Wet, changeable weather no problem for Rochester's lilacs

May 11, 2017

The erratic spring weather has turned out to be just what the lilacs needed.

Rochester's famous flowering shrubs will reach their peak bloom during the Lilac Festival, which starts Friday.

Monroe County Parks horticulturalist Mark Quinn was worried when the temperatures were in the 70s and 80s several weeks ago. 

“I was thinking 'Wow, these things are gonna bloom early on us.' But what happened is, we got all this cool, overcast weather and it's held them perfectly. They're going to be right on time."

Quinn says while lilacs definitely don't like damp weather, the unusually wet spring hasn't been a problem.

"Fortunately for us, the bulk of our collection is on a hillside, so it drains very well. Not only that, the soil at Highland Park is very sandy."

Quinn has a tip for lilac lovers. He suggests going to the park in the early morning or early evening.

"Because you get a better experience of the fragrance. Usually you get less breeze just before sunset and early in the morning and it really is a nice time to view lilacs. My favorite time? Early evening."

The Lilac Festival runs through Sunday, May 21.