Focus on Flowers: Lilac Bouquet

Enjoy them now, southern Connecticut gardeners, as the intoxicating scent of the common lilac, Syringa vulgaris, will soon be gone.

Lilac-colored lilac heads will last the longest in a vase when picked with open flowers near the lower portion and still unopened flowers near the top.  As with all flowers, pick early in the morning or late in the evening when blossoms are less stressed by strong sunshine.  Cut the woody stems of lilacs – with a sharp knife, not crushing scissors – on an angle to maximize water uptake, and remove all green stems with leaves, then place lilacs in lukewarm water in a vase sturdy enough to support their weight.  Make sure fresh cut stem ends go immediately into water, leaving them exposed to air will cause them to dry, thus sealing off water uptake.  Removing the leafy branches allows lilac flowers to remain hydrated for longer periods.  You can use the leafy branches, however, as bouquet accents.  Just be sure to cut the branch ends, at an angle, and remove all leaves that will fall below the water line.

I adore white lilacs easily as much as their lavender cousins, but I have never known white lilacs to last more than a few hours in an indoor bouquet (if you have a white lilac hint on making them last when cut, please share), so I planted my small white lilac bush were I can enjoy its beauty and scent while exiting and entering our house.

White lilacs in May

White lilacs in May

I like to cut hosta leaves to arrange with lilac flowers – as shown in my favorite photographer’s photo below.  I cut and arranged this bouquet 4 days ago – it still looks fresh.

Lilacs and hostas, photo by Ralph Chappell Photography

Lilacs and hostas, photo by Ralph Chappell Photography

But my favorite photographer found additional artistry in the vase and stems, and I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the beauty captured here …

Vase structure, by Ralph Chappell Photography

Vase structure, by Ralph Chappell Photography



Filed under Focus on Flowers, Gardening, General

6 responses to “Focus on Flowers: Lilac Bouquet

  1. Joene,

    Another beautiful arrangement (and a very artistic shot from your favorite photographer!). I have had three lilacs planted in my backyard for about 12 years and they just started blooming last year. Very long and boring story but suffice it to say I was thrilled this year when my common lilac had several dozen blooms on it. My white lilac has only two blooms this year but I’m hoping for more next year. I also have a Miss Kim which appears to be covered with blooms – I can’t wait until she’s in her full glory later this month or in early June.

  2. Joene always provides willing plants for all sorts of photo ops

  3. joenesgarden

    Debbie, please share photos of your Miss Kim … and fill me in on her scent. Sorry it took so long for your common lilacs to bloom – it’s a common problem. I was fortunate in that mine bloomed the year after I transplanted them from my former home. They have increased their bloom each year since, plus I’ve shared many offspring with neighbors.

  4. Pingback: Mid-May Blooms « joene’s garden

  5. Patricia Bratton

    Lived in Ct many years and loved the live in Fl and sad to say, no lilacs here…Have a chance to go to Ct this spring, and would like to time my visit with the lilacs blooming…..Know the winter has been extremely cold, what are the chances of the lilacs blooming on their usual scheldule, mid May, or maybe a little later? Realize no one can give an exact answer, but decided maybe someone knew something about how the cold effects their blooming time. Would appreciate any help I can get…Thanks

  6. joenesgarden

    Hi Patricia, yes the weather has been cold, but it looks like spring blooms are coming according to their normal schedule. Hope you manage to be here while lilacs are in bloom.

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