This week in the garden . . . lilacs and clematis

Lilacs are definitely on my top ten list – probably my top three list – of all-time favorite flowers.  Their bloom season is so short, that it always reminds me to enjoy the moment!  I try to cut a new bunch every day, so I can enjoy each variety as it blooms and always have fresh lilacs that smell so wonderful in the house.  I’ve learned that the best way to get them to last as long as possible is to use clipping shears to clip a vertical cut up the bottom of the stem.  It doesn’t work to just freshly cut off the bottom, because the stems are so woody, but it doesn’t work to smash them (as I’d been previously told), because  that crushes all of the “veins” that carry water up to the blooms.  I’ve been able to get them to last up to a week if I cut them when they’re just opening, and then make the vertical cuts in the stems and strip off all of the leaves that touch the water, in order to keep the water as clean as possible.

The clamatis climbing up my honeysuckle vine, in an arch over the wrought iron gate leading to the “secret rose garden,” are also beautiful this time of year:

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