Spring has sprung when Lilacs Bloom
Lilacs are one of my favorite spring flowers. From their beautiful fragrance to their delicate blooms, Lilacs are the comfort food of the flower world. I’m blessed with a ride to work that passes everything from pruned and pampered lilac bushes to wild road-side shrubs. This time of year they are all covered in purple blooms.
Lilac Sunday at the Arnold Arboretum was canceled because of the rain. Of the many thousands of flowers at the arboretum, only lilacs get their own special day. Most of the lilacs in the Arboretum are located at the edge of Bussey Hill Rd. The Arboretum has 369 lilac plants! If next week is nice maybe I can catch the tail end of the blooming season.
The lilac story actually goes back to Greek mythology. According to the story Pan was enamored of a nymph named Syringa. Pan chased Syringa into the forest. Syringa wanted to avoid his advances so turned herself into a lilac bush. To Pan’s surprise, he could not find Syringa, but he did find the shrub. A lilac shrub consists of hollow reeds. Pan cut the shrub to create the flute he is so well known for playing.
Lilac meanings vary throughout different cultures and time periods.
- The Celtics regarded the lilac as “magical” due to their incredibly intoxicating fragrance.
- During the Victorian Age, the giving of a lilac was meant to be a reminder of an old love. Widows were often seen wearing lilacs during this period.
- In Russia, holding a sprig of lilac over the newborn would bring wisdom.
- In the United States, the lilac is the official state flower of New Hampshire and represents the ‘hardy’ nature of its people.
Lilac Symbolism & Colors
- White lilacs symbolize purity and innocence.
- Violet lilacs symbolize spirituality.
- Blue lilacs symbolize happiness and tranquility.
- Magenta lilacs symbolize love and passion.
- Lilac, the color for which this flower is named, is a light purple that symbolizes a first love.
- The lilac is the official flower of a couple’s 8th wedding anniversary.
- Lilacs have one of the shortest bloom times and only flower for three weeks at the beginning of spring.
- George Washington and Thomas Jefferson loved lilacs, growing them in their gardens.
- Lilacs belong to the same family as the olive tree.
Comfort Food of Flowers
Lilacs symbolize home to me. Growing up our driveway was lined with lilacs and there was a huge lilac bush in the middle of the yard. The blooms only burst forth in early spring and in a wink of an eye are gone. For about 3 weeks the air is fragrant each spring. No matter where I am, the scent takes me home in my mind.
Facts and symbolism provided by FTD web site https://www.ftd.com