June 8, 2010


Truth is indeed stranger than fiction.  Just when you think there's nothing new under the sun, there's something new under the sun.

Yesterday a woman came into the garden center from California and wanted to buy a Lilac.  Of course we knew that Lilacs wouldn't grow in her zone and we advised her as much.  But she already knew that and was determined to have the Lilac.

That's when she told us that she was going to put the Lilac in a  fridge so that it would have it's period of dormancy .  Of course, this procedure will have to be repeated every year.  Dig up Lilac, refrigerate, plant, dig, etc.

I keep looking at a Southern Magnolia  on the lot that's suppose to be hardy for Chicago.  What would I have to do to ensure its survival. ?  Am I as willing as she was to take the plunge ? My main concern is not so much the cold as the snow load breaking its branches.

Would a Magnolia look strange with a teepee to protect it from snow ?

To say the least I was really impressed by her passion for Lilacs. How far would you go for a plant you love ?

Written by Carolyngail at Sweet Home and Garden Chicago All rights reserved


  1. Go for that teepee, I say! I'm hand trucking phormium, camellias and colocasia inside every winter - maybe not quite ready for a plant refrigerator though...

  2. As crazy as it sounds (and i'm laughing as i'm writing this) I have heard this story before with hosta as the desired plant. It's really no different than me telling Pat that I can bring the lime tree in every year. jim

  3. Not very far. I'm willing to find more interesting plants for my zone, but not employ such heroic measures.

  4. Nope. I'm a toughlove gardener. I'll throw some evergreen boughs over the hellebores so their spring blooms aren't spoiled, and maybe mulch a few plants but other than that...they either live or they die. And if they die...that's just a readymade hole to plant something else in. I do try to site things according to their needs, of course, but plants can be temperamental. LOVE the story about the lilac and the fridge, Carolyn!

  5. I too am a bit of a toughlove gardener....but lilacs..well, I can't imagine living without them...so, I don't know..maybe, I would make an exception for them...at least I would for Beauty of Moscow...yes I would! If I could)))

  6. That might be a stretch for me, Caroline! I do bring a LOT of plants indoors for wintering, and enjoying. However, I tried very hard (once year) to do the in-the-dark/in-the-light with a poinsettia. It lasted only a few days. I couldn't remember to do it!! ha. I do hope she's successful with her lilac, though.


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