Lilacs for scent

In the olden days – I love that expression, ‘olden days’ –  they used to plant Lilacs around the old Long Drop. The outside toilet or the dunny – my favourite name. The lilacs were an olden day air freshener. Our gardens are heaving with the scents of lilac at this time off year but no outside dunny. .

Personally I think all toilets should be outside. I used to live in a lovely old house in New Zealand that had the toilet in its own room on the verandah outside, next to the Wash House (laundry).  Even though it was a chilly dash in the winters  and it was a flush toilet, it was so much better than having the smelly thing in the house. Almost all houses in New Zealand have the toilet in a separate room from the bathroom and the older houses often had a second toilet on the back porch that was accessed by an outside door for the smelly business ( or the farmer in boots) . Here the toilet is parked right next to the shower in the center of the house. Horrors.

But the lilacs are right outside the window and the scent floats by. I love Lilacs and the garden has many varieties. They surround the house and at this time of year when the windows are open the whole house is infused with the beady fragrance of Lilac.  They don’t all flower at once either so we will have Lilac perfumed air for a little while yet. 

We have been transplanting the young lilacs that spring up around the base of many of the bushes. I told Ellie (my head gardener) that my goal is to hide the house completely in trees and big shrubs. And I want hundreds of lilacs. I guess you class Lilacs as shrubs though they can get as big as trees.

The Tween flock – still happy in their garden house.

Tima enjoying the hay field.

Saturday today.  My volunteers have the weekend off so I march to my own drum on Saturdays and Sundays.  The wind is blowing out of the North East – no-ones favourite wind at this time of year. It is chilly and runs straight through the piglet barn doors – they have to stand open so Molly and the piglets can go outside to the toilet in their own lilac scented garden. The piglets have a warm bed though. I have swapped out the middle sized piglet house for the big black one (the upside down water trough with the doorway cut in it) so they are able to get right down the back where it is totally sheltered and warm.

Their creep is enlarged now too so they have more space for their food and water and their playful growing bodies.

Though cooler it is good planting weather – no heat stress for the plants or the planters. But  I look forward to some warm days – I do.

I hope you have a lovely day.


Weather Forecast

Saturday 04/22 10% / 0 inSun and clouds mixed. High 59F. Winds NE at 15 to 25 mph.

Saturday Night 04/22 0% / 0 inSome passing clouds. Low 36F. Winds NNE at 10 to 15 mph

59 Comments on “Lilacs for scent

  1. Oh yes, the small of lilacs infusing the air is lovely! Ours have pretty much come and gone now. I must look into different varieties so as to have the lovely fragrance around longer!

  2. Good Morning to you and good night for me after working 12 hours straight! [Pat on back!!]. Love, love, love lilacs – mine are the same colour as yours but have a white border: have forgotten the name. Plant lots!!! Laughing about the dunny: of course that is what one calls it: like mine as is inside, but, heavens above, not in the bathroom 🙂 ! Oh, and Tima looks wonderful . . . great pics . . . and am glad you have a few days on your own . . . ni-ni and thank you for the flowers!!

  3. I’m going to ask my neighbor for a few of the young shoots under her glorious lilac bush by her front sidewalk! Thank you for that good idea! (I am very happy for indoor plumbing, but agree separate rooms for the toilets would be much nicer.)

  4. Love love love this post! Love the connection between scent and memory. I’ve recently started using a rose water based face moisturizer that ai buy at the grocery store (horrors) because it reminds me of my grandmothers. That connection through the smell of flowers makes it all priceless. I want to see this house that rises off the prairie like a giant lilac float. Tima moves through the green like an ice breaker.

    • Often the lounge is as pleasing to visit as Celia’s posts are to view. Great word-pictures there at the end. And you are right in extending the thought about scent and memory. 🕭

  5. I, too, love lilacs, though mine looks a bit off this year. Part of it seems to be budding later than the rest. I hope that’s it. I’ll wait a few weeks to see if a good pruning is needed. My Dad’s parents were the first of the farms in that area to bring the toilet indoors. My Zia Pina said that their neighbors thought they were crazy for doing it. You can guess the rest of the story. 🙂

  6. I love lilacs! Mine next to the front door got broken in freezing rain this winter. It was old and partly hollow, probably why it broke.

  7. I agree. I much prefer the toilet in its own enclosure. And lilacs! We don’t have any at our house, but I would love some. I have rosa rugosas right outside the living room windows, and when they are blooming it is heavenly!

  8. Oh lilacs! I love them, the real ones and not the canned chemical false scent 🙁 If I ever have a house of my own again I want to plant a lilac so that the lovely scent can drift in through the window.

  9. Hello Ceci,

    Does Molly and her piglets actually go outside to do their business? My donkeys just go anywhere as they have their own personal maid (that’s me) to clean up. Sometimes outside when I have raked up a pile they surprise me and use that pile.

    For anyone wanting to grow lilacs I have had good success just using a branch from the tree as long as the soil is kept moist it will grow. I do live in Ontario Canada and we have perfect weather for lilacs. I have done the same with pussy willows.

    Have a nice day.


  10. Oh, lilacs… some years ago when I lived in a more rural small town, a friend and I used to get in our car during the lilac bloom and go for an afternoon’s drive around the countryside filling the back seat of our car with tons of lilac blossoms. Upon returning home we would fill every room in our homes with vases jammed with lilacs and the entire house would fill with that glorious scent. It was a marvelous bonus for putting up with what seemed the never-ending winters. These days we have just one lilac bush in the back garden and it, too, has that strong scent when it’s in bloom. Seems we are a week or two behind you, so at this point am still looking forward to that time here… but with a good promise of it as now the forsythia is putting on its full and glorious golden show.
    Tima looks like a happy camper out in her field of hay. Hope you have a lovely day too, on your own. ~ Mame 🙂

  11. When we moved to our current house we brought lilac seedings with us and now have a beautiful lilac hedge. We are a few weeks behind you so look forward to the bloom and fragrance. Just now there are many hyacinths to enjoy.
    Tima is being a flower in her own garden.

  12. I like the idea of a toilet in it’s own closet outside with a sink to wash the hands before opening the door of course. I have never understood the toilet in a room with no wash basin. Separate from the shower is good too. My lilacs are just starting to bloom. I planted 3, one each for my mom and dad and one for my children’s father. Kind of a memory garden. I like the idea of surrounding the house with them. We had one beautiful sunny day, now it’s cold and wet again. Have a wonderfilled weekend.

  13. I love lilacs also, but mine froze again this year. This is the fifth year of them freezing. Sure is sad.

  14. Pingback: “Lilacs for scent” By thekitchensgarden – Gardenlovepoet

  15. We have a couple of lilacs in flower right now. They are young, so not very big yet. The perfume from our wisteria is taking over Casa Debbio at the moment and soon the lavender will start to get flowers…lovely spring.

  16. I so miss smelling and seeing the lilacs that I grew up with! Mom says those same lilac bushes are blooming nicely right now, and she has always said she can tell where outhouses have stood on their property by where the lilacs are. I wish I could grow them in Houston! Thank you for this beautiful post.

  17. I love lilacs, and I must get some to plant in my beds by the house. Tima looks happy 😊

  18. Lilacs were my dear Mom’s absolute favourite and they are mine too! Sadly, we had to sacrifice a huge lilac tree when we added the kitchen addition, but I saved a couple of sprouts and replanted them, and now they are more than 3 metres tall! The one by the deck never flowered until I trimmed it back and this year will be the best year, at least two blooms on each twig, I can’t wait to cut a few and bring them into the house!
    Tima looks so happy! I am so excited to meet your gang!

  19. We have (sadly), a toilet in the bathroom, and then another one in the laundry for, as you put it, the smelly business. The laundry and garage and store-room are separated from the rest of the house, so it does the job, but sadly we are not beautifully perfumed by lilacs, which don’t grow well here because we don’t get cold enough. Lilac is one of those fragrances (like gardenia and freesia) which just cannot be accurately replicated as an artificial aroma. Sad, because they smell so wonderful…

  20. Tima looks as cute as a bug in a rug! My enormous maple tree precludes having anything else, sad to say. So I take walks down alleys and steal sniffs of lilacs wherever I find them.

  21. “When lilacs last in the dooryard bloomed.” I miss the lilacs but will have them again I hope. I found there are some lovely small ones, Dwarf Korean lilacs which seem to be a bit more heat tolerant and bloom a bit later, they smell the same though. I’ve been thinking about buying one and having it in a big pot until we’re back in permanent quarters. Those piglets look so satiny and silky. We had a neighbor who used to have a tall hedge along their fence, when they sold the house the new people chopped the lilacs down (they said they were “dirty”) and planted ginkos. Ginkos are beautiful trees but the female ones drop these nasty seeds/nuts the outside of which smell like dog pooh and are very dirty. So now those people have to spend a good bit of time and effort to get rid of those noxious smelling seeds/nuts when they could’ve left the lilacs which weren’t dirty at all. There is a park in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, Lilaciae Park where there are lots of different kinds and colors of lilacs, they have a festival every year which I haven’t been to but would like to at least once. We used to carry a lilac essential oil that was not synthetic and smelled exactly like lilacs blooming. I will have to see about getting some.

  22. Lilac is my absolute favorite – if i could grow them indoors I would!

  23. I love Lilacs. They always showed up the end of May into June in Winnipeg. I would bring them into my mother and to school for my teacher. Burying my face into the soft blossoms. Nice memory.

  24. and I could never understand this modern trend of having an en suite……..who wants a toilet right next to where they sleep…ugh! I have a muddy boots toilet under the house and a separate room one as far from the rest of the house as it can get, ideal. but I do remember the dunny up the backyard, and my brother telling me if I went quickly, I’d beat the ‘night man’………he tricked me every time, because as soon as I sat, I’d hear the little door at the back open….horrors! Too hot for lilacs here, but I’d love some, yours look beautiful.

  25. Lilac is one of my favourite smells. And hyacinths. I grew one from seed, and it is at least 8 years old now but in a pot. So never a flower yet. Time to get help and get her into the ground, I think?

    If you ever plant a tree for me, I’d like it to be a lilac.

  26. Lilacs don’t grow here in the South. I miss the lilacs we had in our garden in Indiana. And the toilet thing – I lived in Australia where the toilet was separate from the bathroom. It took some getting used to, but its a good idea.

  27. Tima is beautiful, Ceci! Here in California, a real treat is to drive by an orchard when the orange blossoms are blooming. So romantic! Used to have a drive-in theater un the middle of the orchards – what a heady perfume for movie watching!

  28. Tima is fabulous
    I have never heard the word dunny – is it your own?
    The outside loo in Phoenix means going out in 40C plus weather with scorpions and such. Count me out.

  29. What you need is a dry toilet, then it can be moved around with the seasons 🙂 You can make good compost too!
    I’m longing for our lilac to come out, its a very slow start this year, its snowing as I look out of the window typing this! I hope the forecast is right ans we have 20c in a weeks time, I need to warm my bones.

  30. I wonder if your Lilac is related to our indigenous Plecanthrus (sp?) – a shade loving plant , looks similar but sadly frost tender so no hope here until October at least. Love Tima in the hay feld 🙂 Laura

  31. Sadly, no lilacs yet, or asparagus either (but it won’t be long now, as the forsythia are just beginning to show colour: )
    After last summer’s droughty weather, we ought to have an amazing show of blossom on them this year and I can barely wait!: ))

  32. Just tiny green buds on my lilac’s but I do so love them.. I bought hedging lilac’s years ago, they were to grow rapid and spread widely but so far they are slow little things.. I think your post has made me decide to go out and work the area around them and give them a good compost feed and see if we can get them moving long a touch faster.

    The very first bushes I planted on the farm the first springe we were here was four different kind of lilac’s and they are big now and I love their scent in the spring, and their flowers for drying and for jellies.. I will have to check my aspararagus plot again today 🙂

  33. Your words are fitting your pictures more these days.
    I’ll have to make note, should I ever the chance to visit, not to come during the lilac bloom. The scent has always given me an awful headache. I do hope your bees have found the bushes!

  34. I love Lilacs. I just planted my first lilac bush last summer, so I think it will be a while before I get to enjoy the scent blowing through my bedroom window. I plan to plant some more next year, but this year I had to focus on completing my orchard of 17 fruit trees. Never a dull day on the farm, right?

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