Lilacs at the Central Experimental Farm

    Where to Find the Lilacs    

Around the Farm, there are over 800 lilacs of about 325 different types of early, mid, late and very late blooming plants.

There are four readily accessible places (marked in blue on Map of the Farm) to find lilacs:

Ornamental Gardens (A)

Carling Ave in front of K.W. Neatby Building (B)

Campus Area (C)

Arboretum (D)

Ornamental Gardens

The greatest concentration is in the Ornamental Gardens in the Lilac Walks – presently 264 plants of 210 types of early, mid, late and very late bloomers. (Map of Ornamental Gardens)

These are arranged in four rows for easy viewing with plaques showing the name, originator and year of introduction. For an indepth account of these lilacs see Lilacs in the Rows.

A List of the Lilacs in each row can be printed and taken on a walk in the rows.
(Note that changes occur each year so that plaque and inventory information may differ.)

S. ×hyacinthiflora 'Grace'
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The Macoun Memorial Garden in the Ornamental Gardens contains several lilacs, including four of Isabella Preston's early blooming originations, S. ×hyacinthiflora 'Grace', 'Muriel', 'Norah' and 'Patricia'.

Here also can be found S. meyeri 'Palibin', on a standard, and S. reticulata 'Chantilly Lace', a variegated-leaf cultivar of the Japanese tree lilac. Nearby (northwest of the Macoun Memorial Garden) is S. reticulata 'Ivory Silk'. This cultivar, originated by J.J. Pokluda, Sheridan Nurseries, Ontario, is very popular in Ottawa and grown extensively.

Preston Heritage Collection
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The Preston Heritage Collection is in the southern area of the Ornamental Gardens (see map). This planting of Villosae Group lilacs honours Isabella Preston, renowned plant breeder at the Central Experimental Farm, 1920-1946. She pioneered the development of attractive, Canada-hardy, late-blooming lilacs. The collection of 76 includes examples of lilacs developed by Miss Preston, cultivars of other originators throughout the world and seven Villosae series species which have been used in crosses.

A list of the lilacs in this collection can be printed and taken on a walk at bloom time in June.

For an indepth account of these lilacs see Lilacs in the Ornamental Gardens.

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Carling Ave.

S. vulgaris 'Prince Impérial'
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Facing Carling Avenue, in front of the K.W. Neatby Building (Eastern Cereal & Oilseed Research Centre) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Building are a number of lilacs planted in 1982. These are planted in a random manner and provide a spectacular show of colour from mid-May to mid-June.

Cultivars of S. vulgaris predominate, some of which are not found elsewhere on the Farm: 'Arthur William Paul', 'Banquise', 'Comte Horace de Choiseul', 'General John Pershing', 'General Kitchener', 'Pinkie', and 'Prince Impérial'. Most plants have an accompanying plaque.

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Campus Area

S. 'Grace Mackenzie'
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Immediately in front (to the south) of the William Saunders Building is a grouping of 10 lilacs. Cultivars here, not found elsewhere, are S. vulgaris 'Alice Eastwood' and 'Decaisne'.

Among others in the area are S. 'Grace Mackenzie' and S. vulgaris 'Maud Notcutt'.

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S. reticulata and subsp. amurensis
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On the slope just south of the toboggan hill is the site of the original plantings in the 1890s. Many were moved, but a few S. vulgaris cultivars and tree lilacs remain. Among the latter is S. pekinensis, planted in 1902. Other tree lilacs in the area are several plants of S. reticulata (Japanese tree lilac) and subsp. amurensis (Amur or Manchurian lilac).

S. wolfii
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Further to the east and south, along the Farm road, is a grouping which includes the two oldest Farm lilacs, S. vulgaris var. alba and var. purpurea (planted 1889). Further east is a grouping of species lilacs: S. emodi, S. komarowii and subsp. reflexa, S. oblata, S. ×persica, S. pubescens subsp. patula, S. sweginzowii, S. tomentella, S. wolfii, and S. yunnanensis.

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Building 72, Arboretum, Central Experimental Farm, Ottawa, Canada K1A 0C6     Tel: (613) 230-3276    Fax: (613) 230-1238    E-mail: