Warkworth Blooms with Fifty Shades of Lilac
by David Rollins
April 14, 2013

“Fifty Shades of Lilac” is the evocative theme chosen for the 2013 Warkworth Lilac Festival, which takes place May 25th until June 2nd. Nestled in the rolling hills of Northumberland County, 90 minutes east of Toronto, Warkworth is an idyllic setting for this charming festival which takes place in and around the village.

Visitors can enjoy guided tours along the Millennium Trail which showcases over 300 lilacs in 65 different varieties, including the ‘Jubilee Lilac’ specifically registered and named in commemoration of the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 11 in 2012.

The Festival’s line-up of events and activities includes Garden Talks on May 25th and 26th. The featured guest speaker on May 25th is Charlie Dobbin - internationally renowned horticulturist and landscape designer, and host of The Garden Show on the New AM 740 Zoomer radio station. Ms. Dobbin is also the horticultural Director for Canada Blooms - Toronto’s celebrated Flower and Garden Festival and we are honoured to welcome her to the Warkworth Lilac Festival.

Canada's own Adi Braun is the star attraction at ‘Jazz at the Lilac Room’ on Saturday, May 25th. Her sophisticated style and subtle delivery evokes such vocal greats as Sarah Vaughan and Rosemary Clooney.

With a repertoire ranging from the great American songbook, to European cabaret, to contemporary songs by Canadian legends Shirley Eikhard and Gordon Lightfoot, as well as her own originals, this is sure to be a sold-out performance!

Fashionistas won’t want to miss the ‘Love My Shoes’ Garden Party and Luncheon on Sunday, June 2nd, featuring Honorary Chair and Canada’s fashion maven, Jeanne Beker and Sonja Bata, founder of the Bata Shoe Museum. Patrons will be treated to a delicious gourmet luncheon, wine, entertainment and a “Shoe Talk” in an exquisite private garden setting. This popular event sells out every year, so it is advisable to purchase tickets well in advance.

Other events and activities include entertainment and buskers on Main Street and along the Millennium Trail; floral demonstrations; plant sale; presentations by horticultural societies; Home Depot birdhouse building and decorating; cupcake decorating; juried photography competition; People’s Choice Award for best lilac arrangement; book sale and children’s events including mini golf, Clifford the Big Red Dog and Geronimo Stilito from the popular children's series.

While visiting the Festival, why not take the opportunity to browse the boutiques and one-of-a-kind stores located in the village. And for the perfect Warkworth souvenir - lilac plants will be available for sale to take home for your own garden.

About the Festival:

The Warkworth Lilac Festival was established in 2009 when one Saturday morning, while enjoying breakfast in his garden with a group of friends, David Rollins described his vision of creating a Lilac Festival as a way of giving back to the community. David’s enthusiasm was infectious and soon many of his friends and neighbours were showing their support by contributing to his Seed Sponsorship program to begin the process.

During the month of May, lilacs are in abundance throughout the village and the surrounding countryside. To ensure that the Warkworth Lilac Festival stands out from other festivals, each year more interesting and rarer varieties are added to the collection and more lilac-themed events and entertainment are introduced.

For a full listing of events, please visit For further information, or to purchase tickets to events, please e-mail

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