Lilac Days draws a crowd in Woodland

By Dave Kern, Columbian assistant metro editor



Did you know ?

Hulda Klager came to the U.S. from Germany in 1865. The family moved to the Woodland farm in 1877 when she was 13. Apples were a key crop.

By 1905, she was working with lilacs. By 1910, she had 14 new varieties. After 10 years, she hosted an open house during the spring bloom.

Virtually all of her work was destroyed by the great flood of 1948. At the age of 83, she began restoring the garden, and within two years she was able to resume her open house.

She died in 1960. The house and grounds are maintained by the Hulda Klager Lilac Society.

Ready to plant?

Ruth Wendt of the Hulda Klager Lilac Society recommends:

Moskvy, a pink-budded variety with a double white bloom.

Frank Klager, a dark purple.

Lavender Lady.

Paul Thirion, a magenta double bloom.

WOODLAND — They came from as far away as Seattle and Oklahoma on Sunday to see gorgeous blooming lilacs in a vintage setting under sunny skies.

Lilac Days are here again on the homestead of Hulda Klager, the original lilac lady.

More than 1,700 people visited the 4-acre home and gardens over the weekend.

“We are doing well with sales,” said Karen Ward, chair of the garden. She’s been working seven hours a day every day for the past six weeks with other volunteers to get the garden just so. And is it appreciated?

“They (visitors) love it,” she said of the garden and Victorian farmhouse stocked with antiques and vintage hats. “Lots of people haven’t been here before. They’re just amazed at how beautiful it is.”

And the grounds are wheelchair accessible, with 55,000 pavers along the paths, said volunteer Kirk

If you go

What: Lilac Days at Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens: Lilacs on nearly four acres of paths, Victorian farmhouse, vintage hats, benches and a gift shop.

When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, through Mother’s Day.

Where: 115 S. Pekin Road, Woodland. Follow signs from downtown Woodland.

Cost: $2 admission; children younger than 12 free. Lilacs sell for $5 to $30.

Information: 360-225-8996 or Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens.


“Oh, they’re beautiful,” said Rochelle Carlson of Toledo. She had purchased three pinkish Josee lilac starts and bought a Josee plant for her mother. She also bought a Conga lilac, which is a deep magenta and extremely fragrant.

“I saw they do weddings,” Carlson said of the grounds with its water tower, windmill and barn.

There are 80 varieties of lilacs and about 200 plants. Sales pay for upkeep of the gardens and farmhouse. It costs a minimum of $1,000 to rent the grounds for a wedding, Ward said, who added that the society is an all-volunteer force.

“Hulda’s are selling very well,” she said of the varieties credited to Hulda Klager. “Frank Klager is selling very well,” she added of the deep purple lilac that Hulda named for her husband.

“I love the Pink Alexander,” said Marcella Monroe, who is from Fairland, Okla., and is visiting her mom, Mona Monroe of Newberg, Ore. “I tend to like the old-fashioned-looking ones … or more towards Korean. The throats of the flower are long and narrow.” Her mom’s favorite is Moskvy (Beauty of Moscow), a pink-budded variety that opens to a double white bloom.

“We’re keeping the house and gardens vintage,” Ward said. “There’s no modern plants here.”

Many of the plants come from the nursery in Woodland Bottoms that the lilac society bought recently. Lilacs also are bought from Briggs Nursery in the Seattle area, Ward said.

Ward said it is no wonder that people come from all over the Northwest to Lilac Days.

“They can get varieties here that they can’t get at any other nursery,” she said.