Botany Gardening History lessons from an old house Homesteading Nature Study

History of the Lilac Bush

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.

history of the lilac bush

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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.

history of the lilac bush

history of the lilac bush

history of the lilac bush

history of the lilac bush

history of the lilac bush

history of the lilac bush

history of the lilac bush

How to Make Lilac Syrup

While the blooms are wonderful in their own right, they also make sweet, delicious Lilac Syrup.

For directions, click here:

make your own syrup from lilacs

Or, so you’ll have it for later,

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.

history of the lilac bush

history of the lilac bush

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.

Pin this for later. Just hover over this image for the Pinterest logo.–>

history of the lilac bush

Many readers often ask what camera I use to take the images you find here on SoulyRested. I love my Nikon; you can read more about my camera and even purchase your own here.

Please take a second to follow along here on SoulyRested to catch up on a few of my memorable mishaps, enjoy musings about my centuries-old farmhouse, or glean a little parenting/homeschooling insight from this momma who’s been failing at the effort for almost 2 decades. I hope my focus always helps you Keep it Simple while being Souly Rested on Christ.

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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0 Comment

    1. 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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