Friday 12 April 2024

Lilac Mood Board by Lynda Waterhouse

The lilac blooms in a patch of polluted ground. The land had been used as a battery dump during the Second World War so flagstones were laid. My neighbour first planted the lilac in a raised bed but it did not thrive so she lifted up one of the flagstones replanted it in the ground. It thrives there.

The magpies have been squabbling over the small twigs they have tugged from the lower branches to weave into their nests.

Mixing memory and desire,

Stirring dull roots with spring rain.

(T.S Eliot, The Wasteland)

The Great God Pan made his first pipe from lilac wood and whoever hears his music is changed forever.  A note of spring.

At night the heady perfume sweetens my dreams.

Even before love knows that

It is love

Lilac knows that it will blossom

(Helen Dunmore, City Lilac)

The bloom will only last three short weeks at most.

 So make the most of their display. Beware of bringing lilacs indoors lest you lure the faeries into your home. That powdery sweet smell also has the power to transport humans to fairyland. Or does their cloying smell cover up a sickness in the house? Does it evoke a Victorian deathbed? Could these warnings be merely tales told by gardeners to save the lilac?

There are perfumes containing a lilac fragrance ; Idylle by Guerlain, En Passant by Frederic Malle, White Linen by Estee Lauder and Fleurs d’Interdit by Givenchy.

Now, as the flowers are on the wane, and are stained with brown, a gang of birds have moved into the garden: a sparrow family, a straggly robin, two blackbirds, a tiny wren and a mob of blue tits. We all try and ignore the upstart parakeets.

O were my love yon lilack fair,

Wi’ purple blossoms to the spring,

And I, a bird to shelter there,

When wearied on my little wing

(Robert Burns, O were my love yon lilack fair)



Pippa Goodhart said...

Writing in Grantchester, which Rupert Brooke wrote a sentimental poem about, and where I noticed lilac blossoming in his old home of The Orchard this morning, I think of his line, 'Just now the lilac is in bloom, all before my little room,' etc. I love it!

Sue Purkiss said...

Lovely! My white lilac hasn't started flowering yet.