The Sweetest Springtime Smell of Lilacs in Bloom…

Close up of one of a Lavender Lilac Blooms...

My Great Grandfather would love to give Great Grandmother flowers, most cherished where the lilacs he grew and gave to her while they bloomed in the spring… The house they owned where my Grandmother grew up, she remembered her father taking such pride in the lilac bushes, that each day while they where in bloom in spring, she remembered his giving freshly picked lilacs to her mother… A family story my Grandmother would fondly tell my sisters and their children and I of her memories of her father and mother with their love of lilacs, and how they reminded her of them with their sweet smell…

This story always she would say when the lilacs where in bloom in the springtime, as she made fresh flower vases and bowls from freshly picked lavender, deep purple and white lilacs from around her house… Memories of the windows of her house I grew up her having, bringing in this sweet spring smell that filled their house that Gram & Gramp had bought when my Great Grandparents had passed away…

My Great Grandfather had bought this smaller house, a few blocks away from where his first house had been where my Gram grew up…

Lilacs in full Bloom


To this house he brought freshly grown lilac saplings he had taken from those old house, bushes he had so proudly grown as my Gram and her sisters and brother grew up… Around the front of that large old house he had raised four children in, was eight foot tall Lilacs along the front porch, that one could over look from sitting on the porch… On each side of this house where huge tall lilac bushes, at least 18-20 foot tall, with shorter ones along the right side of the house, with a small walk through patch of grass, then another row on the border line of their property… A house surrounded by Lilacs… Around his first house, lilac bushes he had planted each one there those so many years ago, where they still are even today…

My Grandmother’s sister also had a house near, where she too had sever of the lilacs from this house that Great Grandpa had give to my Great Uncle Harry to plant… He also loved and took great pride in bring an arm full of lilacs in the spring, ever their house smelled of lilacs, with beautiful vases and crystal bows of their beautiful deep purple and lavender lilacs they had around the house that Uncle Harry enjoyed sharing with her too… I remember even in their eighties, how happy my Great Aunt would be, as I would stop over and help my Uncle Harry pick the last arm full, for Aunt Harriet to have in each room of the house… How even till she passed in the hospital, I would drive him up there, but first, we needed to bring freshly picked lilacs, before to visit her in the hospital… How he would get serious and smile even after she passed away, smiling with a tear, saying, “Your Aunt loved these lilacs so much”, how deeply him missed her… Until he moved out west with his son and grandchildren, after her death, I would help to pick lilacs for uncle Harry too, when he couldn’t, fill the house again in each vase and bowl with the sweet smell and memories of years of springs, sharing lilacs with my Aunt in that house for over 50 years being together!!!

With the sweet smell of lilacs now upon the slight breeze coming into my living room window as I type this, memories of their house always gives to me a smile…

Lilacs near Studio Garden, now 8' tall in 2006

I stayed with my Grandparents as I went to Syracuse University, to study illustration and art Education… Sitting at the dining room table on weekends or at night after supper during spring semester, the house smelling of lilacs, I sketching and did water color studies of the bowls and vases of lilac flowers… My Grandma would sit there sipping some tea, watching me draw or paint the flowers, as she would tell me of Great Grandpa and Grandma, and his joy of giving her lilacs… She also would tell me of my Grandfather, her first husband who had passed away and I am named after, also enjoying drawing, painting and giving her lilacs… Art study after study, drawing and painting of lilacs as we talked, I would give to her, she collecting all of them, to save… I never really thought to this till recently, remembering giving her the flower drawings and paintings and how she would share them with her friends that came over for church meeting, enjoying her spring lilac bowls faces of their beautiful sweet fragrant of purple, white and lavender blooms and share with her friends my artwork of them as they would sit talking sharing tea, coffee and tea, all enjoying the lilacs of Springtime…

Just after my Grandmother passed away, Grandpa and I went out and he let me take some lilac starters home to Candor, to try to plant here, where I live now… Gramp wasn’t one to really show his feelings often, but for a few moments, he smiled, a tear in his eye, then again told the story my Gram had told, of Great Grandpa taking such pride in these lilacs, to give to Gram’s Mother… Then another tear fell down his cheek, Then said, “I took pride after, to do the same thing, would try to remember to give her some of these lilacs to have around the house, a vase of them on the dining room table, one on the living room coffee table, another on the smaller tall table and a bowl of them on the TV… How your Grandmother would love the smell of lilacs… Then he smiled and said, “Well guess you’re getting third generation flowers here that I might add, do smell pretty good in the spring, take care of them”… Then he smiled and a tear ran down his cheek, saying, “Your Grandmother so loved these lilacs, and you did too while you where here, it only makes sense you should have some, she would want you to have them”, and with a wipe of his tear, he helped me get a few of the samplings into some pots of dirt to bring back to my house in Candor…

Lilacs now 14' Tall near studio and in front of the Woodshed


The house in Candor, also had lilacs, along one side near the old woodshed that was connected to the back end of the house… When I moved back after college, we turned that woodshed into a screened in porch, my mom loving so the smell of Lilacs that grew next to the porch, as she would enjoy her coffee there and read… She watched me plan the new lilac saplings from Grandpa in the back yard, in front of my art studio little raised gardens… Mom would tell me also on that porch, when the spring sweet smell was full, of how her father would being lilacs home to her mother, in their apartment in Greenwich Village in New York City… Some of them her Mother would put in a bowl on the kitchen table, and some she would put in a vase and upon a woven small mat, a vase on his baby Grand piano in the living room and always a small vase in the bathroom… She would smile as she described her mother and her love of their beautiful fragrance…

Since then, I have turned that screened porch to a woodshop and those Lilacs on the town side of the house, I can still open the back door and let their sweet smell in there… The screened areas, I have closed up except large windows to the back yard has since been closed back up, and is my woodshop, but I am going to install a window with a screen just where that other lilac bush is, so in the springtime I can also enjoy the lilac sweet smell while working in there…

The Woodshed in the bitter cold winter, waiting for the next month when spring will melt the snow and this lilac bush will again share it green leaves and their sweet lavender colored blooms that are so full now…


Even in the winter, I walk by the lilac bush every day, near the woodshed as I fetch firewood to keep the house warm… The lilac Bush waits for spring thaw to start to share it’s first signs of spring, growing the leaves, then finally sharing the beautiful blooms of flowers…

Two years ago, while in Virginia where my mother lives now, her husband Rick bought her a lilac bush, and I planted it near the house along with a couple of butterfly bushes not far from their front porch and near the living room window, where her desk is… So she could soon be able to open that window come spring, when they grow a bit and bloom, fill the house with that sweet springtime smell of lilacs…

So my sitting here in my living room, as I type this, the window open, and the smell of freshly blooming lilacs are filling the house with their first week of sharing such soft lavender flowers, now a 14 foot tall lilac bush, near my woodshed…

If you look close, I have highlighted one who is hiding in the lilac bush… One of the wild Rabbits that around our little farm is sitting still in the lilac bush, hoping I haven’t seen him, though he doesn’t realize I took his photo…


Near the studio and woodshed, now in the afternoon shadow of my lilac bush sit two 14” black planter pots with a nice soil mix and four more lilacs saplings, two in each pot… I will soon be bringing these down to Virginia to plant at my mother’s house, so she can enjoy the smell of lilac there… In a few months, I will also be starting another batch of offshoot samplings for then I move to Virginia in the future… A smile thinking to bringing with me my family’s history some- the sweet smell of lilacs in the spring…

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