The Lilac Lady

Hood River Trip 2013 100

Recently we made an unscheduled trip to Hood River.  On our way home we stopped at the Hulda Klager Lilac Garden in Woodland, Washington (21 miles north of Portland).  As usual I learned something new.  I not only learned about Hulda Klager, but I also learned something about tenacity.

Hulda was obviously a clever woman.  While recovering from an illness she used her time to study a book about hybridizing plants.  First she worked at hybridizing apples.  Later she became absorbed in the process of hybridizing lilacs.  During the span of 5 years she created 14 new varieties of lilac.   Within fifteen years she had created so many varieties that she began holding an open house every spring.

Unfortunately in 1948 the swirling waters of the Columbia River flooded her home and garden.  It would have been easy for Hulda to say, forget it and move on, she was already 83 years old.  But Hulda wasn’t finished yet.  Many of the people who had bought or been gifted lilacs from Hulda brought plant starts to Hulda so that she could rebuild her garden.    In only two years she opened her garden for lilac week once again.

Today the gardens are a national landmark and maintained by the Lilac Society.   For more information the link is

We spent an afternoon wandering through the gardens.  It was the perfect time to stop.  We were fortunate that on such an impromptu stop we found the gardens and the home open.   The old farmhouse is only open for viewing three weeks a year.

In the gardens we enjoyed the silky fragrance of lilac.  In the house we explored the furnishings of a past era.  The docents were knowledgeable and delightful.  The story of the preservation of the house and grounds is its own lesson in tenacity.  Without the efforts of the volunteers this story would be finished…the grounds would be filled with condominiums or apartment buildings. But because of the dedication of this group of tireless volunteers the story goes on.

Written for three word Wednesday:  clever, finish, silky.