Syringa vulgaris ‘Wedgewood Blue’ (wedgewood blue lilac) is a more compact lilac with full sized flowers. This dwarf shrubs fits well into a smaller garden, but still gives the traditional showy flowers. Because of the shape, it is easy to plant bulbs and perennials underneath to get colour for the whole season. The fragrance of the flowers is wonderful.
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The flowers of ‘Wedgewood Blue’ are a lavender blue colour when they mature, while the buds start off as a more traditional purple lilac colour, like the second photo. The blooms are a pretty colour, and coordinate easily with many of the colours in my June garden here in zone 3. The panicles are 20 cm (8 in) long, not the smaller flowers you sometimes find on dwarf lilacs, and the individual petals are wide, not narrow like some dwarf flowers. With the full size, and packed with petals, the blooms are very showy, many of the them hanging in pairs. These flowers give lots of colour and scent for a small shrub. Last year mine flowered for 3 weeks, but it has been blooming for over 4 weeks this year with our cool, late spring.
Of course lilacs not only delight with their pretty blooms, but they fill the senses with their wonderful fragrance. The scent of this lilac is fabulous, and since the flowers are all at nose height, it is very easy to enjoy the wonderful perfume, without being on tiptoe. I circulate to this part of the garden everyday while the shrub is in bloom to breathe deeply of the delicious fragrance.
My compact shrub is about 2 metres tall (6 feet) tall and wide. It has a natural vase shape, which is very attractive. The base is narrow, so there is lots of room for underplanting the smaller lilac with bulbs and perennials in a mixed border. I’ve underplanted my ‘Wedgewood Blue’ with crocus for spring and hardy blue geraniums for summer and fall, so there are blooms from when the snow melts until the first Fall frosts, with few gaps.
The bare lilac branches in the pictures above are from April, when the crocus planted under the shrub flowered. The Crocus chrysanthus (snow crocus) on the bottom half of the photo above are the earliest flowers in my garden. They are followed by the Crocus vernus (large Dutch crocus), which are shown on the top half. As the crocus leaves fade away, the hardy blue Geraniums (cranesbills) grow to cover the bulb leaves.
The Geraniums bloom after ‘Wedgewood Blue’ is finished, so they continue the flower show. These Geraniums are just developing buds now, so the picture above is from last year. The first Geraniums to bloom are the ‘Johnson’s Blue’, followed quickly by ‘Rozanne’. The Geranium ‘Rozanne’ bloom all the way to frost. There are a few Campanula (bellflowers) at the front of the bed, too.
My ‘Wedgewood Blue’ lilac gets one of the sunnier areas of the garden. a part shade site, but more sun than shade, and the shrub seems to do well. It used to be more shaded from an overgrown Viburnum that I had to remove last year, and it is blooming better than ever now.
I highly recommend Syringa vulgaris ‘Wedgewood Blue’, if you are looking for a smaller lilac to fit into your mixed borders, but still want the full lilac flower effect on a dwarf shrub.