Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Hulda Klager lilac garden

Ah lilacs - is there anything sweeter? When the lilacs bloom I know that summer is finally on its way. Last week I visited the Hulda Klager Lilac gardens in Woodland, Washington. Hulda Klager moved to the Northwest in the late 1800's. While she was recovering from an illness in 1903, she read a book by Luther Burbank, a renowned hybridizer at the time. After reading his book, she begin her own experiments with hybridizing plants — especially apples. Her interest in apples apparently came from a desire to save time making pies, she felt it took too long to peel all those little apples! And who could blame her. So she set out to develop a plumper apple and was thrilled with the tasty results. In 1905 she began hybridizing lilacs. By 1920 she had developed so many new varieties that she decided to hold an open house each spring to share with the community and was from then on was known as "The Lilac Lady". And now you can visit her lilac gardens too! When the woodland Garden club learned that the house and gardens were to be bulldozed for a new development they stepped in. Through much work it is now a national historic site. The lovely gardens and sweet victorian home are open to the public, so go see it for yourself! 

Blue skies are even more delicious when filled with the delicate fragrance of lilac.

This variety is sugar plum fairy.

The grounds have most of the original buildings including the carriage house, water tower and propagation barn. Sadly the outhouse is gone.

Oooo - and they have lots of lilacs for sale.

Save the lilacs!

A speckled leaf with soft yellow coloring.

This variety Hulda called "My favorite". I can see why she loved it - sweet perfection!

The gift shop is just as you might imagine, A lot of china, lace and everything you can possibly imagine made with lilac. It makes me want to have a tea party in the garden complete with fancy hats and frilly dresses. My mother always used to host a tea party for my sister and I when we were girls. We would spend the morning dressing up in my mothers amazing collection of vintage clothes. We would set the table with my grandmother Isable's delicate hand painted china and my great grandmother Ruth's hand tatted doilies. Then the afternoon would be spent sipping tea, eating cookies and admiring the garden. Why oh why do we have to grow up?

The side shade garden.

Hulda's house still has many of the families antiques.

The bedrooms are cozy and it's almost a shame that no one lives here any longer.

I am just such a sucker for all things vintage and sweet.

A large group of dedicated volunteer lilac ladies keeps the garden going. On our way out, the sound of piano music followed us to the porch as one of the ladies played a tune in the parlor. What a perfect day! 


  1. Lovely!!! I have been loving all the lilac blooms!

  2. Looks awesome, I've wanted to visit that garden for sometime. Hopefully one of these days I'll make it there.