Just when we were raving about those wiggly ol' grunion fish coming ashore, along comes another major, drop-the-jaw natural wonder: Sierra Madre's World-Famous Wistaria Vine. Well, truth be told, that vine isn't "coming along" anywhere; it has stayed put for well over a century in a backyard -- now *two* backyards -- in Sierra Madre, and grown, and grown, and grown.
Today the massive vine is kind of like Audrey II from "Little Shop of Horrors," only much nicer, and it doesn't sing, and it doesn't eat people. But it is a very remarkable, very celebrated, very gigantic specimen of flora that weighs in at over -- wait for it -- 250 tons. And you thought hauling that five-pound fern in out and of the kitchen was something to bellyache about. But the wistaria vine is even more amazing when you consider that it was planted in the 1800s, and it first came in a tiny wee pot. Nature! That's sometimes all we can say. With an exclamation point for emphasis.
Now? The plant that Guinness calls "the world's largest blooming vine" sprawls lavishly over two very large yards, a veritable, bud-bedecked purple roof that dazzled onlookers snap pictures of almost constantly as they walk beneath. Everyone present is staring up the entire time, kind of awestruck. Oh, our necks hurt just thinking of it. Hurt in a good way.
Even if you don't shuttle or walk up the hill to the private homes where the wistaria grows, there's still a sweet, small-town fair going on in Sierra Madre proper. Kettle corn, tunes, paintings, and more booth-y things are spread out around this picturesque San Gabe Valley neighborhood. Should we say it? We should: it's a vine time.
Wistaria Festival and Vine Viewing
Sunday, March 15, 9AM-4PM
Festival/Tickets: Baldwin Avenue and Sierra Madre Boulevard, Sierra Madre