‘Sunday Thoughts’ ~ Smelling the Lilacs

“Set wide the window. Let me drink the day.” ~ Edith Wharton

Good Sunday morning, dear friends.  I hope this finds you well and enjoying the beauty and fragrance of spring.  As for me, I am now enjoying the beauty and fragrance of lilacs,  and I am about to welcome the Carolina Jessamine. Does it get any better? I don’t think so.

Carolina Jessamine (about to open), white lilac, and Loving Cherubs  

I do love and enjoy lilacs and never take them for granted.  They are quite common here in North Central West Virginia and many may wonder why I am so captivated by them.  When we lived in the south, it was too hot for them and I missed them terribly ~ for thirty-two years.  There were a very few scattered about, that seemed to be in the exact right spot, with the exact right soil and light.  But they are not, in any way, hardy in the south.  Recently, a couple of varieties have been cultivated just for the southern states, although, I’ve been told they lack the intense fragrance.

“I opened the large central window of my office room to its full on the fine early May morning. Then I stood for a few moments, breathing in the soft, warm air that was charged with the scent of white lilacs below.” ~ Angus Wilson

Madame Lemoine, lilac

Our white lilac, Madame Lemoine, was the first to bloom this year.  Madame Lemoine was named in honor of the wife of  Victor Lemoine.  Who cultivated many French hybrids.  Usually, this lilac blooms in conjunction with our very dark wine-colored lilac, Ludwig Spaeth.  However, this year ‘Madame’ decided she would be first on the scene.

In the dooryard fronting an old farm-house near the white-wash’d palings, Stands the lilac-bush tall-growing with heart~shaped leaves of rich green, with many a pointed blossom rising delicate, with the perfume strong I love, With every leaf a miracle ~ and from this bush in the dooryard, With delicate-color’d blossoms and heart-shaped leaves of rich green, A sprig with its flower I break. ~ Walt Whitman

In the language of flowers, the colors of lilacs represent different meanings.

White ~ represents purity and innocence.

Violet ~ all shades represent spirituality, darker purple represents that the wearer is concerned or knows of spiritual mysteries.

Blue ~ represents happiness and tranquility.

Lilac ~ represents one’s first love or the first time one feels love for someone.

Pink ~ represents love and strong friendships.

Magenta~ represents passion, love and the thrill of being alive.

“The smell of lilacs crept poignantly into the room like a remembered spring.” ~ Margaret Millar

“A faint smell of lilac filled the air.  There was always lilac in this part of town.  Where there were grandmothers, there was always lilac.”  ~ Laura Miller

” Flowers have a way of creating strong and lasting memories. Flowers may fade, but the memories and the emotions felt never will.” ~ unknown

This lilac, just beginning to open, holds special meaning to Mike and me.  I do not begin to know its name, although it is similar to a variety named Blue Skies.  This lilac came from Mike’s family farm in Western Pennsylvania, a special place where we both spent many happy times with his family.  I raised it from a tiny sprig. The farm was sold many years ago.  Upon returning to the area some time ago, the lilac (once enormous) is now gone and there is no sign a human ever worked the land or lived on the farm. The lilac serves as a beautiful memory for both of us.  It is now about four feet tall and this is the first year it has shown her lovely blooms, we are so excited.  While there are not many blooms, we treasure each and every one.

“But remembering those moments, I stand still in ecstasy, inhaling through the noise of falling rain, the smell of invisible, enduring lilacs.” ~ Marcel Proust

Dear friends, I hope you have enjoyed smelling the lilacs.  When the lilacs are in bloom, Edith Wharton was certainly correct when she said, “Set wide the window.  Let me drink the day.”  When I was growing up and my mom had a vase  of something lovely and fragrant, she would hold it to my nose and say, “Take a drink.”  Wharton’s quote brought back a sweet memory.

Know, I thank you for your visit and wish you and yours a day of beauty,  filled with the marvelous fragrances of spring. 

Have a wonderful week ahead.

And. . .

Be well!

“Flowers have spoken to me more than I can tell in written words. They are the hieroglyphics of angels, loved by all men for the beauty of their character, though few can decipher even fragments of their meaning” ~Lydia M. Child





Note:  There are many lilac festivals held throughout our country each year.  However, I have been told two of the best are, The Rochester, New York Festival, May 21 through 23, 2021, and The Mackinac Island, Michigan Lilac Festival, June 4 through 13, 2021.  If your travels take you to either of these parts of the country, it would most likely be worth your time to stop and smell the lilacs.

Images:  Michael Lambiotte and Tumblr






























































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5 months ago

Lilac season is always eagerly anticipated and lasts such a short time. Your lilacs are beautiful, Sandra, and I can just imagine the lovely scent wafting through the house. We have two lilac bushes and they are just barely beginning to open their buds. They came from my parents’ house before they moved and have grown so well in the past 19 years. I love the thought of your mother holding a bouquet to your nose as if to drink. So very sweet.

Rita C at Panoply
5 months ago

Gorgeous, gorgeous photos of all the lilacs! Congratulations on nurturing and celebrating the blooms of your PA farm lilac. I know what joy that must bring you both. The lilac will always remind me of my mother, who was originally from Rochester. Purple was her favorite color and it was my choice for the garden. I love reading that it represents spirituality.
Thank you for your inspiring post today, Sandra. May you have a wonderful week ahead.

Pam Richardson
5 months ago

Sandra, the images and quotes are so beautiful. But, I most enjoyed seeing your garden and the gorgeous lilacs on your dining table. I can just imagine their fragrance. I so wish we could grow them. Wishing you and Michael a joy-filled Sunday!

Penny Carlson
Penny Carlson
5 months ago

Lilacs have always been a favorite flower of mine. We use to have them around our home growing up in Michigan. It is one thing I will miss here in Florida. We do have a beautiful smelling gardenia tree in bloom at our building that smells heavenly.

Shannon@Belle Bleu Interiors
Shannon@Belle Bleu Interiors
5 months ago

Good morning, Sandra! The opening photograph with the lilacs in the window is gorgeous! All of your bouquets are beautiful, and I imagine the fragrance must be heavenly. I planted a lilac last year. It is very small, but this year it has one bloom. I’ve read that it takes a while for them to grow and produce blooms. I’m just thankful that is has survived the crazy weather over the past year. Wishing you a most blessed week ahead, sweet friend!

Brenda @ It\'s A Beautiful Life

Your lilacs are exquisite… loved seeing the bouquets on the dining room table. Oh my! There must be such a lovely scent wafting through your house. Our lilacs are just starting to warm with a barest hint of green in the trunk and branches – we’re still a long way from flowers though. So I drink in your wonderful bouquets and marvel at those colours. I love the little memories you have of your mom inviting you as a child to share the beauty around her.

Wishing you a beautiful day, Sandra.
Brenda xo

Sandra W Magle
5 months ago

How delicious to open up your windows and have such glorious scents waft through your home. We are behind here in Chicagoland, so it will be a few more weeks!

5 months ago

I do envy you your lilacs, Sandra! But they could not happen to a nicer woman. We never had lilacs here in TN, for the reasons you mentioned, until this house where a bush that had been pruned so brutally that we didn’t know what it was until in bloomed 3 years later. This year’s was lush but along came two nights of frost that burned them.

It’s lovely that you have such beautiful ones and the one from your husband’s family home must be extra special. Your quotes were lovely, Sandra, and very fitting!

bonnie morgan
5 months ago

Sandra, I love your arrangements. And I know your house is filled with their lovely scent. I am so glad your lilac from Mike’s family farm bloomed this year! So special and meaningful and I am glad you shared your joy with us. I love lilacs and would love to have them but as you know it is too warm here. I think I’ve shared before that I lived in Alaska on Fort Wainwright some years ago. We lived on post and the Criminal Investigation Building behind our quarters had lilac bushes. I cut some for a luncheon I was… Read more »

5 months ago

Well, first of all — gorgeous photos, inside and out. I love lilacs and am lucky enough to have a neighbor who says “Cut anything you want!” (I only do from the side of the tree facing my property!) I’m curious about starting a bush from a sprig. I don’t see white ones often — they’re especially lovely. And I have fond memories of my grandmother’s ENORMOUS lilac bushes. The area is now a park and the bushes long gone, but I remember coming home from her farm with loads of lilacs! I’ve never seen the Carolina jessamine either —… Read more »