Lilacs bring scents of spring to Woodland

Annual event drawing crowds of flower lovers

By Dave Kern, Columbian assistant metro editor



If you go

What: Lilac Days at Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens. Lilacs on nearly 4 acres of wheelchair-accessible paths, 1880s Victorian farmhouse with antiques and historic tea sets, water tower, windmill, benches and a gift shop.

When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, through Mother’s Day. On Mother’s Day, author Jane Kirkpatrick will be signing her book, “Where Lilacs Still Bloom,” based on the life of Hulda Klager.

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

Cost: $2 admission; children younger than 12 are free. Lilacs sell for $6 to $30.

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

WOODLAND — Need an idea for Mother's Day?

photoAnastasia Colesnic, 21, of Vancouver carries a lilac bouquet that she planned on sharing with a friend during Lilac Days at the Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens in Woodland on Sunday. She said she loved the color and the scent of the variety.

(/The Columbian)

Lilac Days awaits you with its 4 acres of flowers and lilac plants.

Oh, and there is something else.

"It smells good," said Elizabeth Tindall, 32, of Vancouver, who was lazing through the lilacs Sunday with her husband, Ryan, 32.

The couple visited the famed Palace of Versailles in France two years ago, where they toured its lilac garden.

"I want to go where it smells like it did in Versailles," Elizabeth told Ryan.

Albina Paliy, 23, of Battle Ground felt the same way.

Her opinion of the garden: "Love it. It's peaceful and it smells good." She was with her friend, Tanya Shalagon, 24, of Vancouver.

Open through Mom's Day

Mother's Day ends the festival put on by the dedicated volunteers of the Hulda Klager Lilac Garden Society. But the festival is open every day until then.

"We had over 1,000 people here on Saturday," Ruth Wendt of Woodland said on Sunday. She's been a volunteer for some 20 years and is chairwoman of the lilac sales.

With a mild winter and warm temperatures, Wendt said, "The lilacs are blooming early. The late ones are coming on like gangbusters."

Those late bloomers that some people never see include "Miss Canada," a red-pink variety, "Prophecy," a pale pink and "Donald Wyman," which is lavender.

Sales have been brisk.

"We're out of 'Frank Klager'," a dark purple plant, Wendt said. That meant they had sold about 300 of that plant.

Frank Klager was the husband of Hulda Klager, the garden's namesake. Hulda (1863-1960), whose family moved from Germany to the U.S. in 1865, developed scores of lilacs after she began experimenting with them in 1905. She became known as "the Lilac Lady."

Wendt noted some colorful lilac plants are still available to purchase. Prices range from $6 to $30.

Joeciey Valero-Hansen of Orchards was waiting to buy "Josie," a violet lilac, and "Congo," a purple one. She was at the gardens with her daughter, Savannah, 9, and husband, Dustin.

"We have a 'Sensation' at home," she said. "It's marvelous."

Patti Audette of Woodland, president of the lilac society, said volunteers work many hours and months to keep the garden gorgeous. "It's like a second home," she said.

In addition to nearly 300 lilac bushes representing 80 varieties, there are roses, azaleas, vines, hydrangeas, and trees, some as old at 100, on the property.

As for her hours at the gardens, Wendt confessed, "I couldn't stay away if I wanted to. I'm hooked."