For much of the year, I fantasize about cutting down the lilac tree in our back yard. The trunk and branches are so old and gnarly and really, the leaves aren’t very interesting throughout the summer. And it casts too much shade over what would otherwise be a perfect location for a vegetable garden. I think often and out loud of replacing it with a Japanese Maple, Honey Locust or Forest Pansy Redbud. But every spring, when we enjoy two weeks of spectacular, fragrant flowers, I decide it can stay. We currently have five vases of varying sizes holding lilacs throughout our home, making every room smell so very fresh.
Lilacs are nostalgic for me too. There was a row of them in the
backyard of our house when I was a kid. We had a zipline running
alongside this lilac “hedge” and I remember inhaling the smell as I
flew through the air from one end to the other.
And they’re so beautifully old-fashioned. They remind me of drying lines, doilies and ice tea.
One thing I find very creatively satisfying is putting together a bouquet from things I find in my yard (which does not have a cutting garden). It’s especially exciting when at first glance the yard looks like mostly a bunch of soggy, gray nothing—which it most definitely does at this time of year. I usually focus on the colors and textures of leaves, grasses and branches. But sometimes, if I look closely, I can find the smallest bits here and there of purple Hellebores drooping downward, and the fiery young leaves of Spirea to nestle next to them. A few branches of baby willow, some Rhododendron leaves for contrast and delicate Pieris buds make it suddenly sort of breathtaking. Lauren and I had fun putting together this arrangement for her sharing day at school this morning. I made her a little guide with sketches and the names of each plant for her teacher to read to the class. After we brought it home, I just couldn’t stop admiring our work and had to take a few photos to share with you.