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The 'Belgorod Lilac' Project Débuts on the World Stage

BNRU presented the Project at the 'International Lilac Cultivation 2018' conference in Moscow

The conference was hosted by Moscow State University's Botanical Gardens, the Russian Academy of Science's Botanical Institute (based in St. Petersburg), and the Pavlovsk State Museum and Repository. It was organised by the International Lilac Society (ILS), which BNRU joined this year.

Experts from 14 countries attended the conference, coming from as far afield the USA, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Germany, France, China, Belarus, and Ukraine. BNRU's Botanical Garden was one of the sponsors of the conference, with our logo appearing on banners and publications around the site. The conference was timed to coincide with the 125th birthday of the outstanding Russian lilac breeder Leonid Kolesnikov, who cultivated around 300 varieties of lilacs. His life's work was the theme of a special report delivered by Tatyana Polyakova, Vice-President of the ILS.
The conference was addressed by Nicole Jordan, Honorary President of the ILS, Robert Zavodny, the President of the ILS, Professor Mikhail Kirpichnikov, Chair of Biology at Moscow State University (MGU), and Dr Vladimir Chub, Director of MGU's Botanical Garden.
The conference discussed a wide range of issues related to the preservation and study of collections of lilacs around the world, the current systematic position of species of the genus Syringa, the ways of recognising varieties by their morphological features, and the need for their genetic certification. Separate forums of the conference looked at current trends in lilac selection and biotechnological methods of reproduction.

BNRU's team was made up of Dr Valery Tokhtar, Director of the Botanical Garden, Dr Mikhail Tretyakov, Head of the Laboratory for the Selection of Decorative Cultures, and Natalia Tkachenko, a technical specialist. Between them, they fascinated their audience with details of the 'Belgorod Lilac' program. The excitement they generated led to offers of collaboration from delegates and a plan to hold the next international ILS conference in Belgorod.
During the course of the conference, delegates visited three large collections of lilacs. The first visit was paid to MGU's Botanical Garden, then it was on to Moscow's Main Botanical Garden, and finally the 'Lilac Garden' in Izmaylovsky Park. Dr Tokhtar commented that,

Our participation in such a large international forum devoted to lilacs, gave us fresh incites and information, and allowed us to discuss modern problems in lilac cultivation. It also allowed us to come up with new ways to cooperate with colleagues, and informed our opinion on possible future areas of growth for the cultivation of this beautiful species.

 Information provided by BNRU's Botanical Garden. Translated by I P Turner, Centre for Foreign Language and Academic Writing

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