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