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.

In the end, this may be the most important thing about frost: Frost slows us down. In spring, it tempers our eagerness. In fall, it brings closure and rest. In our gotta-go world–where every nanosecond seems to count–slowness can be a great gift. So rather than see Jack Frost as an adversary, you could choose to greet him as a friend.

~Philip Harnden in A Gardener’s Guide to Frost: Outwit the Weather and Extend the Spring and Fall Seasons

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