Choosing plants and flowers for your garden whether it is a nice new one, a remodeling of an old one or a well-established display, can be both a labor and a joy. There are so many wonderful examples to tempt your fancy from the really very small to the quite enormous. Flowering shrubs act as wonderful ways to add depth and texture to a border or bed, or a way to break up spaces without interfering with your viewing pleasure of the rest of the landscape. Lilacs have long been used for these purposes and are almost unmatched when it comes to the delightful perfume that comes with the flowers. The Bloomerang is so named as you will see a return to flower in July, after a period of rest and recuperation following the first flowers in spring. These are small and manageable shrubs that are easy to care for and resistant to many of the things that cause heartache with other varieties.
Bloomerang first appeared as a limited release from Better Homes and Gardens in 2009 and the initial expectations were the sale of around one thousand plants, so image the surprise when more than 11,000 were sold and dispirited, downhearted lilac hunters were sent home frustrated and empty handed. This variety was first bred by Tim Wood at Proven Winners and is the result of a real labor of love, trying to create a twice flowering lilac that was worthy of the hype, but many would say that the final result was more than worth the effort. Growing to around 4 feet high and around 4 feet wide the Boomerang is considered a dwarf plant, its compact size lending itself to smaller spaces that other lilacs could not be considered. When not in flower the foliage is very attractive with dark purplish stems and deep green leaves lightly indented either-side of the vein; highly compact, it is a welcome addition to any garden as is. What makes it particularly spectacular is the explosion of tiny purple and lavender flowers that simply smother this little shrub in spring, each delicate tubular body ending with 4 splayed petals and releasing that iconic aroma into the air about you; honey sweet and utterly beautiful. These flowers die away at the start of summer and throughout the hottest part of summer it takes a well-deserved break, before bursting back into flower as the temperature cools. This second round will last till the first frosts of autumn so you have the potential of four months of wonderful lilac flowers rather than those that just appear in spring.
These really are quite easy to care for, so much so that it almost feels like cheating when you are rewarded so richly. It is best that you choose a moist site with well-drained and rich soil that is slightly alkaline or slightly acidic. A position that allows good airflow is ideal and it will grow well in both full sun and partial shade, flourishing best in full sun however, and a position that takes this into account will see the very best show.
When planting out it is important that the hole depth does not exceed the depth of the soil level in the plotted plant, and if anything it can be left sitting slightly higher than the level of earth around it when planted if the drainage offered is not sufficient. You can mulch the newly planted lilac but ensure that it is not in contact with the base of the plant and does not exceed 3 inches in depth. Be sure to water well when first planted out and during the first season it is important to keep the soil moist, but once established it will require less watering.
This is a fast growing plant so do not be afraid of pruning in order to gain the shape that you desire. The second round of flowering occurs on both new and old growth, but in order to maximize this you can removed the spring flowers as soon as they have finished, Tim Wood refers to this as a ‘hair cut’, and once the desired shape has been attained there is no need to prune for this purpose – the second bloom will appear no matter what you do.
When it comes to lilacs there is a lot of choice and there are some rebloomers out there already, but nothing on the scale of Bloomerang. Some may like the special and brief display that lilacs bring but for many of us, the chance to see that display again and for even longer is just too good to miss. Completely and utterly fabulous!