Springtime in Spokane is one of my favorite seasons. Right now the lilacs are in bloom, but a couple weeks ago was prime time for the arrowleaf balsamroot, my very favorite PNW wildflower. They are so cheery and remind me of sunflowers and I love how they pop up all over town in early spring. Dishman Hills Natural Area out in the Spokane Valley is one of the best places in town to enjoy their beauty. Two weeks ago I hiked out there, looking for some painting subjects and spent a highly pleasant evening sitting among the flowers.
Manito Park was one of the first places that I got introduced to in Spokane when I came here for college. 90 acres of gardens, trails, and grassy areas for ponds (not to mention the duck pond and the incredible Gaiser Conservatory) make it a landmark destination, worth visiting over and over again. I have picnicked in the lilac gardens in Spring, admired the flaming maple foliage of the Japanese Garden in the fall and strolled the formal pathways of the Duncan Gardens in the summer. I think my favorite garden is the Joel E. Ferris Perennial Garden. There is such a wide variety of plants that there is always something new to look at and I admit to doing bit of window shopping, "Ooo! Could I grow that in my yard?". Luckily the Friends of Manito Park have their twice yearly plant sale in June and September where you can buy many of the plants found in the garden.
Painting and sketching in Manito was a delightful way to spend the morning. I envy the people who make walking in the park part of their daily routine. It is so beautiful and there is such variety among the gardens and landscape that there is always something new to see! I need to return and do some painting in oils soon!
Spokane is known as the Lilac City and for good reason, lilacs are everywhere. According to the Spokane Lilac Festival website, local legend has it that the first lilac made it out here in 1882 from Minnesota. In the 1930's there was a city-wide campaign to plant lilacs all over the city and by 1940, the website says that there were 30 lilac trees planted in Coeur d’Alene Park in the Browne's Addition neighborhood and 144 trees in Manito Park. I have to say from personal experience that the Lilac garden at Manito is a delightful place to have a picnic lunch in the spring time!
One of my favorite things to do in the spring while I'm driving around running errands is to count the number of lilacs I see as I drive from one place to another. One day, I counted over 60 lilacs in just a 20 minute drive!
Do you have lilacs at home? Do you love them and their overblown, romantic looks and fragrance or do you find them scraggly and smelly? While I don't think lilacs are much to look at for most of the year, I find the one month in the spring when they suddenly bloom and reveal themselves to be worth it. I love that Spokane is the Lilac City!