Spying your very first cherry blossom of the season can involve a bit of lovely luck. You have to be sauntering down the right lane, on the right day, with the right weather (nothing too stormy, so the buds stay on the branches), and, for the most part, you'll need to look up.
But when you do happen to see that delicate flower, all pink and white and here-today-y and gone-tomorrow-y, well, it's a slice of spring's-a-comin' magic. It's a slice many spring lovers are looking for each year at our larger botanical and public gardens, which are some of the locations a flower fan can count on, as far as finding cherry blossoms.
That, however, has made these gardens way popular. As in, WAY, as in no fooling around here, meaning this: Descanso Gardens has not only extended its very well-attended Cherry Blossom Festival to two weekends, but there's a new reservation system for securing your entry.
These bookings "must be made in advance," so don't drive to the La Cañada Flintridge flowerland without having secured a slot on the day you want to enjoy the blossoms and numerous blossom-based activities.
The 2017 dates? Just keep the first two weekends in March in mind, which is a cinch to remember, if you know that's when cherry blossoms generally like to do their stuff around Southern California. In other words, March 4, 5, 11, and 12 are your dates.
Cherry tree sales, origami, special nature walks, and special music performances highlighting traditional Japanese instruments are on the delightful docket.
So, again, the new things to remember: The biggest festival on the Descanso Gardens calendar is now two weekends, and you'll need to make a reservation ahead of time.
What to do, where to go and what to see
Do so soon, for like a cherry blossom has a rather beautiful predictability — it will fall from the branch eventually — we can also predict this, given the popularity of past years: The festival will be booked, booked, booked.
We say "WAY" before and we certainly we're joking or being dramatic. This is a beloved blossom bash, and your way in, right now, is to book, right now.