Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Lilac Festival RBG




Once again I was at the Royal Botanical Gardens volunteering, this time for the lilac festival. It was a beautiful day and quite warm, thank goodness, because it rained the entire day before. This time Claudette and I worked together answering queries about siting lilacs, lilac pruning, starting a lilac collection, as well as non lilac questions such as how to get wisteria to flower and how to prune a clematis you've met for the first time on a blind date.  



They had 3 female students giving a small talk and tour on the lilac, and I followed one group around for 10 minutes. Did you know that there are 21 species of lilacs - two are European and the rest Asian - and that there are over 2,000 cultivars. The scientists are not certain of the specific pollinators for the lilac but they believe that they are pollinated by night flying insects such as moths and some types of bees. It turns out lilacs are more fragrant at night and therefore attract night pollinators. White lilacs are more scented than any other colour. European varieties ( S. vulgaris) are sweet scented while the Asian varieties tend to be more spicy and musky smelling. 

 This white lilac is called Mme. Lemoine, a cultivar bred by M. Emile Lemoine. Emile  Lemoine was a French flower breeder who became famous for his double French hybrids and hybridized the first Hyacinthiflora lilacs. While he got the glory his wife apparently contributed her dainty fingers to the cause. Her small hands and fingers were needed for the first attempts at pollinating the now famous doubles. 



A lovely day. Here's a photo of the lilac dell.





2 comments:

  1. I just love lilacs. My Nannie had two French lilac bushes and we were greeted with the sweetest aroma every May. To this day, lilacs remind me of my grandmother and continue to be my favorite flower.

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