What could be more nostalgic than the scent of lilacs? On essential walks, city streets, hidden alleys or over the walls of neighbours’ gardens, you will notice this fragrant flower, lilac, that fills the air with its colour and scent. A lilac scent seems to embody the quintessential scent of childhood, bringing us happy memories.
Give yourself a moment to enjoy the appealing melancholy of this antique flower as it burst into full bloom this week.
Known as the "Queen of Shrubs," lilacs - Syringa vulgaris - are part of the olive family, and they are some of the hardiest and most fragrant flowering bushes that bloom in the springtime.
Lilacs come in seven colors: violet, blue, lilac, pink, red, purple and white. The purple lilacs have the strongest scent compared to other colors.
The lilac blooms early, but their beauty fades quickly.The scent vanishes almost as quickly as it appeared as spring turns into summer.
The Meaning and Symbolism of the Lilac
Lilacs were believed to symbolize the first emotions of love and romance in Victorian flower dictionaries. As one of spring’s earliest blooms, its fragrance is deeply evocative but hard to describe.
Lilacs also symbolize confidence, and there are many meanings that lilacs have by colour.
Lilac, that is a light purple, symbolizes a first love;
Violet lilacs symbolize spirituality;
White lilacs symbolize purity and innocence;
Blue lilacs symbolize happiness and tranquility;
Magenta lilacs symbolize love and passion.
Lilac in Literature
Lilacs have been a source of inspiration for artists throughout history. Impressionists Vincent Van Gogh and Claude Monet both have famous works depicting the beauty of lilacs in their paintings.
Proust recalled their oriental and opulent beauty and admired their heart-shaped leaves in his memories.
The lilac's scent is what makes a lilac a stand-out plant in the garden - its scent is stronger in full sun and is commonly used in perfumes and soaps.
Lilac essential oil have been known to treat skin disorders, combat bacterial and fungal infections, prevent stomach disorders and help in reducing fever. Also, lilacs can help fight depression and increase relaxation.
Discovering Lilac in Full Bloom
This morning, I was out for a walk with my dog in nature. There was a wonderful, fragrant breeze among the fresh scent of greenery. I was still trying to figure out where it was coming from!
In the end, I found a large bush of lilacs hidden in the abundance of greenery. I approached this beautiful shrub and gently took some flowers to enjoy its fragrance when I returned home. As long as we can do this responsibly, without hurting the plants, nature has nothing against sharing its beautiful flowers with us.
If enjoying them as cut flowers, cut the lilacs right at their peak, when color and scent are strongest and place them in a vase as soon as possible.
Cut flowers in the early morning before the sun becomes harsh. Crush the bottom of the stems and put the flowers in a vase of warm water.
The smell of moist earth and lilacs hung in the air like wisps of the past and hints of the future. - Margaret Millar (1947). “Experiment in Springtime: A Novel”, New York : Random House