A few months back my wife Pam became the proud owner of a donated French Lilac Shrub. Although there are literally hundreds of diverse varieties of these types of Lilacs, we have no idea which one this actually is, perhaps in the springtime we will have some insight into its variety.

As soon as we arrived home, my wife’s first order of business was to place the shrub into a large pot and to continue to provide it with loving care. Needless to say, it grew well.

These plants are well known to grace your visual and auditory senses with both beautiful white blossoms and delicious aroma scents, for at least 10 days in the late spring. This pleasant plant is a low maintenance shrub that has no problems taking care of itself during most of the year. The strong smell emitted from this shrub is why most of us gardeners appreciate this wonderful plant.

The lilac shrub grows best after a 45-degree winter chill. At maturity these plants are capable of reaching as high as 15 feet in height. They frequently need some extra elbow room since they can get as round as 15 feet, however if planted about 6 feet apart they become an attractive hedge. They enjoy lots of sunshine and need a considerable amount of water.

Soil requirements are similar to any other plant. It needs well drained soil with a neutral pH or slightly higher. They do best in a slightly alkaline soil. If your soil is sandy or consists of heavy clay you should add some compost to it in order to liven it up. Lilacs grow rather slowly from seed, usually involving 3 or 4 years before it will bloom, on the other hand those purchased as container plants will likely show their blooms in early spring or fall. We are looking forward to this as we will be taking some cuttings to create a Lilac Hedge around some of our property.

Now we come to the part which I like best, growing the Lilacs from cuttings. To accomplish this feat, take 6-inch cuttings from new terminal shoots of the bush. Dip these root ends in rooting hormone and plant them in a damp peat, perlite, or vermiculite. In three to four weeks your cuttings will develop their roots and can be transferred to your home garden shortly after.

Plant the lilacs where they can get afternoon shade but with at least 6 hours of sunlight each day. During their first year be sure to water then daily, after that an occasional soaking will be sufficient. Mulch should be used to keep the soil moist. One month after planting in the ground, you can fertilize the bush with 18-6-12 fertilizer at the rate of 2 ounces per 4 square feet. Fertilize annually in the early spring or in October.

Now you know the tale of my wife’s French Lilac bush. I cannot wait to start some of my own from cuttings in the springtime. You might wish to try doing some cuttings yourself.

Joseph Parish
My name is Joseph Parish. I am also known as "Word Writer", a freelance writer who specializes in a host of subjects from survival and emergency actions to gardening. Over the years, I have found that many people involved in the subject of survival claim an attraction towards the subject they practice. A few of them have really meant it. Fewer still have put their life into it and shown their true feelings about the subject. I attended the American Public University, specializing in Emergency Management and Terrorism. I have written one book on terrorism entitled “The Mind of a Terrorist”, and it is available on Amazon. I was brought up in southern New Jersey and attended school in the Millville area, graduating from the Millville Senor High school in 1966. By the time I graduated, I was hooked upon entering the United States Air Force. I was determined to enter the military and pursue a field of study in the area of electronics. I initially attended a course in Aircraft Radio Repair at Kessler Air Force Base in Mississippi. Later, I was trained as a Ground Radio Repairman. Little did I realize that this course of training would eventually lead him into the Forward Air Control Career field. I remained in the military for 21 years, at which time I visited many foreign countries as well as just about all 50 states in America. In 1987, I decided that it was time to get out of the military and retire from active duty. It was at this time that I made a quantum career leap; combining my, military electronics training with my love of Aircraft, I became employed by TRW Aerospace in Redondo Beach California. The company was involved in developing and manufacturing various space craft units and satellites for the government. I will readily admit that the company was one of the greatest places I had ever worked, and really hated to leave the company, but I decided to depart the area. I have developed many interesting and cherished friendships while learning survival techniques, particularly those that dealt with earthquakes. Unfortunately, the area was not the best place to bring up children in and upon the conclusion of my contract with TRW, I returned to the east coast. Upon my return to the New Jersey area, I began teaching school for several years. I generally taught Junior High subjects, such as science and math. After getting involved in the teaching of young minds, I was informed that a close relative in Florida was ill and required help. Without hesitation, I headed to the sunshine state to assist. While in Florida I was employed as an RF Amplifier Engineer. Eventually the crisis which had brought me to Florida was over, and I was once again heading back up north, only this time to the state of Delaware. Here I worked as a mainframe computer operator for a major chicken producer until I decided that it was time for me to permanently retire. I decided to take a slightly different route. I was attracted to the topic of survival because of my love for the military and my field of work while I was active duty. When 9-11 took place in America, there was a rise in the popularity of survival preparations which led to both government and private citizens being concerned about survival. These people and agencies had the freedom to select the various topics relating to the subject and the followers began to flock to them because of their knowledge and values. By the end of 2007, various internet websites began cropping up relating to survival. One such website was mine. Being a part-time newspaper reporter in New Jersey years ago, I would create my own form of written articles. My first exposure to "survival" came as an Air Force Forward Air Controller (ROMAD) during my 21 years in the military. I have served as a unit Safety NCO, Emergency Preparedness NCO and other related duties. Some of my safety related articles had been published in the Air Force Safety Manual. Over the years I have taken courses ranging from FEMA sponsor classes to “Aircraft aviation” courses in my efforts to become more informed on survival techniques and procedures. I am a firm believer that you must be ready for any sort of emergency and above all you simply cannot rely upon the government to help you during times of crisis. I am a follower of the philosophy that you should continue to learn as much as you possibly can and believe that when you stop learning you are simply dead. I am currently an active volunteer in the Delaware Medical Reserve Corp, participating in the Delaware Bat Monitoring Program and the Terrapin Rescue. I previously was a Red Cross volunteer working with the Emergency Management Section of the organization. My hobby is gardening and I have my own greenhouse. I love experimenting with the propagation of plants. Many of my articles center around the topic of gardening. I look forward to accepting assignments from potential clients. Feel free to contact me at (302) 404-5976.

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