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.