I bought a Canadian Lilac rather than the Common Lilac because it is reputed to be more wind and cold tolerant and I wanted to plant it on my lower ledge as part of my wind break hedge.
I planted the Lilac adjacent to the One Seed Juniper, just to the south and east, so the Juniper will protect it some from the wind but it will get full sun. It is at least partly protected from wind and is where I had my territorial dispute with a 3 foot Prairie Rattler that was enjoying the protected warmth of that spot. Snakes are edible, they say. Big enough to make a good protein source. I will pass today, we will see what tomorrow brings.
Now I have Pinyon, Elderberry, Juniper, and Lilac from right to left in a staggered row with room for one more small tree between it and a large Sumac as the fence corners to head up the hill. My hope is that they form the basis of a wind and visual screen. Inside this row is my curving pathway that loops back up to the higher level. I will have room for shrubs and wildflowers and edibles between the path and small trees. They will survive if I can increase my wind screen from only two full sized evergreens.
Outside this row will be prickly pears and tree chollas at the edge of a 20 foot drop. The first line barrier hedge.
Between the pathway and the 4 ft stone berm is room for two more small trees. I have several varieties on hand.
Canadian Lilac blooms about 3 weeks later than Common Lilac, another advantage where hard frosts come and freeze early flowers and leaves. I love Lilac and missed it during my Texas years, it just won’t do well there. Lilacs bloomed this spring and were huge and splendid.
For my circular economy and Food Forest, Lilac is a good wind screen plant because it spreads and the mass of stems baffles wind even in winter. It is recommended as part of a barrier hedge for the same reason.
Birds find good cover inside and it produces a profusion of seeds for robins, thrushes, waxwings, jays, etc. American birds are edible although some don’t taste as good as others. I like birds because they are fun to watch, eat insects… and they bring new seeds for free. Interesting plants show up under bird roosts and we can eat many of the same plants they eat.
This is a chicken forage plant because they also get nutrition from its seeds. Even if you don’t let your chickens scratch around in your garden, pick a few panicles of seeds for them. A variety of foods keeps them healthy, like it does us. Larger properties can provide food for chickens with a little thought about what to plant for them. Even three chickens provide a lot of eggs. Separate their eggs and freeze whites and yolks separately in a ice tray. One frozen, keep them in separate freezer bags. My hens have stopped laying but I am still eating their eggs.
Don’t disdain adding flowers to your salad, Lilac scent and the nutrient boost added to its ability to improve digestion are all good. I will, of course, use a few dried blooms in my tea. I use olive oil (light, not 1st press) on my skin, and it is better with scent added. Fill a jar with dried Lilac flowers then fill with oil, wait 6 weeks, strain, and it will scent the oil. Nice! I worked so many hours and days in the market economy, I am down to unscented oil… so not feminine and sweet smelling as I like.
As it attains full size, each fertilized bloom becomes a seed, not just for birds but small mammals.
Lilac attracts butterflies, moths, and bees. Because of its size and bloom mass, it can feed a large number of pollinators. It is a larval host plant for several butterfly species, so look for more Azures, Tortoiseshells, and Swallowtail in your yard.
The leaves are medicinal.