Northern Shade Gardening

Syringa Vulgaris Wedgewood Blue

Monday, June 21, 2010 Category: Trees and Shrubs

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.

If you’re viewing at a smaller resolution, the photo overflow is hidden, and you have to click the pictures to see the full photo.

Syringa vulgaris 'Wedgewood Blue' flower clusters

Syringa vulgaris 'Wedgewood Blue' flower clusters

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.

Syringa vulgaris Wedgewood Blue lilac buds

Syringa vulgaris Wedgewood Blue lilac buds

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.

Crocus under lilac shrub

Crocus under lilac shrub

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.

Geranium 'Johnson's Blue' under lilac

Geranium 'Johnson's Blue' under lilac

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.

Syringa vulgaris 'Wedgewood Blue' lilac double flower

Syringa vulgaris 'Wedgewood Blue' lilac double flower

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.

Syringa vulgaris 'Wedgewood Blue' lilac closeup

Syringa vulgaris 'Wedgewood Blue' lilac closeup

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.

22 Responses to “Syringa Vulgaris Wedgewood Blue” »

  1. Barbara :
    June 21, 2010 at 7:30 am

    The blossoms are tremendous – do you have problems with mildew? Lately I’ve been afflicted with a borer and so believe that Mrs. Bickle – a lovely old-fashioned large pink and Sensation may have to be replaced. Like the idea that it’s not too large as well.

  2. Northern Shade :
    June 21, 2010 at 7:41 am

    Barbara, I’ve had this lilac for 7 years, and it’s been very healthy so far.

  3. Marnie :
    June 21, 2010 at 7:49 am

    Wedgewood Blue is lovely. I have been considering getting a small lilac and was thinking about one of the newer ever blooming varieties. I’ve never heard anyone comment on them so I don’t know if they really do bloom all summer or if that is just advertising hype.
    Marnie

  4. Northern Shade :
    June 21, 2010 at 8:08 am

    Marnie, it’s tempting to have lilac blooms for an extended period. I wonder how the scent is on the new ones.

  5. Rebecca @ In The Garden :
    June 21, 2010 at 11:36 am

    Hi Northern, Your Wedgewood Blue is so gorgeous, it’s one of my favorite lilacs, but I don’t have a spot for one. The contrast of purple buds & blue blooms is so interesting. Sounds like our geraniums are at the same stage, I just noticed a bunch of new buds appear over the weekend. Stunning pictures! :)

  6. Northern Shade :
    June 21, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    Rebecca, I really like the light colour on this lilac. For a small shrub, it has a lot of petals.

  7. The Garden Ms. S :
    June 21, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    Hi Northern Shade, Love this lilac! I have never seen it before and am thrilled to know that there is such a sumptuous lilac that stays relatively small. I used to have a pair of Syringa patula ‘Miss Kim’ at my last garden and liked them for their size and shape. However, they certainly didn’t have the “Wow” of these blooms. Very pretty. Love the photos, too!

  8. Northern Shade :
    June 21, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    The Garden Ms. S, many of the panicles come grouped in pairs, so together they are about 20 cm by 20 cm, very showy.

  9. Kathleen :
    June 21, 2010 at 11:52 pm

    It sounds (and looks) like a terrific Lilac NS. I am amazed they are still in bloom there. Funny how we’re all on such different schedules. It’s so nice to see them again since they seemed to bloom and leave so quickly this year here. You’re also so thoughtful about arranging your perennials/bulbs/shrubs to bloom well together. Something I need to give more thought too…

  10. Northern Shade :
    June 22, 2010 at 6:28 am

    Kathleen, our late spring had cool weather, so it seemed to prolong their blooms. When the flowers were first opening, the lilac got snowed on, and I had to shake the heavy wet snow off of the blooms.

  11. Ruth :
    June 22, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    I just discovered your site. Fabulous. I used to live in Sask., now I am in SW ON. We have longer and warmer season. Love your pictures and articles on plants. Thank you.

  12. Marit :
    June 22, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    Your Wedgewood Blue is so beautiful! I have five Syringa vulgaris in different sorts here, but not Wedgewood Blue. Maybe I must buy that one!

  13. Northern Shade :
    June 22, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    Ruth, you have a good selection of plants to choose from in your area, lots of variety for your zone. I’m glad you found the information useful. It’s fun to see what other gardeners are growing, and read their experiences with them.

    Marit, it fits well into smaller beds or nooks around your house, and I like that the base is naturally open enough for planting around.

  14. jane :
    June 22, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    that’s one of the blessings of the northern climes .. beautifull, big, full lilacs .. yours are stunning ..

  15. Diane :
    June 23, 2010 at 4:39 am

    Away and not too much time on the ‘net so I won’t be able to read your post until next week, but have checked out your photos and they are amazing! I love the lilacs, especially, but they are all gorgeous.

    Have a good week!

  16. Northern Shade :
    June 23, 2010 at 6:46 am

    Jane, the lilac flowers handled the late snow of a northern garden as well.

    Diane, yesterday I was going to start cutting off some of the faded blooms, but I could still smell the lilac scent, so I left them on the shrub.

  17. Anonymous :
    June 2, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    Hi,
    Great site! Just found it while browsing. Does your Wedgewood Blue Lilac sucker?
    Thanks, Cory

  18. Northern Shade :
    June 2, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    Cory, no it doesn’t sucker. I’ve had this lilac for about 7 or 8 years, and I’ve been very pleased with it. ‘Wedgewood Blue’ has a nice shape, so there is room underneath for underplanting with perennials or bulbs. It is about 2 m by 2 m (6 ft by 6 ft), so you can fit it into a garden bed easily.

  19. JH :
    July 1, 2011 at 6:48 am

    I noticed last night that one whole brance of my Wedgewood Blue Lilac is dying. The bush is about 4 years old and this is the first damage I am witnessing. A few years ago this happened to my Primrose Lilac (white/cream blossoms) and no matter what I tried I could not save it. I want to help the Wedgewood before “whatever” takes over the whole bush.

    Any help would be appreciated…I did not see any insects or bore holes…what can I do?

  20. Northern Shade :
    July 1, 2011 at 9:21 am

    JH, did you have a harsh winter, or did your lilac dry out? They are very hardy, but going into winter dry can stress them, and they might lose some branches.I usually give my shrubs a good soak before the freeze up. There is a lilac borer which can cause a branch to die back, and if you had a similar problem before that might be it, but you mention that there are no bore holes. I would definitely remove the affected branch below the problem, and remove it from your garden. Here is some information from the Montréal Botanical Garden which has a good summary of lilac problems and treatments.

  21. JH :
    July 1, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    We did have a cold winter, but the bush had a beautiful spring! We just started getting some hot weather so maybe it is too dry. I mulch so I think my soil isn’t bone dry but I will check this today.

    In regards to the lilac borer, does it just affect the one branch, or does it destroy the whole bush? Again, day after day I saw my primrose just take a beating. I trimmed a branch, then another…I sprayed it, etc. but to no avail.

    So…for the Wedgewood…check the soil and water if necessary, and double check for bore holes? If I locate the bore holes cut the branch off at the base? And is there anything to protect against the borer?

    Thank you for your help…

  22. Northern Shade :
    July 1, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    It is possible that your lilac just had some damage from the cold winter. Although the fact that your other lilac lost branch after branch might indicate a problem that has transferred to your new one. I would check for bore holes and remove any branches if they are affected. Also, check under the leaves, at the base of the leaves and along the stems for any possible insect problems. Hopefully it is just winter damage, and the rest of the shrub will remain healthy.

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