Enchant Your Garden With French Lilac
French lilac (Syringa Vulgaris) is known to spread a harmonic scent throughout the house and garden, and is often used for the production of fragrances, perfumes and other beauty products. Lilac was introduced to Western Europe in the 16th century and for a very long time French lilac had a pale colour. Researches then started breeding it, crossing it with other types, growing it under different conditions and experimenting with colours. Today lilac is available in over 200 different shades, but the most characteristic colour is most probably purple.
French lilac is part of the oleaceae family which is an oily species, thus very convenient for the production of fragrances. However, its oil is slightly poisonous and cannot be used or consumed in its purity as such. The grey branches are round and the plant usually blossoms in late spring or summer reaching a height between 2 and 6 metres. The actual flowers are surrounded by beautifully green leaves and are typically purple, white or blue. The strong scent is what makes the French lilac so popular and the numerous small blossoms that grow in large bunch are truly amazing to look at. The odour also attracts many insects and butterflies in particular – those who want to fill their garden with dancing and colourful butterflies should definitely consider planting French lilac.
Lilac is generally the perfect flower for any garden as it is tough enough to get through cold winters. It can be purchased in pots and transplanted outdoors when the weather is right to do so. To ensure a successful season, plant the lilac in permeable, chalky soil and avoid soaking it as it will damage the plant. A sunny or semi-shady spot is ideal and guarantees good results and unless the climate is very dry, frequent watering is not necessary after it has been planted successfully. Lilacs are perfect for urban gardens as they are resistant to pollution and freshen up the air at the same time.
Due to the fact that the plant resists winters, smog and hardly needs any care, it has been one of the most popular garden flowers for many years. To enable steady growth and flowering, it should be cleaned regularly and withered blossoms should be removed. A yearly trimming is also recommended, and it is great for beginners who need to practice these basic gardening skills because even if the lilac is trimmed too much, it won’t die. It may take longer to blossom again, but it will forgive any overly ‘brutal chopping’ and grow lovely flowers once it has fully recovered. The use of manure can aid the growth and although there are many types of fertiliser, it is always best to use a natural or organic one. Too much artificial or even poisonous substance can damage the plant and is certainly not good for the environment.
As mentioned earlier, the oil produced by the lilac plant is toxic and cannot be used in its pure state. However, it is possible to capture the enchanting scent and produce your own lilac oil. Simply pick a few fresh and strong flowers and put them in a glass - about 10 umbels are enough for approximately 1 litre of oil. After pouring the oil (which should be simple oil, preferably without much aroma) into the glass with the flowers, close the container and keep it in sunlight for about 4 weeks. To separate the now scented oil from the bits and pieces of the flowers, filter the mixture through a cloth or fine fabric.
Et voila- your own French lilac aroma oil which you can use to create your own perfumes, liquid soaps or bathing foam. It can also simply be used in a fragrance lamp or oil burner to spread the aroma throughout the house. Lilac is also perfect for decoration, in a vase or to prepare a summer-themed dinner table.