Bloomerang is sold by White Flower Farms and others
Long bloom seasons, disease resistance, hardiness, and other
desirable improvements in perennials come at a price. Stella d’Oro blooms its head off all summer
but its ubiquity has rendered it obnoxious to many, Knock-Out roses are
foolproof but have no fragrance, and the long-blooming dicentra can’t begin to
compare with the old-fashioned spectabilis. Sometimes, the trade-off is
worthwhile; I love the foliage of the all-summer dicentra, for instance.
But some critics think the hybridizers have gone too far. Should
a lilac bloom all summer? It’s quite a concept. There are at least two
reblooming lilacs on the market: Josee, and, more recently, Bloomerang, a 3-4-foot
blue/lavender variety developed by Proven Winners. And likely others to come.
I totally understand where the naysayers are coming from. Regardless
of how these new varieties perform, the romance and excitement of lilacs is all
about their brief, glorious moment in spring. Everyone loves lilacs. In spring.
Would Whitman have bothered to write poetry about them if they bloomed in the door-yard
all summer long? I doubt it. So this is what some garden writers are saying
about the reblooming lilac concept:
Kingston of Macleans: The arrival of a reblooming lilac has drawn a fresh line in
the soil between the old and the new gardening guard. Those who eagerly await
the species' fragrant flowering as a harbinger of spring find the prospect of
lilacs blooming again in September akin to watching a burlesque dancer perform
the same act into her dotage—untimely and kind of creepy.
From Bradford McKee of
Slate: In the annals of plant novelties that cheapen gardening for
the sake of enriching it, I can't think of anything so dumb. When you can have
any flower whenever you want it, that's not gardening. That's shopping.
The actual rebloom performance of Bloomerang is not
spectacular: a heavy first flush with some sporadic repeats through fall, with
rests in between. So, really, as long as the spring bloom is up to standards,
should we care if the plant puts out a few flowers afterward from time to time?
Is it that big of a deal? New
hybrids are allowed and people can buy them if they want. Still, I can see why this one might be a
bit disturbing to some.
However, if someone comes up with a smallish lilac that will
bloom in shade, I might have to buy it.