Ask a Question forum: Syringa vulgaris 'Rochester'

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Name: Carol Sandt
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Peonies Butterflies Region: Mid-Atlantic Hibiscus Daylilies Xeriscape
Hostas Roses Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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csandt
Aug 9, 2015 10:53 AM CST
In 2014 my children, grandchildren and I attended the Annual Lilac Festival in Rochester, NY's Highland Park. There were more beautiful lilacs there than I had ever seen before, but I fell in love with one cultivar in particular, Syringa vulgaris 'Rochester', with its gorgeous white blooms of unusually heavy substance. As I learned later, this cultivar was a favorite of Father John Fiala in hybridizing many beautiful lilacs that are still sold today.

I would like to grow Syringa vulgaris 'Rochester' in my garden but have not found a source, in spite of much searching. I did find several catalogs listing 'Rochester', but each one indicated that it was "Not Available." Finally I found it in the catalog of ForestFarm Nursery, and I ordered three plants. However, when the plants arrived their flowers were blue with white edges, not pure white like 'Rochester'. Forest Farm looked into the matter and found that all of their so-called 'Rochester' plants also had blue flowers with white edges, like the ones they shipped to me. So I am back to square one. I still want 'Rochester' very much.

Does anyone know where I might find this plant?
Carol Sandt

"Experience is the name we give to our mistakes.” - Oscar Wilde
[Last edited by csandt - Aug 9, 2015 2:22 PM (+)]
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Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Aug 9, 2015 2:51 PM CST
Could it be the Syringa vulgaris Fiala Remembrance Double White Lilac that you are looking for?
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Carol Sandt
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Peonies Butterflies Region: Mid-Atlantic Hibiscus Daylilies Xeriscape
Hostas Roses Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
csandt
Aug 9, 2015 3:07 PM CST
'Rochester' is the official name of the cultivar. It would not be called any other name. As I understand it, 'Rochester' is difficult to propagate and grows very slowly, so it is not economically feasible for commercial growers to offer it.
Carol Sandt

"Experience is the name we give to our mistakes.” - Oscar Wilde
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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woofie
Aug 9, 2015 3:22 PM CST
The lilac you actually got sounds lovely to me. Do you know what it really is?
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Carol Sandt
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Peonies Butterflies Region: Mid-Atlantic Hibiscus Daylilies Xeriscape
Hostas Roses Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
csandt
Aug 9, 2015 3:31 PM CST
I think it is 'Sensation'. It is a lovely cultivar, and I found places for all three of them in my new shrub border, but my collection will not be complete until I have 'Rochester' here too. I should note that ForestFarm was very apologetic and offered a refund or replacement with something other than 'Rochester'.
Carol Sandt

"Experience is the name we give to our mistakes.” - Oscar Wilde
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
The WITWIT Badge I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Container Gardener Seed Starter
Image
woofie
Aug 9, 2015 4:21 PM CST
Hmmm, 'Sensation' looks purple to me, but still is very striking! We have deep purple, light purple, and pale purple lilacs here (don't know their names, they came with the house) and Sensation would be a nice addition! Thanks!
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Carol Sandt
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Peonies Butterflies Region: Mid-Atlantic Hibiscus Daylilies Xeriscape
Hostas Roses Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
csandt
Aug 9, 2015 5:03 PM CST
You are right! Sensation is purple (or something similar). It is available locally from numerous garden centers, as well as online vendors, including, of course ForestFarm Nursery, which sells them at a very reasonable price. Just ask for 'Rochester'!
Carol Sandt

"Experience is the name we give to our mistakes.” - Oscar Wilde
Name: Carol Sandt
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Peonies Butterflies Region: Mid-Atlantic Hibiscus Daylilies Xeriscape
Hostas Roses Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
csandt
Aug 9, 2015 5:11 PM CST
I should have added that I too live in a house that came with lilacs, one huge one with purple flowers and a smaller one with white flowers. Both were especially lovely after the two extra-cold, snowy winters we endured here in Pennsylvania. Lilacs LOVE that kind of weather and showed their appreciation by producing more flowers than I have seen in previous years.


Carol Sandt

"Experience is the name we give to our mistakes.” - Oscar Wilde

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