Lilac Books

– Posted in: Book reviews, Colchicums

I’ve been reading Lilacs for the Garden by Jennifer Bennett. It’s a much more approachable book than Fiala’s Lilacs: The Genus Syringa and has detailed information on numerous cultivars and species. I’ve discovered lilacs that bloom earlier and later than the ones in my garden, especially fragrant lilacs, especially hardy lilacs, and lilacs that do well in the South (not that I need them). Most enlightening was the chapter on diseases. If my eyes are interpreting the photos correctly, the lilacs on our property are regularly afflicted with leaf roll necrosis, though not to any debilitating degree. And now I know what a lilac borer hole looks like. This book also had good photos accompanying the chapter on pruning. Unless you plan to breed lilacs (in which case you do need Fiala’s book), this book tells you everything you need to know. If you’re considering buying a lilac, you owe it to yourself to read this book first.

Got my colchicum order today from Russell Stafford of Odyssey bulbs. I’ve never seen such an extensive selection, and the prices were certainly in line with what you pay elsewhere. I had trouble making up my mind, but since there were so many offered that I didn’t have, I simply ordered all the colchicums under $6 that were hardy to zone 5 that I didn’t already have. I got one each of C. ‘Antaris,’ C. ‘Autumn Herald,’ C. ‘Zephyr,’ C. atropurpureum, and C. autumnale ‘Nancy Lindsay.’ I had also ordered C. ‘Disraeli,’ but he substituted C. speciosum ‘Album,’ which was on my sub list and actually a more expensive bulb–no extra charge.

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

Now, the digging and dividing of perennials, the general autumn cleanup and the planting of spring bulbs are all an act of faith. One carries on before the altar of delayed gratification, until the ground freezes and you can’t do any more other than refill the bird feeder and gaze through the window, waiting for the snow. . . . Meanwhile, it helps to think of yourself as a pear tree or a tulip. You will blossom spectacularly in the spring, but only after the required period of chilling.

~Adrian Higgins in The Washington Post, November 6, 2013

Comments on this entry are closed.