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Syringa, Oleaceae

Aside from Roses, there is no flower as beautiful and aromatic as Lilacs. Of the two, Lilacs have a stronger scent, that carries a much farther distance. Unfortunately, Lilacs bloom for only a very brief couple weeks in the spring. To prolong their presence in your yard, grow a variety of Lilacs, including, early, mid and late variety bushes. With variety and luck, you will have Lilacs in blooming in your yard for up to six weeks. Weather has a lot to do with how long your blooms last. Once the buds begin to open, pray for a cool, dry spell, that will prolong them. After the blooms are over, you still have a nice shade bush. But, you have to wait for up to fifty more weeks to see them again.

Other Names: Persian Lilac, Common Lilac, Asian Lilac( usd when referring to Asian varities)

History:
Lilacs were introduced into in the United States in the mid 1750's. They were grown in America's first botanical gardens and were popular in New England. Both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew them in their gardens. Lilac bushes can live for hundreds of years. Lilacs originated from Europe and Asia, with the majority of natural varieties coming from Asia. European lilacs originated in the Balkans, France and Turkey.

Where is the Lilac Capital of the World? Many areas grow them, and many have a wide variety in large numbers. Rochester, N.Y. undoubtedly is the Lilac Capital of the World. It's love for Lilacs dates back to 1892, when Highland Park horticulturalist John Dunbar planted 20 varieties on the sunny southern slopes of the park. Highland Park in Rochester is the scene of an annual, two week long Lilac Festival, with over a half a million people attending the event each year. This park has over 500 varieties of lilacs and more than 1200 lilac bushes in the parks' 155 acres. The annual Rochester Lilac Festival, includes food, top quality entertainment, races, and much more.

In addition, many homes and parks in the Rochester, NY area have one or more lilac bushes. If you take a ride along many of the Finger Lakes, you will find thousands of them along the roadside. The sweet fragrance comes right through your open window, as you drive along.

A Stately Bush: On August 18, 2006, New York State Governor George Pataki proclaimed the Lilac as the State bush.


Lilac Cities:

In addition to Rochester, NY, a few other cities in the U.S. and Canada are well known for their love of Lilacs. They include:

Cornwall in Ontario, Canada boasts the "City of Lilacs" and rivals Rochester, NY in size of their collection.

Rochester, New Hampshire also calls themselves the "Lilac City". Lilacs are the state flower.

Spokane, Washington is nicknamed the "Lilac City".  Each spring, they have a parade and festival.

Did You Know? There are over 1,000 varieties of Lilacs. They come in several colors, with the most popular being the color lilac and purple. White and pink are also popular. They also vary widely in size from the small 4 to 8 foot varieties to types that can grow up to 30 feet.

Check out the Lilac Picture Gallery . And, don't miss one of the local school bands that play at the festival. Lilac Festival Stage



Other Lilac Links:

International Lilac Society

When Lilacs Last Bloomed A poem by Walt Whitman (1865)

Did you Know? Lilacs are edible!



More Information:

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