Waiting to Inhale

Perfectly-timed to fill in when the traditional lilac just begins to fade, the Korean Lilac offers an even more potent fragrance to ride on the spring wind. The flowers are, individually, a fraction of the size of the common lilac, but massed in clouds of blooms, as is their habit, their perfume can spread throughout their surroundings. That’s a damn fine trait for a scent this sweet.

They can grow into decent-sized shrubs, and the two in our backyard will need to be cut back as soon as they finish their show. (As a general rule, the best time to prune any flowering shrub is immediately after it finishes flowering. Most of us forget that next year’s blooms are based on the growth that’s happening now. Pruning things later in the season runs the risk of pruning out those buds.)

This plant also has neat and tidy foliage, the kind that seems to defy the mildew that plagues many other lilacs. That’s a boon for the hot and humid summers of the Northeast.

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