Keeping the garden tidy requires a few deft moves with the right tools, and, time and again over the seasons, shrub rakes are... Read more »
Entire books have been written on the science of making compost, but it isn’t as hard as people think. In five easy steps, you... Read more »
Weeding, pruning, and raking all make a huge difference in the appearance of a garden, but, to finish the job, you have to rou... Read more »
The Fiskars® aluminum shrub rake features a slim head with uniquely tapered tines that are perfect for reaching into tight spac... Read more »
Our Eco Bin Composter features an easy-to-assemble, easy-to-use design that can simplify and speed the composting process. It i... Read more »
Our HardShell® Kangaroo® Gardening Container is perfect for all your outdoor cleanup needs — whether you’re gathering yard and... Read more »
Are school fundraiser ideas keeping you up at night? A unique handmade art piece that represents your school is sure to be a p... Read more »
Creating beautiful and personal touches does not have to be difficult, especially when you have great designs to work with! Read more »
Recycle and give a new life to some of your old T-shirts Read more »
Teresa Collins is a top craft celebrity who has been featured numerous times on My Craft Channel, HSN, QVC and DIY network, wel... Read more »
Our unique Tag Maker with Built-in Eyelet Setter features an innovative design that makes it easy to create tags perfect for gi... Read more »
By creating a few simple tags, you won’t be caught at the fabric store not knowing what fabrics or yardage you have in your st... Read more »
A brocade drawstring pouch can be a beautiful and luxurious accessory or gift. Read more »
Transform a simple hoodie into a super simple unicorn costume and take the stress and pressure out of making a complicated Hal... Read more »
Perfect for a wide range of sewing and quilting tasks, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Serrated Fabric Shears sense blade separation an... Read more »
Perfect for a wide range of sewing and quilting tasks, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabric Shears sense blade separation and force t... Read more »
Perfect for a wide range of crafting and mixed media tasks, our Amplify® Mixed Media Shears sense blade separation and force th... Read more »
Try some new punches out and make some cards to celebrate World Card Making Day! Read more »
A personalized Duck Tape® crown is quick and easy to make with your Fiskars® Duck® Edition Scissors. It is a fun way to cele... Read more »
Our Preschool Training Scissors features a special training lever that opens the blades after each cut, helping children learn... Read more »
Children love our Designer Non-stick Blunt-tip Kids Scissors for the colorful handle patterns that make cutting fun and the non... Read more »
Our Designer Non-stick Student Scissors are larger than our Kids Scissors but smaller than adult scissors, perfect for those ol... Read more »
Transform a basic jacket into something personal and unique. Read more »
Create a simple reusable calendar to plan all of your back to school activities. Read more »
Creating a miniature collage with your Fiskars® Duck® Edition Scissors is a great way to use up any last bits of Duck Tape® yo... Read more »
Designed for long, easy cuts down strips of Duck® Tape, our Duck® Edition Scissors feature a non-stick blade coating that preve... Read more »
Designed for all-purpose cutting through a range of craft materials that incorporate glue, tape and other sticky adhesives, our... Read more »
Designed for tight, precise cuts through a range of craft materials that incorporate glue, tape and other sticky adhesives, our... Read more »
And each time I pass a lilac in bloom, I inhale deeply in hopes of recreating those childhood memories. The problem is that I live along the coast of California, in a zone 9 climate, which means it rarely gets cold enough for most varieties of lilacs to bloom. Lilacs fall within a category of plants that, in order to bloom the following spring, require a specific number of cold days with temperatures ranging between 32 - 45 degrees. While those of us in warm climates can certainly go ahead and plant lilacs, if they don’t receive the required amount of cold temperatures, the plants will decline. Those once full and bountiful lilacs found at the nursery (fresh out of a greenhouse with ideal temperatures) will slowly show signs of distress throughout the years; thinning foliage, random flowering and a slow but certain death.
Thank goodness there are a few varieties that have been bred to tolerate warmer climates! If you live in a warmer zone, consider the variety 'Miss Kim' for consistent and fragrant blooms. I have one in my garden that’s been growing for years, and while it’s not as fragrant as traditional lilacs, it comes pretty darn close. ‘Miss Kim’ is a compact shrub, growing to 8-feet tall and wide with light lavender flowers that bloom in mid-March. This variety is also one of the few lilacs whose leaves turn fall colors, with deep burgundy tinges to them.
Other varieties that do well in temperate climates are ‘Lavender Lady’ and ‘Blue Skies’ (both with traditional dusty purple-colored flowers) and ‘Angel White’ (with prolific white flowers) all quickly growing to 12-tall by 6-feet wide.
Besides their delicious scent, people love lilacs for their large and conical shaped flowers (called ‘panicles’) that burst forth in the early months of spring. These flowers not only herald in spring with their beautiful shades of purple, pink and white but they’re also an important source of nectar for butterflies and hummingbirds.
And if you’re someone like me who can’t plant enough lilacs in their garden, consider using other plants that have a very similar flower, both in color, shape and size.
For example, the Chaste Tree (vitex agnus-castus) has flowers that are very similar in color, size and shape to a lilac’s. One advantage, though, is the Chaste Tree blooms for months and months at a time, versus a lilac’s fleeting blooms that last a few weeks. The Chaste Tree is a large, multi-trunked deciduous shrub quickly growing to 15’ or so. However, it’s easily kept much smaller by pruning when dormant. The Chaste Tree not only produces hundreds of lightly scented flowers, but it’s an excellent choice for a drought tolerant garden, requiring very little water once established.
Another lilac substitute is the Butterfly Bush (buddleia species). These semi-deciduous shrubs vary in size from a diminutive 2-feet to a towering 15-feet, all preferring full sun. The flowers come in a rainbow of colors and have a delicious fragrance similar to vanilla.
In many areas throughout the country, the Butterfly Bush is considered very invasive, so check with your local extension office to verify before planting. Luckily, though, there are a few varieties that are either sterile or produce fewer seeds and are much more environmentally friendly. ‘Lo and Behold Blue Chip’ is a charming dwarf variety (growing to only 2-feet tall) with purple-blue flowers. ‘Miss Ruby’, with its fragrant deep pink flowers, grows a little larger topping out at about 5-feet tall. Again, this variety produces very little seed and is a less aggressive choice for your garden.