Browsing through an old copy of The Gardener magazine – Tom Cooper’s superb but short-lived venture put out by White Flower Farm a few years ago – I came across a piece entitled The Communist Lilacs!
It was by Peter Schneider (author of Taylor's Guide to Roses ) and discussed the range of large-flowered, super fragrant lilacs raised in Russia in the middle of the last century. I’d forgotten all about them. They sound fantastic - especially the names.
Obviously they were all originally named in Russian – but in English they have names like ‘Beauty of Moscow’, ‘Banner of Lenin’, ‘Soviet Arctic Region’ and, from 1958, originally ‘Korok let Komsomola’ - splendidly translated as ‘40th Anniversary of the Communist Youth League’!
Now I often think that some of the names of modern hostas and daylilies are pretty extraordinary – Hosta ‘Outhouse Door’ and Hemerocallis ‘How Beautiful Heaven Must Be’, for example. But surely nothing beats Syringa vulgaris ‘40th Anniversary of the Communist Youth League’!
Image © Lottah Nursery, with thanks.