Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Lilac

As a plant freak, I have strong memories of the house I grew up in - my family moved into the house when I was six months old, and my parents sold it when I was twenty-three. Long, strong memories. And that includes the plants. I've gradually been planting a few of the plants I remember around the new house the husbeast and I bought last year. Nothing extreme, I don't intend to replicate the entire yard, but some iris at the corner, stuff like that. I might put in some poppies. And I wanted to plant a lilac.

When I was growing up, the lilac bush under the window of my parents' bedroom was a subject of hilarity. Well, for us it was. We kept the hilarity quiet, though, because my mother had an ongoing war with the lilac bush.

The damn thing wouldn't flower.

It thrived away, full of lush foliage, tall, green. Every few years, my little mother (five feet tall and maybe a hundred pounds) would gather her gardening tools and go to war. While the rest of us played, she'd prune the beast back so they could see out their bedroom windows. She'd mutter under her breath at it as she went. One year she was furious, got her shovel, and chopped all around the root ball, playing hell with the nutrient system, trying to spark it into action.

The next spring there were two sprigs of flowers on the entire, massive shrub. We giggled (when she wasn't looking) and Mom threatened it with her pruning shears.

So, I've been thinking my yard needed a lilac bush. They always make me smile, thinking of her, and anything that makes you smile is worth doing, as I see it.

Then spring hit, and things started blooming. There, in the bed behind the house, near our bedroom window, is, guess what. A lilac bush. Poor thing is frost-damaged like hell from the weather, but I ALREADY HAVE A LILAC IN MY YARD

Somewhere, Mom is laughing. And so am I.


Anonymous said...

I love lilacs. We have a very neglected one in our yard. Some years it blooms beautifully, others, not so much. I love the story about your mom!

Misty said...

I usually lurk, but I love that story about your mom. :) Thanks for that!

Barbara said...

Oh, I'm glad I'm not the only mom to threaten plants that don't perform. I had a forsythia that wouldn't flower so I pruned the hell out of it a couple years, all the while giving it a strong talking to, and now it's the best one in the neighborhood.

Lilacs benefit from being pruned back severely after they bloom. I do mine half one year, half the next so I've always got some blooms.

Emily said...

Awwww. I love this story. Congratulations!

Shawnee's Girl said...

What a nice story. I also grew up with a lilac bush in our back yard. I always loved the way it was so fragrant you could smell it from across the yard.

LyndaF said...

Yeah for your lilacs! I love lilacs too, but just dug up and threw out two last year that had gotten too large. They need sun to blossom.

Louiz said...

I love lilacs. They smell so fabulous, and the flowers are amazing.

Amy Lane said...

Aww.... that's awesome. And yeah-- somewhere, your mom is laughing--and probably very, very pleased:-)

Roxie said...

Wonder what lilac stories the Goob will tell?