Old Southern Lilacs

It’s been a weekend of cool, rainy weather…..the perfect time to transplant that coveted old Lilac.

Lilacs are the flower of my childhood in Montana. I had two large Lilacs outside my bedroom window. The scent was intoxicating. The cluster of flowers were deliciously beautiful to look at. For a quick sugar fix, I would take the individual flowers and suck the nectar out, like a honey bee. So many memories of the beautiful Lilac. It’s hard to find a Lilac that will grow and flourish in the South……then we found her.

This particular Lilac has survived many seasons of drought, completely unattended. At one time, the Lilac had a home that was an amazing part of the neighborhood, with gorgeous gardens and a ‘state of the art’ 1900’S wine cellar. After the passing of the owner and gardener, the house remained quiet and unattended for years, slowly giving way to the elements.For years, the Lilac was protected by an old Wysteria, which unfortunately died during last summer’s drought. Now the Lilac is in full Texas heat without any help from the Wysteria. My gardening friends and I have been eyeing the Lilac for months. This old variety is clearly tough, but it is was time to move her to greener pastures.

After getting the “ok to dig” permission, I went on Saturday with my sharp-shooter shovel. I located the off-shoots and went to work. It was unexpectedly much harder than I previously thought. In fact, after slamming my foot in the car door, I did my foot in by jumping on the shovel to separate the Lilac babies. By the end of the day, I had quite the limp and felt like crawling everywhere, much to the horror of my teenage daughters.

I removed six nice Lilacs from the mother plant. I planted them in deliciously dark compost, and placed them in the coolness of the potting shed. It is important to keep new transplants out of the sun. The sun will suck the moisture out of the leaves and put the newly potted plants into shock. Bright shade is best for the first few weeks. Then slowly give the plant babies a little morning sun before transferring to the new location.

Most modern plants do not exhibit the ‘grit’ that heirlooms do. These old plants have survived for decades, and have built up tolerances to disease and famine. Any time I have the opportunity to fill my garden with heirloom flowers, it’s Carpe to the Diem, baby!!!! I am hoping to propogate this old variety of Southern Lilac for my friends. Until then, I haved six new little babies waiting for their ‘forever home’ in my garden.

Now that I dug up the Lilac, I have the digging bug again…..Today I plan to dig some more at the flooded house. I still can’t believe how many flowers are left. Today I will dig some Iris, Crinum, Wood Violets, Oxalis, and Pigeon Berry. I’d like to think that my foot can handle digging up some large Turk’s Cap and Salvia, but I think I am pushing my luck. I STILL have about one thousand Oxblood Lilies left to plant.

If you are interested in some heirloom flower bulbs for your garden, check out my “store” on this site. All bulbs are for sale, by donation, to help pay at-risk and mentally challenged youth (and adults) to work the gardens. The Garden Project soon hopes to be a non-profit. To place an order, please email heirloombulbgirl@gmail.com

Happy Gardening, my friends. Keep your eyes open for the old plants around you. One never knows when a treasure, like an old Southern Lilac, is found.