It’s no secret that the state of Illinois is home to a myriad of beautiful places and natural wonders, and Lilacia park in Lombard is one landmark that we think everyone should have circled on their map. This 8.5 acre garden was established by Colonel William Plum and his wife, Helen M. Plum, after a much cherished visit to the lilac gardens of Victor Lemoine, a highly celebrated flower breeder from France. The entire flower collection, which now includes over 50 varieties of tulips and 200 varieties of lilacs, descends from the original two cuttings that the Plums brought back from Lemoine’s garden in Nancy, France.
William and Helen Plum both loved and nurtured this lilac garden during their lives, and after William’s death in 1927, their property was left to the city of Lombard to be used as a public park, and their home was made into a public library and reading rooms. The park has a beautiful history, that some may say began when William married Helen in 1867, after entering Yale Law School in 1865. William Plum left the East Coast in 1869, and traveled to Chicago in hopes of setting up there to practice law. By chance, Plum happened to travel to Lombard where he bought a plot of land at the intersection of Park and Maple. Here is where the Plums started their beautiful lilac and tulip garden, and here is where it still stands today, nearly 100 years later. Once Helen had passed in 1924, Colonel Plum lost his passion for maintaining his grounds and garden, and tried to sell the estate. Lucky for us, that did not work out, and people from all over are now able to enjoy its breathtaking beauty.
Thanks to both William and Helen’s generous spirit and enthusiasm for camaraderie amongst the community, we are able to experience such a wonderful marvel of nature, and it’s an honor to be able to remember them through the smell and sights of the flower blossoms.
Lilacia park now offers 1,500 lilac bushes for your viewing pleasure, as well as picnic areas, the historical building, a greenhouse, and drinking fountains. The star of the whole show, the flowers, are in peak bloom from late April to early May, with an annual lilac parade happening in May as well. The park is open year round from dawn till dusk, and we highly encourage anyone who may be interested to come visit this enchanting garden.