Every year, aromatic purple, pink and white flowers adorn yards all across the United States. The lilac has been wildly popular ever since its introduction to North America in the 17th century. These resilient shrubs often out-live the residences and homesteads where they were originally planted. If you take a walk in any forested area in New England, you may spot an old lilac shrub marking old home sites long before you locate a foundation.
The Lilac Collection at Viles Arboretum was established in 1982, making it one of the original collections. Despite the lilacs hardy tendencies, they do require pruning and clearing of the understory to maintain a healthy, flowering shrub. While the lilacs at Viles bloom every spring, and produce an impressive display of unique colors, many of the plants have displayed dead or damaged growth due to age and harsh winters. A little love is all that has been needed to get this collection returned to its former glory.
Thanks to an incredible group of volunteers, self-proclaimed "The Lilac Gang", the Lilac Collection received some of the attention necessary to get this collection back on track. By pruning away dead growth, removing invasive species such as Morrow's honeysuckle and clearing debris from the understory, the gang has set the lilac's up for an even more impressive display of flowers next spring. We truly appreciate the dedication of our volunteers that help keep Viles Arboretum accessible and beautiful! If you are interested in volunteering at Viles Arboretum, fill out this form, "Volunteer at Viles", and we will be in touch!