Lovely Lilacs

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Spring in Rochester

It is no secret we love our lilacs here in Rochester! The city’s collection of lilacs in Highland Park is world famous, even Martha Stewart has come to check out the blossoms during their peak in May. For myself, getting to the lilac festival is incredibly hard, it happens to take place usually when the farm swings into high gear. Between planting, calving and everything else, seeking away even for an afternoon is  something that is not easily accomplished.

Blossoms at the back door

Because I usually can’t get to Highland Park, I patiently wait for our two old shrubs to bloom. The gentleman who lived here before us had a fondness for gardening, and I imagine the white and pale purple lilac bushes were prized additions to his garden.

When the lilacs bloom I always clip large bouquets to bring into the house. The flowers are so fleeting it seems a shame to not completely enjoy them. It seems the shrubs are in need of some TLC this year, the blossoms are scarce and near the top of the 10-foot shrub. But I was able to collect some white lilacs, which I arranged in a milk glass vase.

When the blossoms fade this year, I’ll again clip as many as the expired blooms as I can reach to encourage a more prolific bloom next year. From what I’ve read, lilacs do better when they are pruned immediately after their blossoms have faded.

The Language of Lilacs

Lilacs have been cultivated since ancient times, our fondness for the heady blooms so strong we have attached significant meanings to them throughout history. Lilacs are an incredibly nostalgic flower,  they remind me of my grandmother’s White Shoulders dusting powder that sat on her vanity. Aside from the fragrance of grandmother’s lilacs have also symbolized other, equally as emotionally potent occasions.

Young Love

Lilacs blooms are fleeting and only last for a short while, but they are vibrant during their short lives.  Beautifully intense, the lilac’s flowers capture all the essence of a lovely burgeoning relationship.

Harbinger of spring

Because lilacs bloom so early, they are strongly associated with spring, renewal, and fresh starts. Even before the robins arrive, the lilac bush is preparing its sprigs of sweetly scented blooms, with buds forming in late winter.


The Hidden Meanings Behind Lilac Colors

  • White: That purity and innocence thought to be part of childhood.
  • Purple: Because lighter shades of purple are associated with first loves, darker purple blooms were often an alternative to black for mourning or for remembering somber anniversaries, especially during the Victorian period.
  • Lilac: This lighter shade of purple is associated with one’s first love or the first time one feels love for someone.


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