In February 2009, Reva Ballreich, widely known as the Lilac Lady of Idyllwild, died, leaving the Hill a legacy of lilac hybrid varietals she created, many of them unnamed.
Gary Parton, in taking over Ballreich’s mission of popularizing lilacs, has made it his personal mission to have Idyllwild become known as a lilac tourist destination. As part of that, he and a host of volunteers planted nearly 1,000 lilacs in the village center. And as part of his annual lilac celebration, Parton and his Idyllwild Lilac Celebration Committee plan to solicit names for the more than 20 lilac varietals developed by Ballreich that remain nameless.
“What’s in a name?” asked Juliet in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.” She continued, “That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” What she meant was that it was the person, not the person’s name, that was important.
Well, for Parton and the orphan lilacs, that is reversed. The name is important. As part of the committee’s plans for annual lilac festivities, the orphan lilacs will receive names. Idyllwild residents can submit names of locals who might have made contributions to the town and its well-being, significant enough to merit having a lilac varietal forever bear their name. They may also submit local landmark names, such as “Lily Rock.” One name will be selected each year until the orphan lilacs all have names.
Names can be submitted to either the Idyllwild Library or the Town Crier, noted as for the Lilac Celebration Committee’s lilac naming contest.
The first winner of this annual honorarium will be announced as part of the annual lilac festivities at the Idyllwild Library in the community room on the morning of April 16.
For more information, call Parton at 951-659-9711.