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Fragrant lilacs (Syringa) are a harbinger of early spring, and growing them is fairly easy as they require little care and are hardy to zone 3. Colours range from pink to deep purple, white and the traditional lilac purple. If you have room, plant one of each for a rainbow of blooms in bouquets. ‘Miss Kim’ is a jasmine-scented, heavy-blooming dwarf lilac that grows to just 1.2 m tall and wide (4 ft. by 4 ft.); perfect in a container or in the landscape.
Alkaline soil is best for lilacs; it allows the plant to take up nutrients from the soil to help create large, fragrant, long-blooming buds. Lime and fertilize in late January to allow the pH to alter and the plant to absorb the nutrients come early spring. If pruning is necessary, do it soon after the blooms are finished, to allow the plant to form buds for next year’s bloom. If you would like to propagate by cuttings, the optimal time is within two weeks of blooming.
1 32-L bag mushroom manure
12 crushed eggshells
2 banana peels
1 cup (250 mL) Dolopril lime
Mix all the ingredients in a wheelbarrow. Add a 5-cm (2-in.) layer to the drip line of the lilac bush. Apply in late January. Repeat again after blooming.
For more sustainable-gardening Tips, go to www.gardenwiseonline.ca