Thousands of people come to the steep slopes of the Dnieper - Slavutich to admire the blooming lilac garden, not only Kievans, but also guests from Moscow, Leningrad, distant Siberia and even from abroad. And everyone is attracted by the blooming miracle created in the Central Republican Botanical Garden of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences in Kiev.
About 200 varieties of lilacs are represented here on an area of one and a half hectares. And what colors you will not see here, what aromas you will not breathe! It is difficult to write about this unusual garden, or, as his scientists call it, syringaria. At the time of flowering, it is photographed by numerous amateurs and photojournalists, film and television studios fix it on film, and artists draw it.
From the history of ornamental horticulture it is known that lilac was first brought to Europe by one Austrian diplomat from Constantinople as early as 1563. This diplomat, examining the wonderful gardens of the then capital of Turkey, preserved from Byzantine times, drew attention to the flowering bush. The Turks called this plant "lilak." Returning to his homeland, the diplomat took out the seeds of a plant he liked. Subsequently, under the name “Turkish viburnum,” lilac migrated from Vienna to neighboring countries and soon became fashionable in all European countries, including Russia. At that time there was no landowner estate where it would not be considered a duty to acquire several bushes of fashionable lilacs.
However, the real pedigree of lilac, like walnut, remained little known for a long time, and only relatively recently it was possible to find out its details. It was believed that the birthplace of lilac is Iran, but only in 1828 the botanists were able to establish that it comes from the inaccessible areas of the Transylvanian Alps, as well as the mountainous regions of present-day Yugoslavia and Bulgaria.
The scientific name of the lilac “syringa” is associated with one of the ancient Greek legends. It tells how Pan, the god of forests and fields, persistently sought reciprocity from the nymph Syringa. But God was very ugly: bearded, horned, goat-footed. The beautiful Siringa, fleeing from the persecution of the annoying and ugly Pan, despaired, turned into a beautiful fragrant plant. The unlucky Pan, saddened by the bush, suddenly standing on the place of a nymph, made a pipe from his branch and retired to his possessions.
Paying tribute to the legend, the outstanding botanist Linnaeus gave the legendary plant the name of the unfortunate nymph.
In the decorative gardening of the world, there are now over 600 varieties of lilacs, differing in the structure and size of flowering brushes, aroma, color of flowers, leaf shape. If earlier the breeding of new varieties of lilacs was a monopoly of foreign breeders, now dozens of wonderful varieties have been created by our scientists and practitioners. Among them, one cannot fail to mention the work of the Moscow experienced Michurinets, State Prize laureate L. A. Kolesnikov. He has amazing lilacs! Especially attractive are the ones created by him and his favorite varieties: Gastello, a dream, a pioneer, a Bolshevik, which can now be found in the gardens and parks of Moscow, Tbilisi, Tashkent, Riga and other cities of the Soviet Union.
© Julie Kertesz
Lilac is mainly a shrub plant, sometimes it looks like a small tree. According to the color of the flowers, five groups of lilacs are distinguished: lilac-blue, white, lilac-pink, purple and violet. However, L. Kolesnikov created varieties of lilacs of an unusual color: blue, dark violet with a white border, lilac-silver and bright red.
The fame of lilac varieties bred by Ukrainian breeders is also growing. Their varieties Ukraine, the lights of Donbass, Kiev, Poltava and others cause general admiration.
Despite its southern origin, lilac grows well in our country and tolerates even severe frosts of the Solovetsky Islands, Tobolsk, Krasnoyarsk. It is quite demanding on soils and their moisture content, perfectly propagated by seeds, root shoots and green cuttings, and also grows rapidly. Lilac is very valuable as a forcing plant for greenhouses and greenhouses. Here they achieve violent flowering even in the midst of a harsh winter.
- S. I. Ivchenko - Book about trees