Deep-Purple Promises

A 12-inch yellow ball brings one daughter joy six days out of every week. DSC_0056

Bare, muddy feet make another feel elated every afternoon.

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Delicacies in the mud are a routine breakfast for happy hens.

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And clothes once again snap in the breeze and warm in the sun most mornings.

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Spring has most definitely danced her way into our rural neck of the New England woods. But my lilacs heralded her arrival back in February. With multiple feet of snow still on the ground, the green buds promised warm weather would again return to our homestead. DSC_1167

Last week those buds were transformed into deep-purple promises.

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And yesterday’s blooms opened and glistened under raindrops.

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They bathe four different areas of our farm with deeply perfumed color every May (by the front door, the horse stables, the front stone wall, and the back stone wall). But the ones by the front door are my favorite. I linger in their shade and wonder who else may have done the same over the past two centuries. These lusciously blooming branches may be from the original lilacs planted in that very spot. When our home was built (in 1800), it was customary to have lilacs by the front door so one could enjoy their scent when entering. They were a new, hardy shrub brought over from England at the time. They lost favor as time went on. Many preferred newer varieties of flowering bushes that offered longer bloom time. When I came across this tidbit of history–that it was popular to plant fragrant lilacs by the front door–I immediately inspected the old photograph we inherited with our home, dated 1900. There is definitely a tall, leggy bush at the front, right corner of the cape, in the same spot where our branches of purple joy stand today. DSC_1762

When I cut a sprig and place it in a carmel-colored antique bottle that I uncovered on our property, I wonder about all the hands that may have nurtured my lilacs through the years and the hands that emptied my bottle and tossed it aside. And I am thankful. Thankful that today it is my hands that have the pleasure of working on this homestead, where God himself has planted me.

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I have planted you like a choice vine of sound and reliable stock.  Jeremiah 2:21

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10 Reasons to Plant Lilacs:

1. Clusters of flowers will offer you lavender color with Old World charm every year, without fail.

2. Heart-shaped leaves elegantly fill any simple bottle, even on one single sprig of lilac.

3. Spring fragrance will fill your home from just a few clippings.

4. Wonderful perfume will greet everyone who steps in your yard for the 3-4 wonderful weeks of bloom time. In fact, their sweet aroma can be smelled up to 100 feet away!

5. Butterflies and hummingbirds will find the aroma irresistible.

6. Excellent screening plants, lilacs will create a privacy hedge within a decade.

7. Hardy lilacs will thrive in almost any soil and withstand severe winters.

8. Resilient lilacs can almost be ignored once they’re planted, making them very easy to maintain, as long as you don’t mind occasionally cutting off or mowing over new shoots they vivaciously send out beyond their flower bed.

9. Although purple is the most popular choice, lilacs are available in many colors.

10. Your beautiful lilacs may be a source of pleasure to generations, for centuries to come.

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5 thoughts on “Deep-Purple Promises

    • I’m surprised to hear you can’t enjoy lilacs on your side of the Atlantic, Veronica! They were brought to America a few centuries ago from England… I wonder what makes them hard to grow now in your neck of the woods? I just cut more bouquets and placed some in almost every room of the house; they smell so decadent. I’m also thinking about making some lilac syrup today.

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