Flack Lilac Collective

The Lilac Gardens stand on East Campus of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln on Friday, Sept. 20, 2019, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

As a part of our initiative called Curious Cornhuskers, an anonymous reader asked the Daily Nebraskan, “There’s a large lilac garden south and southwest of the CY Thompson library. People are wondering if it will stay in the midst of construction.”

The library will undergo a $22.5 million renovation over the next year and a half, including the introduction of a learning commons on the main floor and housing for Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program on the second floor. 

The renovation is part of an ongoing update to East Campus’s Legacy Plaza green space. However, it will not affect the lilac garden, according to UNL’s assistant director of Landscape Operations for Facilities Management and Operations Jeff Culbertson.

“The current plan does not call for any impact or disturbance of the lilac collection,” Culbertson said in an email. “Fencing will be installed separating the lilacs from the work.”

The Flack Lilac Collection was started in 1981 when Wilbur “Bud” Dasenbrock, a former director of the university's grounds department, used a donation from Lola Flack to invest in a collection of lilacs for East Campus’s Maxwell Arboretum, according to the UNL Gardens website

The website said Dasenbrock gathered information on the types of lilacs to plant, and the lilacs were bought at an auction at the International Lilac Society Convention in Des Moines, Iowa, later that year.

Dasenbrock asked then-campus landscape architect Kim Todd to create a design for the lilac collection on the south side of the library, according to UNL Gardens. 

Today, the garden represents Lola Flack’s donation, a memorial to her husband Milton Flack, which became part of the “Donald Wyman” section in the collection’s southwest corner, according to the website. Other Nebraska lilac growers have added their contributions to the garden over time.