One of the first new shrubs I planted was a lilac bush...because lilac bushes are rumored not to grow that well in the south and, being the gardening rebel that I am, I like to tempt the naysayers. I purchased it from Wayside Gardens in 2004, put it in the ground and waited to behold the glory of a bush I had never seen in full bloom.
Four years later it had grown but had yet to flower and, in my opinion, a lilac bush without the flowers is a deciduous waste of space. For three seasons of the year it is lanky and ridiculous looking sticking out of the top of my planting bed, and in the winter it's just a bunch of sticks. So this year I decided it either needed to produce something bouquet worthy or I was ripping it out.
It apparently sensed the end was near.
Because right at this moment there are exactly three blooms on the darn thing...
And as you can see below, they make quite an impact.
Fortunately, I think I have figured out the problem. Lilacs like loamy soil. Four years ago, I had no idea what loam was. Now I do. I don't have loam. I have clay. And while I am fairly certain I can turn clay into loam, I'm not so sure the other plants around the lilac would appreciate the effort. So I am admitting defeat and giving this round to the naysayers.
But I'm keeping the lilac. Because if a lilac can adapt to clay soil, I can probably adapt to the south. Maybe we both just needed that 5th year.