Lilacs Will Be Out Soon, But Do You Know Their Original Purpose?
Maybe it's because of the extremely agreeable weather the last few days, and the promise of even warmer days by the end of the week, but I think I have a little case of spring fever. No, it's not COVID-19. I've just gotten a taste of summer, and I want more of it. And with this time of year, comes the delicious smell of lilacs.
Yes, I'm a 6'2" bald, tattooed musician/DJ that loves the smell of lilacs. I also love hummingbirds. I think chipmunks are cute too. Baby goats? Sign me up! Never judge a book by it's cover. Anyhoo, we have a few lilac bushes in my yard, because I want to smell them wherever I go outside. But do you know what their original purpose was?
Think about it for just a second... they smell pretty. I mean sure, they look nice enough, but it's their scent that really please folks the most. They're not some mega-beauty in the foliage department. But again, it's the smell..... That's a pretty big hint. But probably not as big as the hint of grossness that lilacs were battling.
See, that's because lilacs used to go next to the outhouse, for a pretty obvious reason. They smell nice... the outhouse doesn't. And if you ever wondered why at old houses, they're all in row? Whenever the outhouse was too, uuhh... full, they'd move it down. And they would then plant another bush on top of it. Talk about fertilizer!!
From what I read in this article, it was all the rage 100-150 years ago. No one was landscaping back then. Back when you grew your own food, slaughtered your own animals, and wore clothes made from burlap sacks, you didn't really give a crap what your yard looked like.
You cared about not having the smell of someone's digest dinner wafting through your house. Now, the practical side of me wonders, what about when the flowers were gone? Does it just go back to becoming a stink pile? They only bloom for a very precious few weeks, that certainly aren't the hottest part of the summer.
But hey... while I solved one Scooby Doo mystery today, I suppose it just made new questions for me. Maybe this is where landscaping came from. Just trying to find new ways to hide the smells of the outhouse, and face it, probably the cows and chickens too. That'll just have to be for another time.