Planning a Lilac Festival in spite of the vicissitudes of climate and weather patterns is a perilous endeavor.

Just ask Gary Parton, who has fathered this celebration since 2009 and continues to propagate and promote Idyllwild as a lilac tourist venue. Each year, Parton and his committee set the date for the festival, hoping the lilacs will bloom neither too early nor too late.

The good news is that this year, owing to a recent turn of colder-than-expected weather, lilacs at Parton’s Alpenglow Gardens will peak during the festival’s premiere event — the annual Victorian Lilac Tea, Garden Tour and Art Alliance of Idyllwild exhibit.

“Some are already blooming,” said Parton on Monday, April 11. “But they’ll probably be at their peak on Saturday, April 23, the day of the tea.”

This year’s events begin on Saturday, April 16, at the Idyllwild Library from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. From 10 to 11:30 a.m., there will be a speaker and demonstration of cutting and arranging lilacs. After the demonstration, a lilac will be named after an Idyllwild personality, a contest that will be repeated until all of Reva Ballreich’s unnamed varietals have been named. Selection of this year’s recipient was made by Parton’s seven-member committee. (Ballreich, who died in 2009, was widely known as “The Lilac Lady.” She planted, hybridized, cultivated, and eventually displayed more than 887 lilac varietals on her Idyllwild property.)

Also on Saturday, from 11:30 a.m. to noon, a demonstration showing six ways to grow lilacs will be offered. Then from noon to 1 p.m., there will be a walking tour of lilacs in town — all of which were planted by Parton and his supporters.

From 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 17, Parton’s Alpenglow Lilac Gardens will be open to the public for lilac viewing. David Jerome provides music and refreshments will be available.

Finally, from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 23, are the Victorian Tea and guided garden tours. Guided tours explain the many varietals and their histories in Parton’s acre garden site. Guided tour tickets cost $5 at the door and tours run during the hours the gardens are open, concluding at 3 p.m. The Victorian Tea is served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tickets are available at the door for $20 or by reservation at The $20 ticket includes a guided tour of the gardens.

For more information, visit the Garden Club website or call Parton at 951-659-9711.