Lilac has always been one of my favourite flowers. It smells strong and beautiful, and where I grew up it was fairly rare to find it in folk’s gardens. Calgary, on the other hand, is drowning in lilac. It’s everywhere – no exaggeration here – it’s in every second garden on my street alone. And it’s in bloom. My entire neighbourhood is filled with the perfume of lilac. I love it!
With such a plentiful supply, I thought I would take a boo around google and see what sort of use I can put it to.*
It turns out that we have a lilac festival here in Calgary. Of course, we missed it. But we were celebrating the birth of a very special little girl that week, so I don’t mind so much.
Lilac flowers are edible. You can add them to salads and rice dishes or you can candy them and just eat them as a treat – I can remember doing that with apple blossoms when I was a kid. I’ve never really gotten used to eating flowers, though. They have a strange texture.
Lilac wine might be worth a try. I have a friend who makes dandelion wine regularly. We’re not set up for it this year, but if anyone out there in the intarwebz has tried this, I would love to hear about your results.
Being as fragrant as they are, lilacs are a must for anyone who makes cosmetics or soaps. I may get a cold infusion going in the next couple of weeks and see about making some beautiful hand cream.
Most information on the internet seems to agree that historically lilac was used as a protection amulet to keep evil and negativity away. It was also said to clear haunted houses. This could be because it is nearly word for word what Cunningham states in the Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs.
Magically, the flowers can be used in spells of peace, harmony, finding love, boosting creativity, protection, increasing clairvoyance, enhanced divination and the like.
The wood appears to be prized for carving intricately woven interlace patterns and crafting wands for use in the magics listed above. While lilac is technically a bush, it can be cultivated to a tree-like shape. Some of the lilacs around here have trunks bigger around than my arm.
I don’t have any lilacs in my yard, but my next door neighbour has two big bushes, so I think that I am going to be set for all of my lilac-y needs this season. How serendipitous that my return to artistic pursuits comes just as these sweet little muse-blossoms burst into the world.
In Southern Alberta, the saying is, “Be ready to cut hay 40 days after the lilacs flower.”
*Lilac has medicinal uses, but I’m loathe to offer medical advice over the internet, so I’ll leave the research on that side to you, dear reader.