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Lilacs in full fragrance, bloom in Woodland

Annual event at Hulda Klager gardens attracts hundreds of flower lovers

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Tiffany George, 18, of Milwaukie, Ore, poses for a photo for her mother, Amy Keyser, as they tour the Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens in Woodland on Sunday.
Tiffany George, 18, of Milwaukie, Ore, poses for a photo for her mother, Amy Keyser, as they tour the Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens in Woodland on Sunday. Photo Gallery

WOODLAND — Sally Jean Vingelen inhaled the dark purple lilac blossom and uttered, “Heavenly.”

“Ahhhh. You just can’t get enough of it. It just fills the senses,” the Woodland woman said.

Vingelen was among more than 1,100 visitors to the Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens on Sunday.

“This is really an amazing place. People come every year,” said Rebecca Roberts, a board member of the society that runs the gardens.

Hulda Klager, 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.” Klager died in 1960 and the Woodland house and farm fell into disrepair. Volunteers purchased her home and property from a developer in the 1970s, rescued it from ruin and turned it into a showplace.

“I love the fragrance,” said Rosalie Schachterle of Cascade Park as she whiffed a variety called Leon Gambetta.

Just a few feet away on a courtyard bench, Virginia Chadly of Fisher’s Landing said she was happy with her foot-tall K. Moskuy lilac, which she purchased for $5. “It’s a double white and its very fragrant,” she said.

? What: Lilac Days at Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens.

? When: Daily through Mother's Day.

? Where: 115 S. Pekin Road, Woodland. Head into downtown Woodland and follow signs.

? Admission: $2; children younger than 12 free.

? Information: 360-225-8996 or www.lilacgardens.com.

? Attractions: Nearly 4 manicured acres of paths, lilacs, benches and a gift shop. Lilacs sell from $2 to $30.

She said she and friend Marjorie Hibbert of Portland “come here practically every year and this is the best so far” in terms of color and fragrance.

? What: Lilac Days at Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens.

? When: Daily through Mother’s Day.

? Where: 115 S. Pekin Road, Woodland. Head into downtown Woodland and follow signs.

? Admission: $2; children younger than 12 free.

? Information: 360-225-8996 or www.lilacgardens.com.

? Attractions: Nearly 4 manicured acres of paths, lilacs, benches and a gift shop. Lilacs sell from $2 to $30.

About 1,000 people visited Saturday and the lilac society sold about 500 lilacs both Saturday and Sunday.

Cameras were everywhere and visitors meandered along paths of brick pavers with lilacs as tall as 15 feet showing off their hues in Sunday’s sunshine.

Vingelen used her camera to record images she hopes to paint. Her lens was focused on not only the lilacs but the water tower and barn red gift shop.

After studying several varieties, Vingelen said, “I’m going for the Arch McKeen,” a purple beauty that blooms midseason.

The Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens Society owns and maintains the house and grounds. There are about 20 volunteers who work year-round and 100 help during Lilac Days.

Board member Roberts saluted the volunteers who saved the place some 35 years ago.

“They started conquering those weeds that were as tall as them,” she said.

Planting advice

Want to add lilacs to your garden? First, they need full sun.

Here are recommendations from Rebecca Roberts of the lilac society.

o Maiden’s Blush: A pink early bloomer with an extreme honeysuckle-like fragrance.

o Frank Klager: Named for Hulda’s husband. Dark purple and a “bloom machine. Frank always comes through.”

o My Favorite: Has a triple row of petals and looks “like purple popcorn.” It was hybridized by Hulda Klager.

o Alexander’s Pink: Has a spicy fragrance.

o Tinkerbelle: Pink and can be grown in a pot on balconies and decks.

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