A happy (and fragrant) surprise: a lilac bush grows at the Manse!

Lilacs at the Manse 1

My discovery this afternoon upon returning to the Manse after a couple of days in Montreal: lilacs!

If you live in Southern or Eastern Ontario – or, I suppose, in many other parts of eastern North America, and maybe some parts of the west too – you will know that the lilacs are just coming into bloom everywhere. And isn’t that a wonderful springtime event?

Also, if you happen to be a longtime reader of Meanwhile, at the Manse, you will know that I love lilacs, and have publicly pined (here and here and here, for instance; that last one has some good Al Purdy stuff in it, by the way) to have a lilac bush here at the Manse, as we did when I was a child growing up in this very same house.

In response to that public wistfulness on my part about the lack of lilacs, some good friends from this area have very kindly offered a cutting to transplant from their plenteous supply. It is an offer that we are definitely going to take them up on, though we are still pondering where might be the best place to plant the cutting.

But meanwhile, at the Manse (so to speak): we have just discovered that we already have a lilac bush!

Mind you, I had my suspicions last year. Raymond and I went through an extended period last spring when we had a lot of obligations in Montreal (where we then lived) and for several weeks straight weren’t able to spend any time in Queensborough. That was inadvertently clever on our part, because we managed to completely miss the blackfly season. But when we finally did get back here, I noticed what I thought were the end-of-season remains of some lilac blooms on a bush that is part of a lot of general bushiness under the old Manitoba maple in our back yard. I was far from sure, however, and given that whatever the blooms had been they were way past done for the year, I kind of forgot about it.

Lilacs at the Manse 2

I took this closeup photo partly so you could admire the deep purple colour of our lilac blooms, and partly so you would know (because of the corner of the Manse you can see in the background) that the lilac really is right here in our back yard. Yay!

But hey, one of the pleasures of living in a place full-time is that you discover things you don’t when you’re only an occasional visitor. And I have just discovered that, yes, we really do have a lilac bush at the Manse! Nestled under (and kind of hidden by) that weedy but venerable Manitoba maple; and tucked away in the back yard as opposed to blooming proudly and happily in front of the house, as the lilac bush of my childhood did; and not very big and probably in need of pruning or transplanting or some such attention – but nevertheless, a lilac bush of our own! And the blooms smell just as lovely as one would hope.

So that is a happy spring surprise at the Manse. I am very proud of my newly discovered lilac bush, and will do all I can to ensure that it flourishes. And if we can add more lilacs thanks to our friends, well – the property will be the better for it. Because lilacs kind of define spring, don’t they?

2 thoughts on “A happy (and fragrant) surprise: a lilac bush grows at the Manse!

  1. I love lilacs, too–the back roads around Lindsay are often lined with them, and the smell this time of year is glorious. My plan was to plant a ton of them at our new place, but on reflection, realized they’re not a native species, which doesn’t support my intention of planting native shrubs that help wildlife by providing food through the winter. At any rate, we, too, have one lovely lilac bush, so, as my late mother-in-law used to say, at least that.

    • “At least that.” I like that! Nancy, I think perhaps I once knew that lilacs are not a native species, but I’d quite forgotten it. Lord, you’d never know it by driving around Hastings County (as the Lindsay area) at the moment; they are everywhere, and thoroughly beautiful. But I totally admire your commitment to native plants and shrubs, and I do believe I shall try to follow suit. Meanwhile, we (you and I) can still enjoy the lilacs that just happen to be there in our yards!

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