Newer varieties of lilacs, such as the Descanso Hybrids (see image above), thrive in areas where winters are relatively warm and do not require winter chilling to produce abundant highly fragrant blooms in the spring. So if you live in a warmerÂ climate or your temperature Zone shows it is now warmer where you live, you might want these lilac hybrids.
Descanso lilacs were developed to bloom in very mild winter areas . The Descanso lilac provides the same abundance of showy flower, superb when cut, as do other lilacs.
I have planted all my lilacs near some other big shrub or tree because my property is mostly wooded or has something growing on it- I have little choice of where to plant plants that I want. I know that lilacs do NOT like their roots crowded; but I have few options. I had planted the lilac that is blooming near the Rose of Sharon when they were little, so though they are all huge, perhaps the roots would have had a better chance to establish themselves when the shrubs were all small.
The lilac that has a few flowers is near a crape myrtle and who knows what size the crape myrtle roots are (compared to the Rose of Sharon roots.) I do wish someone would do a study of roots of plants and have diagrams and size charts so we gardeners can know what is underground as well as what we can see.
My old fashioned lilacs, Syringa vulgaris, are blooming. For the first time in years, the flowers are blooming on my side of the yard as well as my neighbor’s side of the yard. Most years the flower display is best on my neighbor’s side. But, hey, what are good neighbors for?
The lilacs that I have that are in bloom are from my parents’ farm. These lilacs were babies from lilac shrubs that were on the farm for over 100 years. As far back as I remember the lilacs always had such a beautiful display of blooms every spring that my mother made huge bouquets of lilacs for us and for family and friends.
I have my lilac growing in between two Rose of Sharon shrubs, just as the lilacs had grown when on the farm so that I have lilacs in bloom in the spring and Rose of Sharon blooming in late summer.
The home garden is a joy for the present and is also something one plants for posterity. But when TheGardenLady walks around her garden, so many of the plants that she has were given to her from family and friends in the past and continues in the present. So for me my garden is a place of my personal history and so many of the plants bring back memories of loved ones or the beds recall the fun or pain of digging them in the past. I consider my garden as a living tribute to those whose plants are living here with me. So for me, being in this garden is a way of spending more time with friends and family even when they are not here in the garden themselves.
For example, many of the lilac shrubs Syringa vulgaris, the rose of sharon Hibiscus syriacus shrubs, the wisteria vine and some of the Japanese peonies Paeonia were on TheGardenLady’s parents’ farm. Since my parents were only the second nonnative people to live on their farm, these plants could be considered antique – which means 100 years old. Horticulturists call them heritage plants.
Galium odoratum (Sweet woodruff) by ngawangchodron
The sweet woodruff Galium odoratum was given to me by a dear friend who passed away.
My favorite double daylily, monarda and so many other plants were given to me by another friend who passed away. And my Magnolia grandiflora that I look at through my living room window was won in a raffle that this friend’s garden club had sponsored. The first raffle I ever won.
So many of my new personal favorite plants were given to me by friends who have spectacular gardens.
dictamnus by peltierpatrick
For example, my Dictamnus or gas plant was given to me by a lady whose garden is a show place. My French lilac and many of my giant hostas and other plants come from another friend with a show garden. I can go on and on about the different gardens and friends the plants come from.
Once when I took a tour of someone’s private garden, her labels not only gave the Latin name and common name of the plant but also included the name of the family or friend who gave her the plant. I thought this was such a clever idea that someday TheGardenLady wants to copy this idea in her personal garden.
Clematis likes soil that has a pH close to neutral (6.6-7.0). You have to add enough lime to ensure that your soil is not too acidic.Â Generous amounts of bone meal and compost should be added to the soil. Clematis likes soil that drains well, so coarse builder’s sand should be added to soils that have a high clay content.
Lilacs also like a rich, well-drained soil with a neutral pH. They will grow happily in soil with a wider pH range- from 5.8-7.8 pH.
If the writer of this question is from the New England area where soils are often very acidic, soils will require modification for optimal lilac or clematis growth.
But do not try to change the pH of your soil by guessing. If you live in the US., contact your county agricultural extension service or your local Master Gardener Office for soil-testing information. You will get a soil testing kit that you will fill with soil for the test and when the results are returned, you will learn if your soil needs to be altered. The test results will be sent to you with instructions for altering soil pH to meet the needs of your plants. And if you don’t understand the instructions, you can visit the Master Gardener Office where the Master Gardeners will explain the instructions to you.