Who can resist the fresh spring fragrance of a flowering lilac?

For many gardeners, the lilac is an all-time favourite; the first spring blooms are awaited with great anticipation. By carefully selecting and planting more than one variety, you can have an abundance of fragrant lilacs in your home and garden, all summer long.

Hardy, fragrant lilacs hold undeniable appeal for Northern gardeners. Today’s cultivars offer greater abundance in flower, variety of colour, scent appeal and form than ever before.

From the sweetly scented French hybrids, to the spicy, compact Korean and showy Preston varieties, you can choose a variety of lilacs to bloom all summer long.

The first lilac to bloom, in the Yukon, are the richly fragrant French hybrids. Among the favoured of the French varieties is the well-loved syringa vulgaris, “Charles Joly”.

Known to be the most sweet-smelling, this variety is adored for its deep-purple-reddish flowers that blossom amid rich, dark-green foliage.

Closely following the French blossoms is the Korean lilac. The most popular of this is the syringa meyeri, “Palibin”, or dwarf Korean lilac.

Ranging in height from three to six feet, and in widths of five to seven feet, the dark-reddish-purple buds open to beautiful, long flowers in a shade of whitish-pink.

Producing a great show, in only a few years, this shrub is an excellent choice for a flowering hedge. Its naturally uniform shape requires little pruning.

For a mid-summer flowering lilac, look to the Preston variety. Although they are late bloomers, these shrubs have a faster-growing pace and produce opulent flowers. When size is of importance, the hardy Preston is a good choice.

Consider planting more than one variety of lilac, in your garden, and enjoy the delightful fragrance all summer long. Undoubtedly, the hardy lilac varieties, in their pleasant array of colours, are among the most-beautiful and elegant of all flowering shrubs.

Shari Morash is a gardening enthusiast and an accredited designer. Contact her at shari.morash@gmail.com.