Join us for the Where Lilacs Still Bloom Blog Hop, the inspirational garden & first chapter

Welcome! This week we are celebrating the release of Where Lilacs Still Bloom which just released on April 17th.  You will meet inspirational and best-selling authors, and hopefully be touched by the story of Hulda Klager's life and legacy of her lilacs.  What's a blog hop without prizes?...Not one of my blog hops!  Visit here for those details.
April 23-27: Where Lilacs Still Bloom Blog Hop
Tuesday: Sandra Byrd
Wednesday: Cindy Woodsmall
Thursday: Katie Ganshert

Hulda Klager's lilac gardens offered an unanswered question: what was it about this garden that drew thousands of visitors in the 1920s to Woodland, Washington, a small town north of Portland, Oregon? People came by train and cars, by steam boat and some even walked. Was it the story of her perseverance, that she endured chronic floods with their small acreage nestled between the Columbia River and the Lewis? Maybe it was her admirable character, a woman who taught herself horticulture and then used her skills and knowledge to pursue a passion? Gardens were of interest in the 1920s, that's certain but to come so far just to see a lilac or two?
The "Iron Garden" is in front. Shaped like an iron, Hulda created it because she said it was a close to a flat iron as she wanted to get!
Once I visited there, I discovered something of the answer. There is beauty there and Hulda's spirit of giving seems to hover over the Ginkgo Tree, mist around the over-flowing basket held by a sculptured young girl. (The statue on the cover of Where Lilacs Still Bloom is an actual statue in the garden). Hulda's delight in flowers for their own sake, reminding us that though they may be fleeting, the aroma of lilac, the delicacy of a Sweet William are meant to be savored, to take time for.

There is a story in the Gospel of Mark where Jesus is visiting in the home of a leper and a woman breaks an expensive alabaster jar and pours the perfume over his feet in a sign of honor. Jesus disciples are horrified we're told, deciding that her gesture is a waste of good resources. The perfume could have been sold and the money given to the poor. But Jesus tells them in some translations that "she has done a good service." But the Greek word used is not Agathos, that suggests utility but rather Kalon that is translated as something not only good but lovely. (This distinction was noted by a Lutheran Pastor from River Forest, Illinois in a piece he wrote for Christina Century Magazine.) I love the idea that Jesus understood that something was good AND lovely AND perhaps even a unique expression of anointing.

I think that's what I felt when I first entered Hulda's garden, a kind of anointing. Here was a woman who left behind something lovely, something good, an honoring of creation by the way she lived her life and by the way she helped a small plot of land to flourish. I believe it's what others experience and what they told their friends about who then began making an annual trek to Woodland each spring between April 21 and Mother's Day.

Last year's bloom, Hulda's Lilac
We're at 3000 feet altitude here so my lilacs won't be blooming for awhile yet. But I happily await the blooming of my lilacs from her garden...they've leafed out but the promise of spring is still head! And I hope to see lots of you in Woodland that opening weekend when we will be in the presence of flowers appreciated for their beauty and for Kalon, something lovely.

If one tangible item represented you and the mark you want to make on this world when you leave, what would it be?

Interested in reading the first chapter? Great! Here it is: First Chapter, Where Lilacs Still Bloom

A few other points to note:
  • We continue to collect Spring-time Pins on the Pinterest Community board, Celebrating Spring with Friends.  Anyone can participate, just visit the link.
  • Not on Pinterest? Share your photos that speak of Spring to you on my Facebook page
  • In honor of Where Lilacs Still Bloom, Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group is giving away a membership to receive flowers for a year.  Enter here to win.
  • Don't for get to visit & comment on each blog so you can enter to win!
  • You can also follow me on Twitter, and you might find the monthly Story Sparks of interest too.

Will plan to see you tomorrow over at Sandra Byrd's place


jewels67 said…
loved the first chapter.. can't wait to see what is in store next
jewels67 said…
i tweeted this, blogged it, facebook paged it.. lol
I really really enjoyed reading this book for a review! I highly recommend it! Thank you Jane!
Lane Hill House said…
Oh, I can just smell those lilacs!! Would love to have Hulda's lilacs here at our home in Missouri!!
Lane Hill House said…
"If one tangible item represented you and the mark you want to make on this world when you leave, what would it be?"
My journals, written in notebooks with Scripture notations, sermon notes, and prayers for my children within.
Donna said…
My tangible item would have to be a quilt. I still have many more to make. A lilac quilt is in my future!
Anonymous said…
Choosing one tangible item is so difficult. Mike and I together said "a tree." Being tree farmers, trees have always been our livelyhood as well as a symbol of endurance. Through all of our life's struggles, trees have been a part of it. One particular favorite is the Turkish fir, from the area of Mt. Arrarat. We have a group of Sequioa Gigantias that have become a sheltered play place for our granchildren. I would also want to include my Bible with all my underlinings and notes. And, photos I've taken of all the special times with kids and grandkids.

Marea Stone
Joyce P. said…
I enjoy hearing stories about heroes hidden in the past! I had a tough time coming up with a tangible item, but I guess it would be a blackberry cobbler. It represents family heritage, hospitality, and my Oregon home...(and my love of dessert).
Theresa N. said…
Tangible? I have no idea. Family is the most important thing to me so all my everts go into it. I love to garden but I'm not a master gardener, so that's out.
Theresa N
weceno(at)yahoo(dot)com said…
I love lilacs! My parents gave me two little sprigs from their garden several springs ago. I am babying them along (although my dog seems to enjoy pruning them each year which hasn't helped matters). I admire those who can produce bountiful blooms.

My one tangible thing? As a children's writer, I hope to one day leave a picture book that can be shared by mother and child.

The cover of your book is beautiful!
Jen Guyer said…
I hope my children and the lives of others I have touched will show that I have done a good thing here. I also hope to one day finish my works in progress books and that they would be a testament.
Adrienne said…
I live in the Portland area and I LOVE Hulda's garden. Can't wait to read your book - I've read them all! What an inspiration Hulda is to us to be passionate and work for change in some part of our world. My tangible item to leave behind? Perhaps my photos and writing on my blog which will soon be in album form for my children and grandchildren to read and enjoy - and perhaps know my heart a bit better. It's for sure they will see my faith and my pride of and love for each of them is a thread that is woven through it all.
Thanks, Angie. I like your email name too, Pebblekeeper. My pockets are always full after a visit to the beach!
What a treasure those journals will be for your children. My sister started journals every January but never got past that month. After she died, the journals were given to me. I thought one day I'd write a book based on her and call it "The January Journals" Your journals with scripture and sermon notes would be a great gift to leave.
Yes, a lilac quilt would be beautiful. If you live anywhere near Hulda's gardens, they have a lilac quilt as part of a raffle for a fund-raiser!
I know Marea and wonder how you have time to do so many wonderful things for your children and grandchildren! Our Christmas tree last year came from the tree farm and it was a Turkish fir! We loved it! Whatever you leave behind I know will bless your family!
Yum! blackberry cobbler. What a treat THAT would be. And I know how to make it gluten-free! Great idea.
Maybe you'll write a story about your family...that would be a great tangible item to leave behind.
Perfect! Stories are the best gifts of all.
A friend once told me that somedays we have to live the story and write about it later. I suspect you'll finish those books. I often say that our lives are the stories other people read first. Your children are wonderful "stories."
I love the image of weaving your faith and your love for them. Your photos and writing will be a treasure for each of them. What a great idea!
I hope you'll like the rest of the book too! It was a great project to work on, getting to know flowers a little better and discover a persevering and generous woman in the process. Thanks for posting!
Jax said…
Actually, the one tangible item that best represents me is probably my camera. I'd say photos, but that's more than one item. :) I love to take photos and take thousands of photos a year.
Anonymous said…
About 60 pages in and loving it as I have all your books! Enjoyed visiting the gardens this past weekend, picking up a copy of the book, meeting you, and buying a lilac to plant! Hopefully it will grow here at the coast!
Hmmmmm, tangible item . . . That's a tough one. Maybe photo albums full of pictures of happy moments! I love old family photos. Maybe I can leave some for future generations to enjoy!
(1st time commenting on blog - having a little trouble with commenting as part so I hope this works!)

Suzy Roehr
Stephanie said…
Jane I am so excited to read the rest of your story! I love lilacs and so that drew me in. Then all of the talk about grafting, starting shoots, and of course the love of family held me captive. I did try to go to the blog on Tuesday but I could not read the words as they were the same color as the background. Sorry! Did visit Cindy's blog though. Great job!
Bec. said…
What tangible item will I leave behind? Besides my teddy bear collection which no one will want, it would have to be my scrapbooks. I don't keep up with them as I should but I do have a large one I made for my grandmother's 90th birthday that I should probably add to since she will be 100 in a few months.
Brenda Stimely said…
Hmmm....a tangible item? I guess my Bible. I hope my kids will always see that and remember me reading from it and that it was the source of everything that defined my life.
joy said…
I love reading these type books. Hope I'm a winner
Judy said…
My tangible item...actually it would be items. My Mom's quilt and her Bible. My sister and brother were kind enough to let me have these items of Moms when we went through the task of cleaning out Mom's apartment. She died on January 27, 2012. I will always cherish them!

Judy said…
I forgot to leave my e-mail address!
Anonymous said…
Email is
Your posting worked, Susy! I remember you at the gardens! I hope you win too. Be sure to visit the other blogs on the list and leave a message there too! Thanks for your tangible item suggestion. Photos are always a good thing to leave sure to write who is in the picture and a date on the back!
Anonymous said…
I have more information about Mary from other books if you're ever interested, I'd love to share! :)
Emma said…
What tangible item will I leave behind?Lot of pictures.Where Lilacs Still Bloom sounds wonderful.Please enter me for a chance to win an autographed copy of Where Lilacs Still Bloom. Thank you for the opportunity to win.