Throw Back Tuesday – The Many Shades of Lilac 2/28/17

Personal Note:  Ahhh -Mackinac Lilacs!  Once you’ve been on the island for the Lilac Festival, you’ll always want to come back for the next one!______________________________________________________________________

First Published:  May 31, 2012

Until we moved to Mackinac Island for our summers five years ago, I never gave much thought to lilacs.  Before we bought on the Island, we’d come up for two weeks in July, thereby missing the lilacs blooming and the Lilac Festival by several weeks.  It was actually our second summer on the Island – when we arrived in May for the first time – that brought them to my attention, and ever since then the topic of “when will the lilacs bloom” has become almost as important as “when will the fall colors arrive”.

Being from the south, I didn’t know a lot about lilacs.  The closest thing we have to a lilac in Georgia is the crape myrtle – they’re even called “the lilac of the South”.  Our crape myrtles (we have two in the yard at the lake in Georgia) are white-blooming, but they come in pink and several shades of purple also – just like lilacs.  What crape myrtles do not have is that unbelievable perfume lilacs produce, and that perfume is hovering over Mackinac Island right now – a scent so sweet and heavy you could almost float on it .  The lilacs are in full bloom – not good for the Lilac Festival which doesn’t begin until June 8; but hey – no one has any control over when they bloom but the good Lord.  And who’s going to fuss about His timing?

Tonight I just want to share a few photos I’ve taken this week of the lilacs I see on a daily basis.  Most of these are in the downtown area, so you know there are hundreds more lilacs around the Island that aren’t even represented here.  It’s been fun for me this week to try and capture them in relation to something else – a home, a building, other trees, water, even a wedding carriage.

I sure wish I could attach a scratch-and-sniff add-on right here so you could inhale the perfume as you look at the photos.

Grey-white Percherons and the burgundy Grand Hotel omnibus, with lilacs blooming in the background. Does anything say “Mackinac Island” any better than this?

From the corner of Cadotte and Market, up to that first curve on the way to the Grand, the lilacs are putting on a major show!  These are some of the Island’s oldest lilacs.

The last and worst snow and ice storm of the winter took many of the over-a-hundred-year-old lilac bushes in Marquette Park. The ones that remain seem to be trying their best to make up in quality what they lost in quantity.  Maquette Park is a fantasy-land of lilacs.

I never tire of admiring all the different shades of purple these trees produce. From dark . . .

. . . to light . . .

. . . and everything in between.

Lavender Adirondack chairs enjoy the shade of a lilac bush so large I’d call it a tree – in the yard of what else . . . the Lilac House Bed & Breakfast!

A private tour buggy turns onto Market from Fort Street. The lilac bushes here are in front of the Market Street Inn and next to Weber’s Florist.

This wall of lilac bushes all but hides the Mackinac Island Public School, across Cadotte from Little Stone Church.

Lilacs form a canopy over the preparation of a wedding carriage.

Beautiful Trinity Church on Fort Street, perfectly framed by white lilacs on one side and lavender on the other.

Steven Blair couldn’t ask for a better setting for his Artistic Mackinac Gallery and Studio. Can’t imagine a shade of purple that’s not represented here.

The lovely McGreevy Cottage on Market Street.

I’m hoping some the lilacs you’ve seen here will last another week for the start of the Lilac Festival, and there are other later-blooming varieties that will fill in over the next couple of weeks.  But have no fear, Mackinac Island’s Lilac Festival is ten days of wonderful entertainment with everything from the arts, to good food, to the best parade in all of Michigan.  Come on up- I promise you will have a great time!


9 thoughts on “Throw Back Tuesday – The Many Shades of Lilac 2/28/17

  1. Brenda,

    LILACS!!! One of the two flowers that say “Michigan” to me more than any other flowers. In my book both are so beautiful and so fragrant, so thank you for re-posting this blog. I’m also glad you included the picture of the oldest lilac bush (tree?) on the Island (in front of the William Backhouse Astor house on Cadotte). I don’t remember how old it is, but I’m quite sure it’s over 150 years old.

    Would you believe the leaf buds are enlarging on our lilac bushes? I hope they don’t get frozen back. I know that happens to trees sometime and they put out new leaf buds, but I don’t know if lilacs do that.

    You’re right, Crape Myrtle bushes are beautiful, but they don’t have that wonderful fragrance. Nevertheless, I wish I could grow some in Michigan.

  2. While I was teaching high school in northern Virginia, I always loved the waves of blooms that rolled eastward from the hills each spring. Among my favorites were the crepe myrtles, because they reminded me so much of the lilacs on the Island. But you are right, Brenda. Nothing can compare with the scent that the lilacs bring with them as well!

  3. Brenda, the first time the Farmington educators singles group went to the island, the lilacs were in bloom. They were truly beautiful. In the yard as a child we had a large while and purple lilac bushes. In every house I always planted a lilac bush; my favorite was a Persian lilac so I always planted one including Albuquerque except the town house which had south western landscape.

    • Uncle Ken, I’m so glad you’ve found the blog. I love seeing your comments, and I’m constantly amazed at the “Mackinac connection” between our families.
      Hugs from Florida.

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