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Column: Stop to enjoy the sweet scent of lilacs

Last year at this time their season was over and this year the buds are just beginning to appear. What a difference a year makes.

The lilac bush is one of the most fragrant and beautiful signs of spring. Some years they are past their peak by Memorial Day, their flowers spent, and other years like this year they are just starting to bloom.

The foamy pastel blooms puts them over the edge. More evocative than most floral scents, a mere whiff revives spring time memories. Maybe you passed a bush on your walk to school or even had one outside your bedroom window.

The lilac is an easy bush to grow. You merely pick a nice sunny spot, dig a hole, line it with mulch and fill it with dirt. A lilac bush can grow 10 feet tall and spread up to 10 feet. In the spring after they bloom, dead or weak branches can be cut off. If there is a thick branch, it's best to cut it off. New thin branches will grow the next year. Be sure you wait until the bush is done blooming before you do any pruning. The lilac needs to be watered during the summer. It can be trimmed and used as a border in your yard.

Years ago there were few varieties: a deep purple, the double white and a French lilac bush, which was smaller with dark purple blossoms. Today there are many varieties of all sizes and colors.

Every fall as their leaves turn, large buds appear on the branches signaling a bountiful spring show of color and fragrance. As you enjoy Memorial Day weekend, stop and enjoy the beauty of these old but always welcome flowers of spring.

Rhubarb brunch cake

1 yellow cake mix

1 cup water

1 cup vegetable oil

3 large eggs

4 cups chopped rhubarb

1 cup sugar

1 pint heavy whipping cream, whipped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 13x9 pan. Combine cake mix, water, oil and eggs. Pour in pan. Combine rhubarb and sugar. Sprinkle over cake. Pour cream over. Bake 75 to 80 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean