Lilacs are often deplored as boring during the rest of the year, being rather unremittingly green, but ours not only gladdened the heart with its intense colour but also served a useful purpose.
Growing about as wide, probably wider, than it was high (10-12 feet), the branches stretched along our garden wall, slightly screening us from passers-by, as well as making the south-facing garden a cool, tranquil spot contrasting with our adjoining neighbour's barren waste of brick paving.
Quite possibly it was an Syringa vulgaris 'Ogni Moskvy' which made it onto the recent RHS AGM Lilac list by 10 votes to one, described as, “Very distinctive. Exceptionally dark buds. Vigorous.” (And now, says Sarah Raven, difficult to track down.) Or was it 'Anne Shiach' - “Darkest of all. Very good colour. Lovely panicles”?
And thereby hangs the explanation.
Being so wide and still in leaf, in soft, damp ground, and circumscribed on two sides by the front wall and the hard standing in front of the garage, it really didn't have a lot to hang on by on the side buffeted by the gale. I suspect the roots on the side it fell onto spread quite a way under the lawn.
We obviously spotted this problem last time, as I vaguely remember that the paving slab (which I had forgotten was there, and which you can see tipped up in the photo) was put down to add weight to the roots on that side. (Yes, I know, quite obviously a daft and futile action.)
I guess it will have to go. But, if the roots are as I suspect, I wouldn't be surprised if it couldn't survive and continue to flower, even on the horizontal.