Heirloom Lilacs

For fragrance, heirloom lilacs have no peer.

By Ilene Sternberg

Photography by Christa Neu

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heirloom lilacsA Few Heirloom Lilacs of Exceptional Beauty and Fragrance
All are cultivars of the common lilac, Syringa vulgaris, and except for the late-season ‘Andenken Ludwig Spaeth’, they bloom in midseason. The name of the breeder and date developed follow the cultivar name in parentheses.

White

  • ‘Edith Cavell’ (Lemoine, 1916), ultimate height 12 feet, double white
  • ‘Miss Ellen Willmott’ (Lemoine, 1903), 10 feet, double white
  • ‘Mme. Lemoine’ (Lemoine, 1890), 6–10 feet, double white
     

Pink

  • ‘Belle de Nancy’ (Lemoine, 1891), 10–20 feet, double pink
  • ‘Edward J. Gardner’ (Gardner, before 1950), 8–10 feet, double pink
  • ‘Virginité’ (Lemoine, 1888), 10–20 feet, double pink


Lavender

  • ‘Katherine Havemeyer’ (Lemoine, 1924), 10 feet, double pink/lavender   
  • ‘Victor Lemoine’ (Lemoine, 1906), 10 feet, double lavender
  • ‘William Robinson’ (Lemoine, 1899), 10 feet, double lavender


Purple

  • ‘Adelaide Dunbar’ (Lemoine, 1916), 12 feet, double dark purple
  • ‘Andenken Ludwig Spaeth’ (E. H. Wilson, 1883), 10–12 feet, single deep purple
  • ‘Charles Joly’ (Lemoine, 1896), 8–10 feet, double deep purple


Blue

  • ‘Olivier de Serres’ (Lemoine, 1909), 6–10 feet, double violet blue
  • ‘President Grevy’ (Lemoine, 1886), 10–20 feet, double blue
  • ‘President Lincoln’ (Dunbar, 1916), 10 feet, single blue
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