Thursday, April 9, 2009

Bloom Where You're Planted

When we moved into our current home, there was a large, overgrown planting area between our house and our neighbors that really had to go. I tore it apart at the height of my second pregnancy whereupon I promptly went into pre-term labor. Suffice it to say, it was a busy fall.

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.

Or not.

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.


  1. One day in June,the first year we lived here, I looked out and saw a hibiscus blooming. Didn't have a clue that hibiscus could grow this far north. It was a moment for me. One of those, well, if you can survive and thrive here--then so can I. Keep the lilacs. It's important to have something defiant in the garden!

    Oh, I painted "Bloom where you're planted" up on the archway in the kitchen. Seemed apropos to my life.

  2. Thanks Dori. You said what I was trying to say...but better.

  3. Melanie, dont give up on the lilac... it takes a couple years to bloom and then each year after more blooms come. I have several and it is well worth the wait. Patience my dear, if you plant them they will bloom... or something like that...