Thanking Strangers from the Past for Pleasures of Today


I can take no credit for the gorgeous lilac tree that grows beside our home. It is two stories tall and right now there are thousands of blossoms on it. It is spectacular.

It would have been planted about 30 years ago and by the looks of things it was never pruned, so just kept right on growing. All I did when we moved in a decade ago was cut out the dead wood, and now I just trim the bits that hang down over our walking path every year.

Did you know that lilacs are trees and not bushes? I didn’t know this before meeting this one. They are in the olive family and there are actually 20 to 25 different specimens of Lilac. Ours is one that doesn’t smell very strongly and I’m actually happy about that because with so many blooms, it would have been overwhelming if they smelled as strongly as do the more common ‘French’ lilac. The flowers we get are more delicate and fragile looking and very lightly scented.


Every year when it blooms I think of the person who planted this tree all those years ago, and send them I little thought of thanks. Not only did they plant the lilac, but beside it is a magnificent forsythia ‘tree’ that blooms with a fiery yellow earlier, in April. And that’s not all this thoughtful gardener did. They also planted a hibiscus tree beside those, which blooms profusely with purple flowers in late summer and into the fall.

While these trees are beautiful seen from the outside, the long-ago planter also had the foresight to consider what they would be like from inside the home, as they planted them within view of our favourite window on the second floor. We both spend plenty of time gazing out this window, and right now my gaze lands upon a sea of pastel pink flowers.



This person must have planted these three flowering trees with the goal of having flowers out there throughout the growing season, although it would be years until the young plants would be large enough to really flower well. What they would have had was the work involved with getting three small saplings to grow, tending and watering them while they became established. Really, they were doing it for someone off in the distant future. And that lucky person is me.

I am so grateful to the long-ago gardener, that I may reap the fruits of their labour today.



Here are the cuttings I had to take this year, in order for us to be able to walk by the tree. I haphazardly arranged them in an old vase that I was given years ago by vintage dealers, from whom I was buying a set of dishes. The vase was already old when I got it and I usually keep it safely tucked into a glass-doored cabinet (along with the same dishes I was buying back then). The people who gave it to me were the very first to introduce me to the beauty of vintage housewares, as when I first moved downtown as a single girl beginning to make my way in the world, their shop became a real favourite place to go. (Anybody remember the shop ‘Red Indian’ on Queen Street West?) They would let me take my time looking at every perfectly curated treasure-from-the-past, as though I was visiting a museum. The vase is McCoy pottery and I remember when they presented it, they told me it was ‘the real McCoy’. I’m sure that’s not where that saying comes from but I’ve always called this vase my real McCoy.









Thanks for taking a look. Wishing you a happy Thursday.
xo loulou