Welcome to week four of our column entitled Pretty Petals. Each week we will introduce you to a flower that we are working with here in the studio as well as flowers that we absolutely adore. Please join us every Thursday for some floral eye-candy where you will learn about a variety of very special blooms. This week we are in love with lilacs!
Lilacs hold a special place in the heart of most Canadians because a blooming lilac bush signifies the beginning of the greatly anticipated warm weather. We are currently enjoying the bounty of the lilac bush this week in southern Ontario. These prolific shrubs can grow as high as 8 to 15 feet tall and equally as wide, depending on the variety . They bloom from top to bottom – solid masses of blossoms cover the lilac bush for about 2 – 3 weeks. Lilacs are hardy, easy to grow, and low maintenance.
These fragrant flowers are a florists dream. We are very excited at Living Fresh about having local lilacs in our cooler right now. There is something so romantic about the heaviness of a drooping stem of lilac flowing off to the side of a handtied bouquet! Here in Ontario, lilacs are most commonly found in purple and white, but they are available in red, pink, yellow, and blue as well.
Sadly, lilacs do not have a long vase life. Once cut, a stem of lilacs will only last approximately 5 days before wilting. Did you know that the more fragrant a flower, the shorter its vase life? Lilacs have an abundant fragrance and therefore are short lived once removed from the bush. Purple lilacs are the most fragrant of all the colours. Be certain to cut lilacs when the flowers are open, as there is no guarantee that a bud will open once removed from the bush.
Fun facts about lilacs:
- In the language of flowers, purple lilacs represent first love and white lilacs symbolize youthful innocence
- Lilacs are from the same family as the olive tree
- The wood from the lilac tree is one of the densest, used to make musical instruments and knife handles
- Lilac blooms are edible
- The oldest lilac in North America is thought to be in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where they were planted in the home of Gov. Benning Wentworth more than 250 years ago – the state flower of New Hampshire is the lilac
So if you have a lilac bush, or know someone who does, grab a sharp pair of pruners and get going! What are you waiting for?? And if you don’t, then drop everything and get to your local florist and buy some before they are gone!