Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens
Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens in the Snow

Photography by Noel Johnson - Click to enlarge.

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I remember the first time my wife and I visited the Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens many years ago. As we got out of our car we could smell the lilacs even from the parking lot. This brought back memories of my childhood back on the farm in Wisconsin. Even though the ground would freeze solid and be covered with a several inches of snow, the spring thaw would come. One of the first shrubs to bloom would be our old fashioned lilac bushes. I would pick bouquets and bring them into the house for my mom. She always made a big fuss over them and commented how lilacs were her favorite spring blossoms.

Yesterday, January 17, 2007, I decided to walk to the Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens so I could take pictures of the gardens in the snow. The first thing I noticed, as I opened the gate to the gardens, was how still and quiet it was. There were no footprints in the snow. Mine were the first and it gave me a special, privileged feeling. Everything looked like it was covered by a thick layer of white frosting. I walked around and didn't even like leaving my own footprints. Some Christmas lights were peeking up just above the snow covered walkway, and I thought how colorful it would be if they were turned on.

This hardly seemed like the same place I visit during Lilac Days. It is so much fun to see and hear all the visitors exclaiming how these are the most beautiful lilacs they have ever seen. Mothers hold down the branches of blooms for their children to smell. The fragrance is so strong it is almost unbelievable. Everyone is snapping pictures so they can remember the lovely lilacs. in whites, pinks, lavenders and deep purples. On this day I wondered what Hulda Klager may have thought as she saw snow like this on her gardens. I remembered reading that a freeze in the winter is good for lilacs.

Walking out the gate, I felt the cold and heard the crunch of the snow under my feet. I will be back in a few short months, I thought. I will treasure this snow scene in my memory when I take pictures in the spring and the flowers are in bloom.

So-- the seasons come and the seasons go.

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