Mackinac Island Lilac Festival 2012

The 63rd, 2012 Mackinac Island Lilac Festival starts today on beautiful Mackinac Island and runs through Sunday June 17th, Lilac Festival Parade Day.

The first land in the Upper Peninsula celebrating Mackinac’s Lilac collection began in 1949 after a conversation with Evangilene “Ling” Horn and Nurse Stella King who encouraged the then teen and today’s Mackinac Island Carriage Tours veterinarian Dr. Bill Chambers to have a parade on Lilac Sunday, to bring people to the Island to enjoy a great horse drawn parade amidst the lovely lilacs that fragrance the Island in June. What began as a one day event called the Mackinac Island Lilac Day has blossomed into a ten day festival.  Look forward to seeing you.

The schedule of events are located at this link:

From the big bands to,

the horse and buggies to,

Lilacs, Lilacs, Lilacs….

Lilacs, Lilacs, Lilacs….

Lilacs, Lilacs, Lilacs….

Lilacs, Lilacs, Lilacs….

10k race Sat morning at 9:30

Round Island Lighthouse Open House for July 14th, 2012 information attached. This benefits the Round Island Lighthouse Preservation Society.

 For more information please visit this site:

Many bands will come to the Island to perform,

and more then 6 weddings will celebrate there special day during the Lilac Festival.

Friday June 15th, is the Market Street Art Gallery Walk Open House from 6pm to 10pm. Artistic Mackinac Gallery & Studio is located on the corner of Astor & Market St. Come and visit us and see painting artist Noel Skiba who won 2nd place in the Mackinac Island Lilac Festival Poster Contest. Also, our governor Rick Synder requested a painting from Noel to be used for The Mackinac Island governors mansion  invitations while in office. Come and watch Noel paint live in person.

Come and join the fun On Beautiful Mackinac Island.

All pictures owned and copyright: Steven  Blair  Artistic Mackinac Gallery & Studio.  231-631-2002

A Recipe for Great Lilacs
by Jeff Young

Mr. Young is the Lilac Curator at the University of Vermont Horticultural Research Center and is a Vermont Master Gardener and Park Arborist. He presented the Walk and Talk with Lilacs program during the Mackinac Island Lilac Festival in June.

Lilac Culture
Common Lilacs need to have 9-12 canes for each 6 feet

Leave at least 2 feet between mature Lilacs.

Plant new shrubs 16 feet apart (circular shape)

Allow for a few more canes if you are planting as a hedge with less depth.

Use the ratio of canes (9-12 per 6’ in dia.) to the space available. Use the drip line as your perimeter

Determine the canes to be removed or added.

If too many canes, consider the oldest canes for removal first, leaving good spacing between canes.

If not enough canes, pick one or two of the best suckers each year until there are enough.

Once the Lilac is established, consider adding one new cane and removing the oldest cane each year to create a vigorous, healthy full flowering plant.

Lilacs like full sun or at least 10 hrs/day. If sun is limited sun should be full in the morning.

Avoid excessively windy locations, cold won’t kill a lilac, but wind will.

When placing a plant look for what surrounding trees will look like in the future.

Lilacs don’t like wet feet; they need good drainage, slopes are best.

Lilac Health
Apply 2” of compost each spring 18” on either side of the drip edge

Apply 2” of ground bark mulch each spring from 18” outside of the drip edge toward the center

Keep mulch 6” away from any cane.

In succeeding years work the compost into the previous year’s compost and mulch

Reduce compost and mulch accordingly to avoid a buildup of over 4”

Lilacs like 7.0 to 7.3 pH, normally lime the soil along with the mulch.

If you suspect the soil has a pH lower than 6.5, do a soil test.

Normally, 3-4 cups of pelleted lime for a mature shrub, more if the pH is below 6.5.

Fertilizer should not be necessary, but

If the Lilac needs a boost after a drought or excessively wet year, use sparingly (2-3 cups) of 5-10-5 or 4-12-8;

Always apply any fertilizer along with the mulch.

The number one reason Lilacs decline is soil compaction.

Avoid fertilized lawn to about 18” outside the drip edge.

Avoid heavy foot traffic or lawn tractors to 2-3 feet from the drip edge.

Do not use herbicide (weed and feed) to within 10’ down slope of the Lilac.

The second reason Lilacs fail is string trimmer and lawn mower damage.

Small bark damage will limit the health of a shrub, weaken the cane and make it susceptible to disease.

Lilac Pruning
Heavy pruning should be done right after the flowers have passed.

Spring pruning should be done to remove winter damage.

Deadheading the lilac will improve the shrubs ability to flower each year; and producing seed.

Most lilacs are cultivars, they can only be reproduced by cloning.

Seed from a cultivar will always be a different shrub

By allowing a lilac to seed, there is a risk of a new plant with a different flower.

Look for disease several times a year. lilac borer is rare, lilac leaf miner common.

Kill lilac borer in the hole, seal any hole with garden wax or potters clay, evaluate each year

Leaf miner usually does minimal damage and is easily recognized by its ink spot signature

For leaf miner, remove ink spot section of the leaf and destroy.

Most other disease issues are addressed by good maintenance practices.

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Notice: After 22 years and over 900 weddings I am retiring from the wedding industry. If there are any bride and groom's that are still considering purchasing their copyrights to their pictures. Please message me or email and pass this on. It has been a "Spactabulas" amazing adventure and I met so many beautiful & wonderful people on my journey photographing one of many special days of your lives. I'm humbled to have had this opportunity to be a part of your special day. I will continue to sell my freelance work online & on Facebook. Another chapter with magical, music memories from beautiful Mackinac Island, MI. To all my family and friends, I miss you all so much. PL&H.