Before we moved to our New England farmhouse, which was built around 1800, I had never even considered the history of the lilac bush. Once I discovered the beautiful antique blooms in so many corners of our homestead, I was inquisitive to know if these fragrant trees had possibly been planted here long ago.
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Signs of Spring
A 12-inch yellow ball brings one daughter joy six days out of every week. . .
Bare, muddy feet make another feel elated every afternoon. . .
Delicacies in the mud are a routine breakfast for happy hens. . . .
And clothes once again snap in the breeze and warm in the sun most mornings. . .
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.
Last week those buds were transformed into deep-purple promises.
And yesterday’s blooms opened and glistened under raindrops.
How to Make Lilac Syrup
While the blooms are wonderful in their own right, they also make sweet, delicious Lilac Syrup.
For directions, click this picture:
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PIN the post about DIY Lilac Syrup, and
PIN this post about the history of the lilac bush.
The History of the Lilac Bush
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.
Indeed, these lusciously blooming branches may be from the original lilacs planted in that very spot.
We learned some fascinating facts about the lilac bush when a daughter and I completed a simple page about lilacs in our Backyard Book. (Our Backyard Book has become a treasured way my children learn about natural science and it’s also become a treasured family heirloom. If you’d like to know more, I wrote all about it in this post.)
You see, when our home was built (circa 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.
When I cut a sprig and place it in a carmel-colored antique bottle that I uncovered on our property’s old midden, 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.
I am thankful that today it is my hands that have the pleasure of working on this homestead, where God himself has planted me.
I have planted you like a choice vine of sound and reliable stock. Jeremiah 2:21
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We also learned that Lilac Syrup is super easy to make and extra yummy. Read more about Lilac Syrup in this post.
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As soon as you subscribe, you’ll have immediate access to my subscriber library of resources, which I’m continually adding to. You’ll enjoy lots of printables, including a super easy recipe for Lilac Syrup! And you’ll also find my popular e-booklet in my subscriber library, 5 Things You Should Know About Nature Study, which gives you lots more info about our family’s Backyard Book.
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