Mostly known to florists by its genus name Syringa, lilac is a well known shrub in English cottage gardens.
The cut flower is far more glamorous than the shrub with long branches laden with flowers. The flowers are very labour intensive to grow but the final result is well worth it.
Lilacs were first cultivated in the middle of the last century in Europe, and most of the varieties developed are those still sold today.
Available in white, mauve, violet or pink. The purple-flowered varieties, which have the stronger scent are only available in spring for a very short season of perhaps six weeks.
October to May
"Madame Florent Stepman" is the most widely grown lilac, a pure white flower named after the original grower's wife.