through the light and shadow
Of all Springs.
Lilacs in dooryards
Holding quiet conversations with an early moon;
Lilacs watching a deserted house
Settling sideways into the grass of an old road;
Lilacs, wind-beaten, staggering under a lopsided shock of bloom
Above a cellar dug into a hill.

(Common Lilac pale lavender)

(Agincourt Beauty a very dark redish purple)

Short poem by 16 year old oceanreverie

sunlight pours in as waves
gently caressing my face
the symphony of cars on gravel
birds serenading from their branches
a cool breeze through the trees
fills my cluttered mind
i throw back the covers
and step towards the open window
and smell lilac;
sweet and innocent
drifting in to greet me
this morning
is beautiful
a taste of something new
of something life-changing
so i'll walk outside
and cut a bit of lilac
of beauty
to hold throughout the day
so i'll remember
today is an open window
by oceanreverie

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I'll close with more photos of squabbling finches at the sock feeder. It's easy to attract goldfinches to your garden by adding one of these socks full of nyger thistle seed. (Nyger is sterile and will not sprout in your garden;) Everyone, have a great day.


Susie said...

Hey Marnie, These are beautiful pictures. Wish I could smell the flowers. Love the birds too!

TC said...

I'm wondering if the white is 'Ms. Kim.' One of my favorites for scent. The purple ones are all over the place here too. As a matter of fact, I'm goin to dig up a couple that's in a patch just up the road. As soon as they're done blooming of course. They'll be happier here in my yard where they'll get more attention.

Randy said...

I think we should try some of the reblooming Lilacs here. If they can take the heat. All of our goldfinches left, we never stopped feeding them. I don't know what happened. Any ideas?

Rose said...

Thanks for sharing these beautiful poems, Marnie! It's so true that there always seems to be a few lilac bushes around every old farmstead. The smell of lilacs always represents the beginning of spring to me; I can only imagine how farmwives of long ago must have welcomed that first sign of spring after a long hard winter with no central heating.

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Hi Marnie, I too love lilacs. Two friends of mine have them, but I don't (only two smaller Miss Kims, which bloom later). The scent is lovely and I can imagine it goes a long way to brighten an office. Also love all the finches!!!

JC said...

Lovely ... Thanks !!!

tina said...

I so love lilacs and miss them very much living down here in the south. While they do grow here, they no where compare to them up north and especially New England and Germany. I can imagine the wonderful scent.

sweetbay said...

We can't grow Lilacs here in central NC like you can up there, but I remember my grandfather had a huge lilac in his garden in Indiana -- it loved that limestone soil.

Love the rich coloring of Agincourt Beauty.

Moonchild Dancing! said...

Oh I love them. Love your pictures and Lilacs are my very favorite flower. :) I have some in my home right now that I gathered from my mom in laws house. :)

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Susie, I know they don't grow that far south. I missed them so much when I lived in Alabama.

TC, good luck transplanting you lilacs.

JC, thank you.

Hi Tina, they do well in very cold places. I missed them when I lived in the south.

Hi SweetBay, I like the dark ones too. They smell the same.

RainbowMom, it's good you have a place to get a bunch to bring home.


Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Rose, they even grow around the foundations of burned out farms.

Hi Monica, thinking about getting a Miss Kim. It would extend the season. Miss Kim smells different but not in a bad way.

Jamie and Randy, according to Cornell's maps some remain all year in the northern half of Alabama but many migrate north. They do pair up and choose territories so they won't be in flocks any longer. Also, when the wild foods become plentiful they come to feeders less. All these things make for fewer birds in the backyard during the hight of summer. They may come back with the youngsters to visit your feeders. (Up here ours remain in groups until it's almost time for the wild thistle to bloom.)


Northern Shade said...

You have a nice assortment of colours in your lilacs. I adore the sweet scent of lilacs, and their generous flower bunches. I grow a short blue one, Wedgewood Blue, that I really like. The blooms won't be out here for a while, though.

DP Nguyen said...

I've never grown lilacs, but they are definitely one of my favorite flowers. They've got such gorgeous colors.

The Birdlady said...

Finches and lilacs - life is good.

Kathleen said...

Hi Marnie! I bring lilacs indoors too for the scent ~ I only wish they lasted longer. They don't seem to be that good of a cut flower, do they? or do you know a trick or too for making them last longer?
Funny you have the thistle sock photo on your blog today ~ I just posted about you and these today!! I thanked you for sharing your experience with them. I finally decided to try one and it's GREAT!!!! I have goldfinches again and it's such a pleasure.
Hope the lilacs on your desk make your day more joyful.

Ellie Mae's Cottage said...

I love the lilacs! I've never seen so many finches on one feeder. Such a great picture! -Jackie

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi NorthernShade, I haven't seen Wedgewood Blue. It sounds like a manageable size to use in the garden. I'm glad they are hybridizing these different colors with repeat bloom.

DP, I believe some of the newer hybrids will bloom in Nashville but I'm not certain which ones.

Hi Birdlady, indeed.

Kathleen, I'm glad you got the Goldfinches back. I know, white socks hanging on branches add nothing to the beauty of a garden;) Our lilacs are almost spent. A week tops if the weather is cool.

Hi Jackie, they do tend to gang up on that feeder;)


Chloe m said...

Lovely lilacs! I wish they had a way to send SCENT through the internet. I bet they would have the best fragrance! Beautiful poems. Those finches are such a vibrant yellow!

Anonymous said...

I love the scent of Lilacs, but I'm not sure if we can grow them here or not. Our winters might not be cold enough for them or maybe it's that our summers are too hot? Yours are gorgeous.

Gail said...

Marnie~~They are lovely and I know the fragrance must be divine...they do bloom here in the middle south but bloom time it never lasts long enough. Either it's killed by a late frost or the heat! But thank you for sharing them...I have a great imagination and memory for scents!

I am convince that the thistle sock is the way to go.

Beautiful poems!


Sherri said...

That's one thing I miss living in the South is no lilacs here. I guess it gets way too hot for them. I saw one the other day and I was so surprised. We do have beautiful crape myrtles though!

Anonymous said...

The Lilacs are very sweet and old fashioned. Your lead in sentence is a masterpiece.

I could smell the photos and hear the finches too! All of it is so charming---I want to be there to visit and see your birdies in person.

I wonder if the sock would get destroyed by our marauding squirrels?

BeadedTail said...

Lovely lilacs! And love the picture of all the finches! Your blog always makes me feel so serene.

beckie said...

Marnie, lilacs are the one flower that when seeing a picture of them brings their scent to mind. Those beautiful flowers always hearld spring for me!

Love the poems, epecially the 2nd one-again, I could imagine the divine scent. I will have to get a sock, my finches are few and far between this year.

Thanks for a delightful post.

Teresa said...

What a wonderful lilacs poem. I remember bringing bouquets of them to grade school when I was school girl too. It was usually to place on an altar in front of Mary for May Day.

joey said...

Stunning lilac photos, Marnie. It's fun to see mirror images in our gardens. Aren't we blessed!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Marnie,
I can't believe how long the lilacs are blooming here this year, but that's a good thing! I think only the peony fragrance rivals that of lilacs, but alas, we don't have the space for lilacs here. So thank you for sharing yours, even if they must be scentless in this medium!

We have to check out those seed socks for the goldfinches because they sure seem to work for you!

troutbirder said...

Very nice. I added lilacs to my west boundary windbreak and the scent drifting now across the deck is heaven.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Rosey Pollen, I wonder if Scent-O-Vision is in our future?

PerennialGardener, I've been hearing about lilacs that will bloom in the south but don't have any details.

Hi Gail, they never bloom longer than a week here either. We put up with a scraggly shrub 52 weeks of the year for that one week of bliss;)

Sherri, I loved the crepe myrtles when I lived in the south. I miss them too.

FlowerGardenGirl, the squirrels don't bother my thistle feeders BUT it all depends on how hungry they are. I feed them things they like better so they pretty much stay away from the thistle which they don't much care for. Hard to predict what they might do.

BeadedTail, if I could choose only one theme for my garden, I would want serene. I'm glad it makes you feel that way.


Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Beckie, I hope a sock feeder brings lots of finches to your garden.

Teresa, I'm glad you liked the poem. Our teachers always had lots of lilacs on their desks:)

Hi Joey, we are blessed. In the confusion and stress of our days we don't always remember that.

IVG, this has been a good season for spring blooms. That will all change this week with temps in the 80's. I still have tulips, daffodils, spring shade blooms and lilacs.

Troutbirder, the fragrance followed me over the yard as I pruned. Some days are just perfect;)


Balisha said...

Hi Marnie,
What a lovely post about lilacs. When we drive through the country...we see foundations of old farmhouses and there is usually a lilac next to it. There is nothing like their fragrance.

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Hi Marnie, You asked about fertilizing seedlings over at my blog. I must admit I rarely use fertilizer for anything other than veggies. If the seedlings were winter-sown, do not fertilize them until you've transplanted them in the ground. If they were indoor-sown, I'd say the same thing. It hasn't been very warm here, either, so it's normal for them not to be growing the foliage, but they are developing the root system and that's good. Most fertilizers encourage foliage more than roots and we want roots before we transplant. When you transplant, weaken the fertilizer to half or quarter strength -- they're babies! -- and try not to touch the leaves with it. (It's also hard not to touch the leaves when they're still in the cell packs.)

Gayle@Mountain Moma said...

Loved this post! I am going to have to show my husband this sock and give it a try. Enjoyed the poems and pics of lilacs, I have noticed they are an old fashioned flower. New developments houses don't have lilacs like the old ones do. In our old historical town, almost every house has a lilac in the yard blooming.

kd said...

I always look forward to the few warm nights towards the end of May/beginning of June when the air is redolent with the scent of sun-warmed lilacs and various other spring-flowering trees... Any day now...


Morning Glories in Round Rock said...

What wonderful photos, Marnie. Lilacs and poetry go together beautifully. They have always been my favorite flower and scent...I can close my eyes and remember the scent of them on the breeze coming through the open window when I was a girl. I can remember picking big bouquets and taking them to my teacher.

A Wild Thing said...

I took a start from my Grandmother's bush 7 years ago and have yet to see blooms, but in the meantime, I'll gather bouquets from her beautiful bush and think of her every time the scent wafts past my nose, I love them by my bedside...very calming!

Have a sunny tomorrow!

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Balisha, it is a unique and wonderful fragrance. I read somewhere that it could not be duplicated in perfumes because it was too complicated.

Monica, thank you. I have never had any luck with seeds but I'm giving it my best shot this year.

Hi Gayle, thistle socks aren't terribly expensive to try. Just remember during the summer all the finches begin to separate so there won't be large flocks at feeders. Plus the fields are full of their natural foods. Winter and spring are the best times at bird feeders.

KD, you must be really far north if yours haven't bloomed yet. Worth waiting for;)

Hi MorningGlories, the blooms and the fragrance bring back wonderful memories.

Hi Sharon, I hope Grandma's lilac blooms soon for you.


Pomona Belvedere said...

Morning Glory is right: lilacs and poetry do go together. I so enjoyed them all; I don't have lilacs and love them, so I enjoyed yours vicariously. (I also enjoyed your About Me page; I imagine we could have some interesting conversations about some of the points you raised.)

Thanks for a restful, refreshing post. I needed that.

Nan and =^..^= said...

Beautiful photos of your lilacs! Some of ours are just beginning to bloom.
It's a glorious sight! I've never seen a sock bird sure does attract those goldfinches...great photo!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

We just returned from a trip to Michigan. I was amazed at all of the lilacs in bloom through out MI. I could tell where there had been a farm house. Huge clumps of lilacs were blooming. Just an amazing sight.

Love the poetry today too.

oldcrow61 said...

I can almost smell those Lilacs. Fabulous!

pedro a. cruz cruz said...

Una belleza de blog y lugar.

Te invito al mio fotografico.....

Anonymous said...