When we lived in Raleigh, we had a fairly mature landscape around our house, which was built in 1980. At the end of our driveway, there were two large crape myrtles, which bloomed every fall. In the side area, a line of 6-8 camellias 10-12 feet tall displayed large fragrant blossoms twice a year. Rhododendron hugged our back deck. More camellias, winter blooming. Nandina, Japanese maple, azalea. It was a lovely yard.
Here, our house was new construction, so very little landscaping was in place when we moved in. My dad, bless his sweet soul, has spent the last year and a half planting for us. He plants what he finds on sale. He plants what friends give him. He plants what he likes. And he plants what I like.
One of the plants I miss the most from our Raleigh house is the lilac. Next to the driveway we had a large lilac--nearly 5 feet in diameter--which would bloom for about two weeks every spring. For the seven years we lived in that house, I treasured that two-week bloom, soaked in that heavenly scent (it would hit me as I drove up and down the driveway, so every morning and evening). I would bring cuttings and place them in water around the house so to enjoy their perfume a little longer. The cuttings, of course, wouldn't last more than a day. Oh but the pleasure I received from them...
I loved those lilacs, and when Dad asked me what kinds of plants I wanted, I said unequivocally: lilacs. I want some lilacs.
And so he found a lilac bush and placed it near the bird feeders in the area I think of as my bird-and-butterfly garden.
It's not the same variety as we had in Raleigh, and it's much younger, so considerably smaller. And last year the late freeze stunted its blooming period. So, quite frankly, I had forgotten about it.
Until this evening, when I decided to check on the mayapples on the hill (they have buds, no blooms yet), and I saw it. The lilac, beginning to bloom.
The perfume may not be the same as I remember, but the color is simply perfect.