I have always loved lilacs. My mom had three humongous lilac plants in the back yard - we had purple, white and a purplish-pink shade. They stood higher than our garage and she rarely pruned them except around the garage door. They were sort of free-range plants and were, therefore, absolutely beautiful!!! Lilacs bloom on old wood. Often when a bush is pruned, those branches may not bloom for up to two years afterward. Since she rarely trimmed, Mom's were always super full.
Quite a few years ago, I decided I wanted the same effect in my yard. I went out and bought a lilac bush in one of those 3-gallon buckets and planted that little twig in the center of the back yard. It remained rather weak and scrawny looking for the rest of the season. It had three blooms on its tiny little branches that year. The next season, it grew a second branch and had no blooms. The year after that, it barely had leaves - let alone blooms. The Big Guy wanted to dig it up but I made him leave it.
He took pity on me and bought me a new plant which he planted right next to the original. That one grew but did not bloom that season. The next year, the newest plant had grown considerably and was full of green leaves but did not bloom. The old plant had leaves on one branch and one bloom.
After much research, I found most lilacs won't bloom the first three years. (Maybe that should be printed on their tags!) Since the original plant had a few blooms that first year, I was told it was probably a graft which explains why the other branches died off. Each year since, there have been a few more blooms on both plants. The second has always been the best performer. Last year, they actually looked somewhat full. This year, there are actually a number of buds on the plants. It just began to bloom on Saturday but I couldn't resist taking and sharing pictures already.
Since my lilacs give me so much pleasure while they are blooming, I wanted to see what lilac products other Etsy folks had to offer. There's quite a bit out there, so i did a Spotlight on http://www.byhand.me/ featuring nothing but lilac items: