Idyllwild lilacs begin to bloom
Idyllwild lilacs begin to bloom in May. Photo: James Larkin

It’s his own town beautification project. He’s propagated the lilacs. He’s funding the planting of 1,000 lilac plants over a four-year period. Gary Parton wants to give back. And, with a little help from his friends, he’s doing so.

Last year, Parton and crew planted the first 100, primarily on the grounds of Jo’An’s Restaurant and the Idyllwild Inn. Each year he, and friends and some Garden Club members, take cuttings from mature plants to use to grow the young lilacs for next year’s plantings. This year, 300 will be planted. In 2012 and 2013, they will plant another 300 lilacs.

Gary Parton stands with some of his lilacs in this May 2011 photo. Photo by Marshall Smith
The lilacs, not the common garden variety color and variety Parton points out, will be planted to adorn the town’s commercial district. “I’m planting white, pink, purple and magenta,” said Parton, “lilacs that are not common.”

First comes the digging of the holes in which the plants will find homes. Parton tipped his hat to Pine Cove Water District (PCWD) General Manager Jerry Holldber for loaning his power post hole digger to Parton’s crew. PCWD will have two areas of its property planted as a thank you. All property owners at which Parton will plant have agreed to install watering systems, crucial for the young plants’ survival until they take hold.

This year, some of the town’s churches will be beautified.

It is an ambitious project that Parton said he would eventually turn over to the Garden Club for stewardship. If you want to help, call Parton at 659-9711.