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How To Make Your Backyard Lilacs Look Lucious

Everyday day we walk, drive and ride past overgrown shrubs, rigid landscaping and quaint flower patches. More often than not we don’t give them a second thought.

In the mundaneness of the same-old, same-old begs us to slow down and appreciate these things. Seriously. Never underestimate the power of the pretty everyday things.

peony flowered, wine colored tulips from your local cut flower farm
Since I’m fairly new to growing flowers commercially, there are still holes in my growing season. After my tulips bloom, there are several weeks during which I don’t really have any flowers to offer. I seriously felt so sad when I cut my last tulip this year!

Inevitably though, once the tulips are on the market, people want a steady stream of flowers. What do I do?! when this came up last week, I was just super honest: I’m still learning and my garden is still getting established. I don’t have anything that lasts really well in a vase…

white lilacs
All I have are lilacs. (Read lilacs in a super downhearted, apologetic tone.) Just lilacs. Right out my front window (and on every corner) there’s a massive shrub of unruly, overgrown lilac bushes.

I’m so thankful for other people who have confidence in me. This gal gave me a couple of preferences and a whole lot of freedom and the results were stunning. What a good reminder of the very reason I do this. To find and cultivate beauty in the regular, everyday stuff. Pretty much everyone has lilacs, kind of like we all have 24 hours to live and love, work and play. But when you are intentional with them, amazing things can happen:


The original plan was to do centerpieces with white lilacs and red foliage. But it looked broken and almost silly. So I made a judgement call. Without the foliage I felt like it looked like an oozing volcano of loveliness.


Instead, I used the red branches along with some silvery greenery to make a larger arrangement for their buffet table.

white lilacs, local flower arrangement
Not too bad at all for the slump in my season! Enjoy the rest of the photos from this awesome set-up. If you’re local and looking for an event space, let me know. This place is way too cool for the G-Funk! After the photos are a few lilac tips I’ve gathered from various sources that have worked for me.


Tips for arranging lilacs:

  • Cut the stems in half upwards for a couple inches and pull one of the halves apart OR crush them (like with a hammer)
  • Strip all of the leaves off so the stems can give all of their drink to the blossoms. If you want foliage, cut separate branches without blossoms.
  • Get them into water ASAP and keep up, they’re thirsty!
  • Just like on the bush, lilacs look best in abundance. Gather as many as you can into a tall container, or use a flower frog (or chicken wire) to support them in a shallow one. I wish I could have fit more in my vintage Italian canning jar above!
  • Above all, DO NOT be afraid to ask the old lady across the street if you can cut a few of her lilacs for your kitchen table. Mostly likely, she’ll be honored to share.

Enjoy the life around this spring!

💕 Elli

Published inEverday BeautyPlain Jane Flowers

4 Comments

  1. I love lilacs so much. I’ve never got enough of them! We are planting several bushes, so I’m happy to have some tips to tuck away for future reference.
    P.s. where is this place? And I’m guessing the last 2 pics were at your house?

    • eliciajohnson eliciajohnson

      Actually they are all at Wines by Wednesday. Their building is a super cool vintage warehouse. Half is a restaurant and half is an event space (with an attached suite). It’s amazing!

    • eliciajohnson eliciajohnson

      Thank you ☺️🌸

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