Hurrah for lilacs….
The common lilac, or Syringa vulgaris, is a shrub which is related to the olive, and as such can have some ‘hardiness issues’ . However, it is widely used in English gardens, for its heavy white blossom (held in spikes) and its heady scent. Despite the name, not all lilacs are ‘lilac’; here we see a dense white example. It is not Syringa vulgaris ‘Alba’ – which is a ‘single’ – as all the blossoms are ‘double’, so it is probably a white, naturalized variety. Since S. vulgaris can reach up to 20 feet and is a dense shrub, with little appeal except for the flower spikes, careful thought needs to be undertaken as to the siting of a lilac in a garden.
Liliacs are featured a great deal in literature too. Kipling mentioned them in ‘Rewards and Fairies’ and, of course, there is also ‘Under the Lilacs’ by Louisa M Alcott. The shrub tends to have ‘good’ years followed by ones with less blossom. This was a good year in the garden in South Yorkshire!