A rather random weather pattern this spring resulted in an intoxicating display by the lilacs throughout the Mohawk Valley this year.  Though now past their prime, I spent many evenings over the last several weeks sitting on the knoll beneath their branches.  I cannot adequately capture their scent in words, so I decided to take a walk around The Beekman Farm and capture as many variations of the color purple as I could in honor of their magnificent seasonal display.  It was a revealing experiment.  You should try choosing one color and walking around your yard and identifying how many times you can spot it.  I guarantee there will be things you have overlooked.

img_5638irissand cherrywildflowerswildflowerschiveswildflowersalliumpurple flowersrhubarb

Wild Violets

weeping cherry at sunset
by Dr. Brent

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Hello again Dr. Brent:

Your mention of Lavender Lemon Sorbet got my mouth watering so I searched for and found a great recipe for it. I've made it quite a few times already and find that it's not only delicious, it's very easy to make, and so refreshing on a hot day.


4 cups of water

1 cup of sugar

zest of one lemon

1/4 cup of fresh-squeezed lemon juice

2 – 3 teaspoons of culinary dried lavender blossoms

In a medium saucepan mix all ingredients together and bring to a boil over medium heat.

Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes

Refrigerate for 4 hours or chill in an ice bath

Strain the mixture to remove all solids and pour into an ice cream maker. Freeze according to manufacturer's directions.

Any edible purple blossoms or thin strands of lemon zest would make a beautiful garnish for this sorbet.

NOTE: When I store the finished sorbet in my freezer it usually freezes too hard to serve easily. I recommend setting the container of frozen sorbet out at room temperature at the start of a meal. It should be softened slightly by the time you serve it for dessert.


Any purple flower brings joy to my heart, but I especially love Lilacs! Thank you for sharing these beautiful photos! They inspire me to breath fully!


I recently planted my first garden (granted, it's a tiny urban garden in a small patio space), and I have been amazed by nature. Thank you for sharing these beautiful photos of your flowers. They're so very inspiring!


Here in the Pacific Northwest an abundant purple herb which is also grown commercially is Lavender. On drives in the country I see many large fields of it grown for plant stock as well as extraction of the lavender essential oil.

Here is one of my favorite recipes which features Lavender:


Makes about 1 quart

If you don’t like lavender it can be omitted from the recipe or replaced with a vanilla bean. But in that case you’d have to call this ice cream something else ……

2 cups whole milk

1/4 cup dried lavender blossoms

1/3 cup honey

5 large egg yolks

1/4 cup sugar

1 cup heavy cream

In a medium saucepan, combine milk, lavender, and honey. Bring to a gentle boil, cover, and remove from heat. Let steep for 5 minutes. Strain mixture through a very fine sieve or cheesecloth, reserving milk and discarding lavender.

Combine egg yolks and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until very thick and pale yellow, 3 to 5 minutes. Meanwhile, return milk to a medium saucepan, and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat.

Add half of the milk in stages to the egg-yolk mixture, and whisk until blended to “temper the eggs”. Stir mixture into remaining milk, and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.

Remove from heat and immediately stir in the cream. Strain mixture into a medium mixing bowl set in an ice-water bath. Let stand until chilled, stirring from time to time. Freeze in an ice-cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Store in an airtight plastic container up to 2 weeks. NOTE: the color of the lavender blossoms will not appear in your finished ice cream but the flavor and aroma of lavender will.

Dr. Brent

Hi, Roger

This sounds delicious. We can't wait to give it a try. Another nice combination is a lavender and lemon sorbet.


Your purples are very inspiring! Here in Bali we have purple leafed plants, orchids, flowers but no lilacs! Keep sharing. We are focused on sustainable food production with beauty


Had to leave a note on this article. I was born and grew up in WNY. I now live in Lowcountry SC. As much as I love the area I'm in now, I miss the NY seasons. There are no lilacs here, too warm I guess. My mom and grandparents and mostly everyone had a lilacs in their yard in NY! I miss them so much. I do have the scent of magnolias here, as wonderful a smell as you could ask for as a sub for lilacs!

Dr. Brent

Hi, Share

I grew up in the south, so I know how fragrant the magnolias can be. I'm literally overwhelmed at the fragrance of the lilacs. So incredible.


ahh, refreshing and vibrant. i see some seuss-like flora amongst your garden. whimsical and wild and well…purple! a lovely idea to stroll through your own 'yard' and rediscover. on my summer list 'to do'.

and your new 'masthead' is equally brilliant. love the brightest blues.


i always like mr. pine's purple house… though i suppose harold and his purple crayon is pretty cool too. xoxo



The flowers between the chives & allum are? Just curious, how long is your morning walk around the garden? I spend about an hour myself–drinking coffee and deadheading. Now that May is almost over, have your replace the storms with screens–I though of you when I was replacing mine. There is nothing better than the first time you open the windows in the spring–getting rid of winter's staleness. have a good week.


Dr. Brent

Hi, Bill
I usually take a quick stroll right before heading into the soap shop. Your guess is as good as mine on those tiny flowers. They are a wildflower of some sort that have found their way into our flower garden. Maybe one of the other readers will be able to identify?

The screens are still in the basement—we are still getting frost-laden nights up here!


Hi Dr. Brent – Thanks soooooo much for sharing! I was visiting Saratoga this past week and I also commented about the beautiful Lilacs. I now reside in Florida and appreciate the various shades of greens, purples, etc. much more then when I lived in NY. Thanks again!


How very beautiful! Great photography! You must have a purple thumb for flowers 🙂