What to Know
- Sierra Madre's world-famous wistaria vine goes on view for one day each year
- The 127-year-old plant is located in two private backyards
- The town hosts an annual mid-March festival in its honor; the 2021 event is canceled but organizers are looking to 2022
What were you doing in 1894?
Oh, you weren't here yet? Right, that makes sense. So we'll reframe the question: What were your great-great-grandparents, give or take a "great," up to around the close of the 19th century?
We don't always know what our familial forebearers were doing during a given year, but we do know what has been hailed by "The Guinness Book of World Records" as "The World's Largest Blossoming Plant" was up to, high on a handsome hillside in Sierra Madre (which hadn't yet been officially incorporated as a city).
This leafy legend was starting to grow, and grow, and grow, and grow around the middle of the final decade of the 1800s.
The storied, centuries-spanning, and blossom-big journey to worldwide fame for this can-do plant had begun.
We're talking about the oh-so-purple, oh-so-ginormous Sierra Madre wistaria vine, a multi-ton, bloom-laden behemoth that is so large it generously gives colorful cover to two sizable backyards.
Indeed, those are private backyards, but the chance to admire this ever-growing wonder does arrive once a year, around the middle of March.
That won't happen in 2021, however, out of pandemic-based caution.
The wistaria vine viewing, and the hometown-y festival that happens at the center of Sierra Madre, have both been canceled.
The announcement was made on Feb. 5, about five weeks ahead of when the festival would usually take place.
"We will try again in 2022," the message promised. (By the by, wistaria is always spelled with a central "a" around Sierra Madre, rather than the usually seen central "e," adding further local flavor.)
It's an enduring and lovely celebration, so do keep your eyes on the very end of the 2021-2022 winter season, when this venerable festival will, fingers crossed, go forward in flowery and fun fashion.
But if you'd like to see some wisteria sooner, The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Garden is traditionally home to some stunning purpleness just as winter makes way for spring.
Keeping track of the month-by-month bloom calendar before you go on your wisteria-seeking adventure?
A wise idea for any wisterian.
The San Marino garden is open with advance reservations and a number of safety guidelines in place (and indoor spaces remain temporarily closed).