I love the tender way you honored your cat, though I wonder if your digging was at fault here. Most things that don’t bloom well are suffering from too little light (is the spot getting shady?) or ill-timed pruning (lilacs should be pruned right after they bloom, and not after July 4th-ish in the north or you cut off next year’s flowers). Sometimes too much nitrogen from lawn food applied nearby or that blue stuff fed to the plant too often can mean lots of vigor (green) but no blooms. Any of these sound like a possibility? I am inferring you dug in spring…did you really uproot the plant completely and cut off many of its roots? If so I suspect the foliage would look paltry, too….but you say it doesn’t. That’s why I wonder if maybe a late pruning or an overfeeding occurred (perhaps because you worried about the uprooting, you fed a lot?). Let me know, and meantime read this article from the blog for more details on the pruning topic: http://awaytogarden.com/pruning-lilacs
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Welcome! I’m Margaret Roach, a leading garden writer for 25 years—at ‘Martha Stewart Living,’ ‘Newsday,’ and in three books. I host a public-radio podcast; I also lecture, plus hold tours at my 2.3-acre Hudson Valley (NY) Zone 5B garden, and always say no to chemicals and yes to great plants.