As a firm believer in talking to my plants, I find that they talk back. Especially the lilac bushes. No, they don’t speak English. They use a ‘behavioral language.’ Sort of like people celebrating. Or pouting. The bushy babies claim problems that I will not solve for them.
Trees and shrubs are chatterboxes in my yards. Lots of leaves, flowers, and seeds speak out when things are good for them. The weather is their greatest stimulus. For example, too much rain will send the lilacs into a time of floral silence! Some need some extreme cold in winter.
Lilac Bushes Have Cute Expressions
I wouldn’t have believed it if you told me. My lilacs had to speak for themselves. The littlest white is in a waterway. It has always struggled. Two years of wet through all seasons shut down the flowers this year, not for the first time. Rain-caused silence wasn’t a surprise this time. Before, I thought some super cold weather nixed my favorite flowers.
A closer look, there were NO flowers there to freeze. How sad. We have nine blooming lilac bushes in our yard. Their lovely white and lavender (lilac) flowers offer a heady scent for a few weeks in the spring.They had few 2020 flowers with little scent. They say that is because I wasn’t paying attention. Yes, my distraction was an issue. No, they didn’t smell as strong as they have in the past. There weren’t as many flowers. The lilacs spoke too softly!
When the Rains Didn’t Come
After so many months of wet mild weather, the rains STOPPED. Lilac leaves MORE than drooped. They became crisp, then were dropping. I thought the bushes might die. And I couldn’t change it. I wasn’t home much of the time. Exhaustion ruled when I was here. Moving to another place meant that the lilacs and I were breaking up. Their demands for water went unanswered. I’m not going to impulsively fix things for them.
Why Not Solve The Lilac bushes’ Problems
Our history together has proved that these lovely shrubs need to ‘suffer.’. A time of great thirst stimulates them. They will produce plenty of overpowering sweet-scented flowers next summer. Then, the new people here will fall deeper in love with them.
The lilac bushes talked back! Their language was clear. They were in danger. The leaves curled, turned brown, and dropped. Road dust gathered on branches and leaves. Those bushes looked so tough to one exhausted gardener.
I am humbled by their determination. A tiny shower changed everything. Raindrops measured into a ‘ten-incher’ (one drop every 10 inches.)
Every lilac bush perked up and said, “I will live.” Nature and a big truck pruned the bush at the East end of the row. She was more determined to survive than any others. Breaking out with a full top of September blooms (reblooming), she ‘showed off’ for us. Never mind the few dead branches awaiting the next owner’s lopper.
lilac shrubs Had The Drive to Live for Another Day
These lilacs had made pleas and demands for different care. As their ‘parent’, I know they need the drought. Maybe not quite as much as they had in 2020, but they do need at least one dry month. They also need a few days with ZERO and below on the winter thermometer. Rushing to solve their problem would not benefit them.
She Makes Promises for the Future
She? All of my lilac bushes are girls, some more ladylike than others. The mother bush thriving near the back door is definitely feminine and fertile. Mamma Lilac has spawned several seed babies over the years. Not suckers…they all do suckers near the roots. These are little baby lilacs rollicking around at a distance from the mother tree.
The drought tried to get the best of these bushes and failed. Lilacs are both beautiful and tough. When wandering the lawns at the next house, I found a sturdy lilac bush. While closing down for the long winters of the plains, the bush promises joyful flowers in 2021!