“This year they should be perfect,” said Gary Parton, owner of Alpenglow Lilac Gardens, referring to the vagaries of nature and how they affect when his lilacs bloom. Each year it is a worry because the Idyllwild Garden Club, in partnership with Parton and the Art Alliance of Idyllwild, hope, Parton’s lilacs are in perfect bloom just when the annual Lilac Walk, Tea and Art Show takes place in mid May. This year, the beautifully choreographed event takes place Saturday, May 11 and Sunday, May 12, and if Parton is right, it will be perfect.

Gary Parton and his lilacs. Photo by Marshall Smith
Parton’s fastidiously manicured gardens feature 155 varieties of lilacs with every shade of lavender, blue, white, pink and subtle variations. On a perfect May day with temperatures in the 70s, music filling the area, artists painting, and the intoxicating fragrance of lilacs wafting through the air, one could imagine no other place or time more splendid.

Add to that a sumptuous Victorian tea attended by costumed servers on a shaded patio overlooking the gardens, and there is no vacation spot more tranquil or satisfying than Parton’s gardens.

Tickets for the tea and docent guided walk through the gardens are $20 and available at the gate, Idyllwild Pharmacy or online at www.idyllwildgardenclub.net. Admission for the walk only is $5. The gardens are open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the tea is served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.