Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens Woodland, WA
Since moving to the Pacific Northwest, I had heard about these gardens that had the most beautiful lilacs, the Lilac Garden. Every year I kept telling myself I wanted to go, but it always slipped passed me. This year, I decided I wasn’t going to let it slip by. The Lilac Garden’s are open year round, but it is a short season that the lilacs are in bloom. During the lilac days at the garden, the lilacs are in bloom and today I’m going to take you around the gardens with me.
What I loved most about the Lilac Gardens is the history and story behind them. The Lilac Gardens are so much more than just a garden, they are a manifestation of one women’s strength and love. That woman was Hulda Klager.
Hulda Klager moved to Washington in 1877 with her family when she was 13. When she got older, she married her husband and had four children, all of which she outlived.
She started growing lilacs in 1905. Hulda loved experimenting, she loved learning, which led her to hybridize the different lilacs to create all new lilacs.
Hulda remains a true inspiration. I deeply admired the way she allowed her curiosity to flourish through experimentation and had the perseverance to fail and try again.
Her home was built by her family when they moved to Washington and it remained in the family until she passed away in 1960 at the age of 97.
The front porch is the perfect oasis for sipping some sweet tea and enjoying the beautiful view of the gardens.
During the Lilac Days at the gardens, Hulda’s home is open for tours.
Within the home, every room is available for viewing. Her bedroom was my favorite. Her room had a touch of simplicity that felt so serene.
Through the home into the yard behind, is where over 90 varieties of lilacs grow.
Throughout the grounds of the gardens, the pathways lead you to beautiful archways, benches, and gazebos.
The gardens’ nursery and gift shop, located in the adorable red barn, are the perfect place to go and get all things lilacs. We picked up quite a few lilac plants of all colors and loved exploring the gift shop.
At the nursery, you can purchase a variety of lilacs, all which are grown in the gardens on the grounds. Special hybrid varieties that Hulda, herself, created are even available in the nursery.
The lilacs throughout the gardens were stunning. The blooms were large, luscious bundles and the most beautiful blooms of lilacs.
The lilacs of pink, purple. blue, and white are all found throughout the grounds.
In front of Hulda’s home are more gardens of a variety of flowers such as wisteria.
Finally, before we wrap up our tour around the gardens I wanted to share an inspiring story behind Hulda Klager.
In 1948, the waters of a nearby river swept across the land of Hulda Klager’s gardens. The water flooded her property and rose to the level of her porch. After spending over 40 years building her lilac gardens, growing her own hybridized creations, spending time and pouring love into her gardens, it was all ruined in a moment.
From losing her husband in 1922 to this moment where her whole life’s work in the gardens was lost, Hulda Klager was on the verge of abandoning her lilacs. She had her moments, her thoughts of giving it all up.
BUT SHE DIDN’T.
The moment I heard this story, I knew just how much Hulda Klager was a remarkable woman.
What would you do?
I, myself, would definitely be leaning towards maybe this wasn’t meant to be.
I imagined myself standing on that porch looking out over my property and seeing everything completely lost. I could feel the devastation building up inside me. I asked myself if I would have the strength to start all over, start from the bottom up all over again.
All I could think about is how much admiration I had for Hulda for being able to start her gardens all over again.
Hulda not only lost her husband, her gardens to a flood, but she also outlived all four of her children. Even in old age, she was out in her gardens in a wheelchair with a long hoe weeding her gardens and tending her lilacs.
When Hulda Klager was on the verge of leaving her love of lilacs behind, the community came together to offer their support. They gathered lilacs they had received from her gardens to help give her something to start with. If it wasn’t for this act of kindness and community, Hulda may have walked away from her gardens. The community extended a hand to help bring hope back into Hulda’s life is a true reminder of how much we can make a difference when we come together especially when times are hard.
Hulda Klager and her Lilac Gardens are incredibly inspiring and a reminder of how even when tragedy strikes, even if you have to start all over again, something beautiful can still come of your hard work. Even if you are 85 years old, like Hulda Klager was when her property was flooded, you can start all over again and still create something beautiful.
I truly enjoyed spending the afternoon at Hulda Klager’s Lilac Gardens. The property is a wonderful place to escape to for an afternoon just sitting on the grounds enjoying a beautiful day. Or if you have the chance I highly recommend attending the gardens during the Lilac Days when the lilacs are in bloom and you can tour the home and gift shop.
I hope you enjoyed taking a tour of the grounds with me and were just as inspired by Hulda Klager and her Lilac Gardens as I was.