Family wants to name lilac variety in honor of ‘Doc Lilac’

May 17, 2018 07:39 AM

There's something missing at this year's Lilac Festival.

Doc Lilac, also known as Ted Collins, is a local horticulturalist and self-proclaimed lilac expert who died earlier this year. Now his family is working on getting a lilac bloom named after him.

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It's a long process that involves a lot of paperwork, but in the meantime, his daughter Jennifer Collins says the family is making sure his legacy lives on through his lilac nursery.

"He made himself an authority on the lilacs," Jennifer says. "He sold them for a few years at the park at the festival and then decided it was more practical to do it here."

Ted was in the landscaping business more than 40 years, then he got into growing lilacs. He grew more than 13 acres of the flower at the Lilac Hill Nursery in Perinton while also keeping a close eye on the blooms at the Lilac Festival.

"He'd talk about the weather and what might make them grow well for the year and he started calling himself Doc Lilac," Jennifer says.

Doc Lilac died at the age of 89 in January, but thanks to his grandson, Andrew Dobrowski, his business is still in bloom.

"We thought it would be a shame to let it go away given that my grandfather has put so much time and effort into it and we love it so much," Dobrowski says.

Dobrowski and Jennifer are working on naming a variety of lilac after Ted through the International Lilac Society. The variety would be recognized by the International Lilac Registrar at the Royal Botanical Garden in Ontario, Canada.

"I'm sure he would be honored and it would mean a lot to us too," Dobrowski says. "It's a pretty difficult process, so for us to accomplish that would be wonderful."

The family already knows what they would call the flower.

"I guess it would have to be Doc Lilac," Jennifer says.

To get the lilac named, the family has to grow enough of the unique blooms to submit to the International Lilac Society. They have been working with local cultivators to make that happen.


Kaci Jones

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