“I shall not be likely to go to town while the lilacs bloom.”
— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Lilac bouquet

Lilac bouquet on the kitchen windowsill

Lilac

Have you ever noticed the thin purple edge on a lilac leaf?

The scent of lilacs is such an ephemeral gift.  The lilac bloom in Seattle is in its last days, and I just cut another fresh bouquet while I had the chance.

Here are some tips for cutting lilac bouquets from Gretchen Hoyt of Alm Hill Gardens, who was featured in The 50 Mile Bouquet:

  • “Harvest lilacs when most of the florets are open, perhaps with a few closed florets at the top of the bloom.  They never open past the stage when you pick them.”
  • “Using a sharp knife, ‘shave’ the cut stem as if you are shaving a pencil.  This exposes the under bark, which creates more area for water to be absorbed by the flower.”
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Lilacs

Bouquet of lilacs with a pair of spectacles

“Now you are a very decent flower,
A reticent flower,
A curiously clear-cut, candid flower,
Standing beside clean doorways,
Friendly to a house-cat and a pair of spectacles,
Making poetry out of a bit of moonlight
And a hundred or two sharp blossoms.”
— Amy Lowell, “Lilacs”

“May is lilac here in New England.”
— Amy Lowell, “Lilacs”

It’s May and the lilacs are blooming here in Seattle, too!

Purple lilacs

Lilacs

White lilacs

Lilacs and books

Lilac and the book, Bringing Nature Home

Lilac photo, edited with inverted color

And don’t you just love that “purple” lilac scent?  What other smells mean Spring to you?

Smells
by Kathryn Worth

Through all the frozen winter
My nose has grown most lonely
For lovely, lovely, colored smells
That come in springtime only.

The purple smell of lilacs,
The yellow smell that blows
Across the air of meadows
Where bright forsythia grows.

The tall pink smell of peach trees,
The low white smell of clover,
And everywhere the great green smell
Of grass the whole world over.

Lilacs in bloom

Lilac bouquet

Bouquet of mixed lilacs on my kitchen counter

I'm enjoying the short lilac season this year.

“Plant a lilac, and you plant a memory.  Lilacs are the flowers of reminiscence, perhaps because of their fragrance, so linked for us with winter gone and summer coming, perhaps because their brief season of fabulous bloom or perhaps because our grandparents grew them”
— Jennifer Bennett, Lilacs for the Garden

My grandmothers grew lilacs.  Did yours?

Watercolor sketch of lilacs

First lilac blooms

Stealing Lilacs
by Alice N. Persons

A guaranteed miracle,
it happens for two weeks each May,
this bounty of riches
where McMansion, trailer,
the humblest driveway
burst with color—pale lavender,
purple, darker plum—
and glorious scent.
This morning a battered station wagon
drew up on my street
and a very fat woman got out
and starting tearing branches
from my neighbor’s tall old lilac—
grabbing, snapping stems, heaving
armloads of purple sprays
into her beater.
A tangle of kids’ arms and legs
writhed in the car.
I almost opened the screen door
to say something,
but couldn’t begrudge her theft,
or the impulse
to steal such beauty.
Just this once,
there is enough for everyone.

Watercolor sketch of lilac blooms

Watercolor sketch of lilacs

Spokane is the largest city in Eastern Washington, but it feels more like a Midwestern town than a  high-powered urban area.  I’ve been to Spokane several times, but this was the first time I enjoyed some of its tourist sites.

The Joy of Running Together, a sculpture installation by David Govedare in Riverside Park, Spokane

Shafts of sunlight through the arches of the Monroe Street Bridge, visible in the mist of the Lower Falls

Skyride over the Lower Falls of the Spokane River

The lilac gardens were still in bloom at Manito Park in Spokane

Inquisitive squirrel in Manito Park

Iris blooms in Manito Park

Peach and purple iris, Manito Park

More irises in the gardens of Manito Park

“The lilac scent, the bushes, and the dark
     green, heart-shaped leaves,
Wood violets, the little delicate pale
     blossoms called innocence . . .”
     — Walt Whitman, “Warble for Lilac-Time”

My husband and I just returned from a weekend in Portland.  On the drive down on Friday, we stopped at the Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens in Woodland, Washington (about 20 miles from the border of Oregon) and met up with my sister, her husband, my niece and her two children.  None of us had ever visited the lilac gardens before.  It was a perfect time to visit, with many varieties of lilacs in full bloom.  The fragrance was heavenly. 

The gardens were not very large, but they hold about 150 varieties of lilacs.  I’m not sure I would make a special trip from Seattle just to visit the lilac gardens, but if you were planning a visit to the Portland area, it would definitely be worthwhile to stop in to see them.

Bouquet of mixed lilac blooms greets visitors at the Hulda Klager farmhouse

White bench amidst the blooming lilacs, Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens

Purple lilacs

White lilacs

Multi-colored lilac

Smelling the fragrant lilac blossoms

First Anniversary

April 14, 2010

Celebratory lemon cupcake

One year ago today I launched this blog.  I made a commitment to myself to post every day for at least one year in order to create  a visual record of my world through four seasons.  Blogging provided a way to grow as an artist and individual by working with a new medium that could combine my love of words with sharing photographs.

I am pleased with the year’s work.  I took 6,500 photographs over the past year, created 385 posts, and recorded 8,600 visits to my blog.  

I do plan to keep posting to this blog.   There will be one noticeable change, however.  I will post only when I have something to share, not necessarily every day. 

I don’t want to become stale.  As I continue to evolve in my creative pursuits, I expect that my blog will change over time as well.  At this point, I don’t know what these new directions will look like.  I would like to spend some time exploring how to market my photographs.  I would like to explore painting and drawing rather than just making photographs.  These are challenging projects for me, and it’s all a bit scary because I don’t know if I’ll be any good at them.  You are welcome to read about my journey and struggles in this blog as I forge ahead in the coming year.

I appreciate all of my readers, and I hope you keep checking in.