I know we are only in February but soon enough spring will be here and plants and shrubs will be blooming. One of my favorite plants to smell during the spring months is blooming lilac bushes. The fragrant smell reminds me of my grandma's house, and it seems no matter where go outside the City of St. Cloud you seem to find one growing near every farmhouse. So what gives? Well, there are two MAIN reasons we see so many lilacs growing 'out in the country'.

Image Credit: maria willow via unsplash
Image Credit: maria willow via unsplash
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While lilac bushes are beautiful, landscaping wasn't really what those early Minnesotans were looking for when they planted a lilac bush. The first reason we see so many lilac bushes near old farmhouses is that lilacs were often used to mark the graves of miscarried children. I know that is a sad thought, but it was a way to remember and honor a lost child.

The second reason, and probably the grossest reason why people would plant a lilac out near their farmhouse was to offset the scent coming from their outhouse.

Image Credit: jael coon via unsplash
Image Credit: jael coon via unsplash
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When an outhouse got too 'full' or smelly it would then be moved, and a lilac often would be planted in where the outhouse used to be. So many times on these old farm sites, you'll see a row of lilac bushes.

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Thankfully the invention of indoor plumbing has changed the thought behind planting a lilac bush, but knowing what you know now, the next time you are out driving around in the country and you see a lilac bush maybe you'll think twice about it.

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