Grrrr..lilac screwup

weeper_11(2b SK)June 18, 2013

So 2 years ago I had ordered 70 syringa vulgaris(common, "old fashioned", french lilac are some of the common names - it is the really, really fragrant old species, not the syringa villosa known as late lilac that is distributed by PFRA) from Select Seedling nursery in Saskatoon. I picked them up, paid for them(about $350) and planted them and was happy. I couldn't afford to have all of our lilacs be this fragrant variety, but I was pleased that the row closest to the house would fill the yard with fragrance.

Now this spring, I am realizing that there was a screw up, and the plants I got were actually syringa villosa. I can tell because the leaf shape/look is quite different between the two, and the flowers on my new little lilacs are identical to the mature villosa lilacs that we already have.

I'm so frustrated! I sent an email to the nursery explaining what happened - I sure hope they offer to reimburse me. But I'm frustrated either way, because I can't do anything about it now, and I STILL don't have any of the lilacs that I wanted!

Grrrr...I should have just gone and dug up a bunch of suckerss from my Mom's place, over a period of a few years..I would have been better off. I'll update you as to whether I hear back from the nursery. It'll be interesting to see their reaction. They better not tell me I'm wrong!

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CLBlakey

Good Luck!! I can't imagine paying that much and not getting what I ordered I'd be choked.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 3:40PM
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northernmn(3/4)

Weeper,

Sorry to hear about such a big mistake from a nursery. You have so much time, energy, money and space tied up in this.

We have a French Lilac that is extremely fragrant. How would I go about determining if it is syringa villosa or vulgaris? We don't seem to get too many suckers because there is landscape matting under the rock around it. Do lilac grow well from cuttings? Our bush is about 9ft so I could get a lot of cuttings to try.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 3:48PM
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weeper_11(2b SK)

Hey northernmn - It probably isn't villosa. You'll have to try the cuttings, I have no idea if they are easy rooters. My guess would be that it is a variety of syringa vulgaris; it has been used extensively for breeding. If it is a very old plant, it might just be the species syringa vulgaris. I would go to google and type in "syringa vulgaris leaves" and then do a separate search for "syringa villosa leaves". They are quite different from each other: vulgaris is more of a heartshaped/arrow shaped leaf, dark green with less substance and texture than the villosa leaf. The villosa leaf is usually a lighter green, has more obvious puckering by the veins, heavier substance, and more of a longish oval shape.

The flowers also look different in person, but based on google pictures it can be hard to tell them apart. Villosa are usually a very light lilac color with darker buds, and vulgaris can vary quite a bit; in my experience they are darker purple or lilac blooms. If it is a variety bred from vulgaris, your best bet is checking the leaves - the colors can range all over the place from white to dark purple, etc.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 4:40PM
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northernmn(3/4)

This isn't very easy to decide. In the last photo, the leaves look like Villosa. (I looked them up as Weeper suggested) Not so much in the 1st photo. They must be Vulgaris.

They certainly are a very late blooming lilac. All of the regular lilacs have bloomed and turned brown already in our area. The blossoms are also smaller and more delicate than regular lilacs.... But that must be because they are French!

This post was edited by northernmn on Tue, Jun 18, 13 at 20:07

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 7:55PM
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weeper_11(2b SK)

Hmm..it is hard to tell in these photos. Villosa are blooming right now, so they very well might be villosa(villosa are approx 10 days to 2 weeks after vulgaris)

To me, they look a bit too "crinkly" to be vulgaris. But the shape looks a little more like vulgaris, so it is hard to be sure. Could just be the lighting.

The flowers also look like my villosa plants...but sometimes vulgaris can have a similar color! Tough! It is much easier to be sure when you have a verifiable tree to compare in real life. I grew up with both, so it is easy to tell in person. Well - whatever it is, at least it is fragrant and nice and bushy!

This post was edited by weeper on Tue, Jun 18, 13 at 21:24

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 9:15PM
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Ginny McLean_Petite_Garden

I have a vulgaris tree that is over 60 years old. Poor thing is tucked into a north west exposure with a huge white spruce in front of it. She still blooms but barely. Would like to propagate but have yet been successful. This lilac is my mom's original that was planted before the porch was built on to the house. Many of them in this old neighbourhood. Extremely fragrant, this one is a pale lilac color and I also have a white one that suckered over from the old neighbours yard. They are beautiful and they get quite big. Good privacy screen. :)

Ginny

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 9:31PM
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Ginny McLean_Petite_Garden

Pale lilac vulgaris

White vulgaris

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 9:53PM
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weeper_11(2b SK)

Ahh, I'd love to cut some of those flowers and put them in a vase right now!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 10:00PM
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CLBlakey

speaking of cutting lilacs if you cut them does that prevent flowers next year. My plant is only about 3 ft tall. Don't want to hurt her. Right now I can only see the tips but I could send hubby out to cut them and bring them in for me.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 11:18PM
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Ginny McLean_Petite_Garden

Pretty sure you can cut them, Cindy. I cut mine every year and every year the old girl blooms again. And often more! :)

Ginny

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 11:59PM
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shazam_z3

If you need to prune, then prune right after it flowers, since lilacs set next years' flower buds right after flowering, so if you leave it too long, you'll be taking off those buds.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 12:47AM
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SouthCountryGuy Zone 4b-5 SE BC(Zone 4b-5 SE BC Canada)

Man that really sucks. I hope they do something for you.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 10:48AM
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CLBlakey

Wha HOo!! looks like I will be getting cut lilacs when hubby comes home. Leads to more blooms I am all in then.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 11:27AM
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SouthCountryGuy Zone 4b-5 SE BC(Zone 4b-5 SE BC Canada)

weeper I am curious to find out if there is an update?

SCG

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 1:46PM
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weeper_11(2b SK)

No email yet..although the woman I've communicated with has been a little slow in the past; 3 days isn't unusual. If she doesn't email by next week I feel like I should phone - but I HATE phone conflict! But I'm not comfortable letting it go either!

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 2:10PM
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SouthCountryGuy Zone 4b-5 SE BC(Zone 4b-5 SE BC Canada)

I understand the conflict thing but there shouldn't be any. IMHO any decent nursery would send a rep. Out to verify the mix up. Then at a bare mininimun refund your money. I asked the nursery I deal with what they would do and they stated you would have the choice of your money back or they would replace the plants. Meaning they would come out with the right ones and replant them for you. They are more expensive than any where else but I deal with them for this exact reason. They stand behind anything they sell. I wish you luck and yeah I would be on the phone pretty quick.

SCG

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 2:59PM
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CLBlakey

My hubby is really good a phone conflict never loses his cool and catches the flaws the companies try to cover. I on the other hand shouldn't be allowed to do this I do get my way most often but sometimes not too nicely.

Got my lilac cut today there was only one flower that had not turned brown :( I was too late. I think I should tape that one just under my nose to get the full effect. I love lilacs. I have a sucker from an old one. Very smelly--- I mean fragrant.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 6:29PM
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SouthCountryGuy Zone 4b-5 SE BC(Zone 4b-5 SE BC Canada)

Curious to how you made out with the nursery. Good news I hope.

SCG

    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 2:50PM
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weeper_11(2b SK)

Oh yes, I forgot to update this!

I did get a response back from the woman I had been communicating with..she pretty much confirmed that "oh, we can't refund it, but you can pick any other trees that you want for the same amount of money!"

I replied pretty aggressively and said that we won't settle for anything less than refund, and that basically this was horrible customer service! I got a quick response back from the actual owner of the nursery assuring me that they would refund if that was what we wanted. I thanked him and said yes, please, a refund is all we want!

So we did get the result we wanted, the damage with the trees is already done(we don't have the time this year to be watering a bunch of newly planted trees), so I guess we'll just get our money back and have to deal with having the villosa lilacs! Oh well..at least they refunded.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 3:07PM
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SouthCountryGuy Zone 4b-5 SE BC(Zone 4b-5 SE BC Canada)

Excellent! Well done. Glad to hear they did the right thing.

SCG

Btw is there going to be some cheap lilacs for sale next spring. LOL

    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 3:23PM
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