Season 2 • Episode 8 - April 23, 2023

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We have had a wet and cold spring. Along with all this cold weather, the local gardener yearns to experience some of the early signs of the changing of the seasons. Tulips and daffodils are a great start, but for many people the smells of spring trigger the best memories. If you are looking for a burst of fragrance, a short trip up I-5 to Woodland, Washington to check out the lilacs at the Hulda Klager Lilac Days is in order. This year the blooms were just coming on. The cold weather has held the plants back, but now they are starting to pop! Last year they were blooming a month ahead of their normal schedule, but now they are ready for the Lilac Days festival.

Due to the cold weather this spring, the blooms are just starting to pop and the fragrance will be better than ever! Plus, they will be hitting their peak in the next few weeks. Ruth from the Hulda Klager Lilac Society met us to fill us in on what the lilac plant needs to survive in our climate. Her tips for success in growing these beauties: Alkaline soil, good drainage (they hate wet and standing water) and lots of sun! You can control the height of the larger varieties by cutting them back right after they bloom, or better yet, cut them as they bloom and bring them indoors to enjoy. They have a heavy bloom so they can tend to flop over, but pack them tightly in a vase to help them stay upright. They have a woody stem, so you can help them last longer by lightly pounding the stems at the cut to let the vascular system take up more water. There are lots of newer varieties so you can find one that will work in any garden. Ruth even told us that some of the newer varieties are smaller, allowing them to be used in containers. Some of the newest varieties can even re-bloom later in the season.

Now until Mother’s Day weekend you can stop by and see acres of these cool varieties during the Hulda Klager Lilac Days. It is a great time to see some of the different varieties and what they might look like in your yard. This spring has also tested the lilacs for you! You can check out the varieties that are performing the best in this challenging weather.

We met with Mari to talk about the Lilac Days and to learn a little bit more about Hulda. Hulda hybridized many lilacs and became known as the ‘Lilac Lady’ in the Woodland area. She opened her garden to the public for an open house in the spring during the 1920s and kept that tradition going for many years. She passed away in 1960. The Hulda Klager Lilac Society now runs the garden and opens it every year for this festival. The festival is open daily from 10am to 4pm. They charge a $5 fee during the festival and children under 12 are free. That fee, and the proceeds from the gift shop and lilac plant sales, keeps this garden going all year long. The Society has spent a lot of money in the past few years to improve the gardens and grounds. The improvements include restoration to the historic home, the water tower and the addition of signage. New seating areas and even an expanded and improved parking lot. New this year is the museum in the old barn. You can check out the historical displays and even buy a raffle ticket to enter to win a wonderful handmade quilt. They are also offering tours of Hulda’s house, so check out their website for operating hours. Certain restrictions for pets can be found on their website, as well.

Remember the 2023 Lilac Days will run through Mother's Day. Take the time and visit when you get a chance. It is truly spectacular!

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