Monday, October 10, 2011

Whence Thou Comest?

This gardening year, full of heat and drought, has been confounding enough for Flint Hills gardeners, but while I've been whining about the weeds, and the wilting plants, and the extra watering, I've neglected to consider how totally out-of-sorts the unusual summer may have made my plants feel. 

Evidently the now cooler temperatures, and the little bits of water draining off of the garage pad as we've washed cars, have confused my 'Sensation' lilac bush into thinking that it is Spring here in the midst of Fall.  Yesterday, I noted four open blooms on the bush.  They are not near the size of the large full blooms it normally has, but they are respectable plumes nonetheless, and the delicious scent certainly isn't diminished by the smaller size.  This is a plain old Syringa vulgaris cultivar, so I don't have any idea why it thinks it should be blooming, and the neighboring lilacs aren't confused at all.  But blooming it is, surprising me again this year in addition to the white sport it developed this past Easter .

I am surely not going to grumble over this gift, this glorious olfactory present, but I wonder at  the providence.  Has the weather really made a mess of the internal rhythms of plants, or is something else the cause? Could my 'Sensation' merely be jealous that there are several re-blooming irises planted nearby who are getting all the attention right now?  What does this mean for other plants, the apples, the peaches, the fruits of next summer?  Will this specimen of 'Sensation' bloom normally in next Spring or have this year's buds already been wasted?  The mysteries of gardening go on and on.  As does the sweet scent of 'Sensation'.


  1. Love this post! And love those moments when plants become a big ol mystery. Enjoy that scent.

  2. It's the end of the world. no, of the summer. maybe you've created a new reblooming lilac. ha.

  3. I saw a Bradford Pear blooming today. I think some plants went into early dormancy in response to the heat, and now that it is cooler and maybe a little wetter in some spots, the plants do think it is spring. It will certainly be interesting next spring to see what these plants do. We just think we are in control of our gardens. And we just think we know it all. There is much to learn.

  4. I've heard of Bradford Pears blooming in the fall. Your theory about dormancy is as good as any.

    Greggo, one can only hope. Imagine the market for a 'Sensation' that rebloomed...consistently!


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