Gardening Magazine

Do You Bring Lilacs into the House?

By Ronniejt28 @hurtledto60

Whilst writing this, the Ivor Novello song “We’ll Gather Lilacs in the Spring”  is going around my head, so I found this YouTube clip to share with you as you read this post.  It’s all about ambience and sets the scene!

I am sure, like me, there are many memories, happy and sad, from childhood that remain with you forever.   One sad moment was when I was about 10.  I picked some beautiful lilacs and brought them home for my mother.  To my bitter disappointment, instead of thanking me she was horrified and told them to take the out of the house immediately.  She eventually explained that lilacs were unlucky to have in the house.   To this day I have never brought them into my home.

I have two lilac trees, one in the back garden and one in the front.   The year before last they were magnificent and when the sun shone the fragrance of the one in the front wafted in the air, and you could smell the lilac halfway down the street.   Last year was disappointing, mainly because I know now that I pruned it at the wrong time, so I was a little more careful when pruning in 2013 and this has paid dividends.

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My friend and neighbour remarked on the lilac this morning and said that her mother brings armfuls into the house with the fragrance permeating throughout the home.   I told her I have never brought them into the house and explained why.   Then, I realised how silly I might be and Googled “unlucky lilac”.   Apparently, it is a very old folklore which considers that bringing lilac indoors was sure to bring about a family disaster.   Because of the powerful aroma, years ago  it was used to line coffins and mask the smell of death in a home.   On a lighter side, I also found something that said Victorian gardeners spread this superstition to stop people from stealing the blooms.

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It is great fun looking up information on the web and all sorts of interesting things pop up.   There are some  lovely paintings of girls clutching bunches of lilac and I particularly liked this one, with pale blue lilacs.

The Time of Lilacs by Sophie Anderson (1823-1903)

The Time of Lilacs by Sophie Anderson (1823-1903)

I also read it is white lilac that is really taboo, and the old superstition is only known in parts of the country.   So with that knowledge I bit the bullet, picked some blooms and with a deep breath and my fingers crossed, I brought them inside and the lounge smells marvellous.

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UPDATE: I woke in the night and after 50 years of believing lilac in the home was unlucky I couldn’t get beyond that. So got up and placed the lilacs outside!!

© Hurtlingtowards60 and Hurtled to 60 and Now Beyond ©AarTeePhotography Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited

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