We are not the world’s greatest territory for growing lilacs, those wonderfully fragrant cones of lilac blooms in spring, which is why you don’t see them around this area a great deal. They favour a more continental climate with cold winters and, preferably, hot summers, heavy soil and more alkaline conditions. Taranaki with its friable, volcanic soils and very mild climate is at the opposite end of the scale. But this dwarf Korean lilac is wonderfully adaptable to our conditions. It doesn’t have as strong a scent as the common lilac (Syringia vulgaris), but it is sweetly perfumed and makes a compact little shrub to about 100cm x 100cm. Like all lilacs, it is deciduous and when its little leaves appear, they are completely in scale to the dainty flowers and the small habit of growth. It is one of those handy little shrubs that you can fit in anywhere in the garden which gets reasonable sun and it will delight you at this time each year as it opens its many panicles of little lavender flowers.