Picturing Lilacs


• See Them: Walt Whitman may have mused about When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d, but we’re loving the churchyard at North Hills Christian Reformed Church. Here, just north of 16 Mile Road on Adams Road in Troy, a large grove, about 150 by 60 feet, once stretched across what is now Adams Road. When that road was built, much of the grove was torn down. “We expanded a patch on the eastern side of the property (along with a small trail) from shoots transplanted from the main patch,” says the Rev. Randy Engle, who pastors the church. “They were likely planted in the 1880s — and certified as the largest lilac grove in Oakland County.”

• Grow Them: “Most who want to grow lilacs remember Grandma’s yard; however, what most fail to understand is that Grandma’s lilacs were in the back corner or in an area where they had room to grow,” says Ryan Youngblood, of Rochester-based R. Youngblood & Co., a landscape design/build firm. “Give a lilac room to be the lilac
it wants to be!” They like high sun, too.

• Celebrate Them: See a wide variety of lilacs in bloom on Mackinac Island during the annual Lilac Festival, this year running June 6-15. Visitors will see some historic varieties, many of which were brought there during the Colonial era.



  1. Lilac/Cobalt, $42/roll, Laura Ashley, lauraashleyusa.com.
  2. Emma’s Garden, Waverly Cottage, York Wallcoverings, $40/roll, yorkwall.com.
  3. Collection of Flowers — Lilac, Cole & Son, $264/roll and
  4. Fornasetti, Ortensia (dark purple), Cole & Son, $198/roll, both through Kravet/Lee Jofa/Brunschwig & Fils showroom, Michigan Design Center, Troy, michigandesign.com.
  5. Lilac Trail, Casabella Collection, York Wallcoverings, $43/roll, yorkwall.com.
  6. Portland /Cobalt, $38/roll, Laura Ashley, lauraashleyusa.com.


Lilac Trail (detail)