Skylands’ Lilacs, New Jersey Botanical Garden
The New Jersey State Botanical Garden, located on the central 96 acres of this 1,100-acre former country estate of Clarence McKenzie Lewis, is a distinctive botanic and architectural destination in its own right. Purchased in 1966 as New Jersey’s first “Green Acres” acquisition, NJBG features elegantly landscaped grounds containing many of the original garden designs, historic buildings, extensive statuary and vast collection of plant species from around the world.
June 11 (Saturday), 10 am
Lilac Care. [GS] Come work in the Lilac Garden and get a hands-on lesson in lilac pruning, thinning, dead-heading, and general lilac care from Dan Ryniec, Lilac Curator at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Rain date: June 25. FREE.
On the East Lawn, immediately adjoining the terraces, is Skylands’ extensive lilac collection, It contains over one hundred varieties.
This garden is at its best near the middle of May, although some species will continue their bloom into June. The lilac’s genus name, Syringa, is derived from the Greek word syrinx for “pipe,” a reference to the hollow shoots. Lilacs belong to the olive family (Oleaceae) and therefore are related to white ash and privet. They are native to Europe and temperate Asia, where they grow as large shrubs or small trees.
Presumably, some lilacs predate Lewis at Skylands. Lilacs have been popular shrubs since Colonial times because of their ease of culture and their fragrant spring flowers. One of the first varieties to be recorded in Mr. Lewis’ plant accession books is Syringa x persica, which he procured in 1923. In 1928, the Japanese tree lilac (Syringa reticulata), and the Chinese lilac (Syringa x chinensis) were purchased along with the French hybrids “Edouard Andre´” and “Mme. Abel Chatenay.”