Mystery Tree

– Posted in: Plant info
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I went grocery shopping with my husband last Sunday, and in the parking lot we saw some trees blooming with cream colored panicles of flowers reminscent of lilacs. The blossoms weren’t heavily fragrant, but smelled a bit like lilac, too. Driving home, I saw the same trees blooming in a local park–but what were they? My husband guessed linden, but a search on the web didn’t confirm that guess. I finally called the grocery store and found out they were ‘Ivory Silk’ Japanese tree lilacs (Syringa reticulata ‘Ivory Silk’). This site has photos most similar to the ones we saw. According to information on the web, they are hardy to Zone 3, but don’t take well to mechanical damage (from string trimmers and tricycles, etc.). The fragrance that I thought hinted of lilacs was described as similar to privet (which lilacs are related to), but I don’t recall ever smelling privet. The foliage was quite dense and created heavy shade. It seems to me this could be a great tree to shade a patio in summer if it was sited to block the sun. A whole row of them would make a great privacy screen.

I had passed these trees many times before without giving them a thought, until I saw them in bloom. I thought I’d share my new discovery with you.

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 its own way, frost may be one of the most beautiful things to happen in your garden all year . . . Don’t miss it. Like all true beauty, it is fleeting. It will grace your garden for but a short while this morning. . . . For this moment, embrace frost as the beautiful gift that it is.

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

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Rita Maury February 6, 2009, 6:42 pm

Where can you buy the Ivory Silk Lilac Tree in upstate NY