On Planting a Lilac Tree

Yesterday we planted a lilac tree. Or rather, D. Lucy did most of the work while I merely supervised and indulged in vague thoughts about the lost gardens of Aleppo and the vanished Lemoine nursery that developed the cultivar we planted, Syringa Vulgaris Belle de Nancy. There is something about tree-planting that is very life affirming. We plant, knowing that we shall never see the tree in its full-grown beauty but with the hope that its leaves and blossom will delight another generation. Tree-planting is a truly anonymous act, a collaboration with nature rather than a defiance of it and, as John Evelyn understood so well, an act with consequences beyond the particular. Trees may be felled or sicken and die; gardens may be destroyed, nurseries disappear, but the impulse to plant, to cherish and to grow remains. We do not know what will be the fate of our little lilac tree, but it was planted with a prayer — a reminder of Eden, of Calvary, and of the hope that sustains us all.

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7 thoughts on “On Planting a Lilac Tree”

  1. Lilac trees have always been a favorite of my family.There is something special about a blooming Lilac. It brings back memories of long ago.

  2. We planted a dwarf apple tree about 28 years ago in our garden. It has been both a source of pleasure (when in blossom) and fruit in the Autumn.

    It feels a little like the garden of Eden, only one tree, but with delicious fruit – hopefully, a serpent didn’t tempt us to plant it or pick it’s fruit 🙂

  3. There are lots of older trees near our house…..the dogs and I walk under them daily…and I always give thanks for them and the people who planted them. I hope that those who planted these gorgeous pieces of creation may have had thoughts into the future, imagining the people to come after them who would enjoy the full fruits of their efforts… a grateful link in time between different generations. It’s also interesting to be on the other end of this when we plant things in our garden – I hope whoever lives here in the future will love it as we do and feel themselves part of the ‘ever rolling stream of time’.

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