Beauty of Moscow Is a Bittersweet Lilac Delight
July 1, 2013
Allan in Flowering Shrubs, beauty of moscow, fragrant flowers, krasavitsa moskvy, lilac, linda stanzel, syringa

image:- portersnurseries.comIt should be no surprise to other passionate plant collectors that when syringa “Beauty of Moscow” a.k.a. Krasavitsa Moskvy, was introduced, I was compelled to buy one for myself.

In truth, I didn’t need another lilac shrub. There were already too many growing in my garden. However, the hype accompanying this new plant was strong and, like many other gardeners who can hardly wait for the next wowing plant to become available, I succumbed to the charms of the publicity, without waiting for other gardeners’ feedback.

As is often the case in my area, new varieties are not immediately included in wholesalers’ inventory. Growers and distributors in USDA Zone 4 need to test grow a plant for hardiness before they are comfortable offering it to the public. Since I was impatient, it was necessary to order Beauty of Moscow from a mass-market catalogue house.

image:- plants unlimited.comUsually, I try not to buy from such sources. Some of you already know that these suppliers outrageously ship seedling-sized plants at prices that are equivalent to those of one or two-year-old potted plants sold at nurseries. Consequently, the size of the Beauty of Moscow lilac that I received in the mail was pitifully small for the price I paid.

After watching it develop at a very slow pace and eventually reading what other gardeners reported, I am now pessimistic about the future of this plant in my garden. Some have been dismayed by its early sparseness. That is, it did not produce lush leaves, while branches sprout at a distance from one another, leaving large negative spaces in between. Others find that it is invasive because it suckers too much.

Clearly, this plant is sold only for its superlatives. The flower heads of Beauty of Moscow are larger than the blooms on any other lilac shrub growing in my garden. It sports huge, deep pink flower buds that open into enormous white petals. The combination and contrast of the pink buds with white petals is stunning.  It is also extremely fragrant, exuding a powerful, hypnotic and sweet perfume.  

This flowering shrub cannot satisfy everyone’s gardening needs. Homeowners looking for a multipurpose, tall, lush shrub with minimal maintenance are advised to choose among the endless varieties of more conventional lilac shrubs that are available everywhere.

However, gardeners who always hunt for the next intense sensory experience, and who are comfortable buying plants they don’t really need – and there are many of us who belong to this group :) - will be delighted with syringa Beauty of Moscow, even though they might end up fighting to stop it from suckering. We gardeners are a very unusual group!

Click here for a magnificent copyrighted image of this lilac's flowerhead, taken by Linda Stanzel.

Article originally appeared on Garden Design, Montreal, Perennial Flower Gardens, Gardening Tips, Gardening Advice, Gardening Book Reviews (http://allanbecker-gardenguru.squarespace.com/).
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