1: Is it possible to grow Old Fashion Lilacs- Syringa Vulgaris (from seed) in this area, or am I wasting my time? 2: is there a small bush or tree I can plant that will have autumn foliage in the fall, the oranges and yellows that I miss so much? Thank you
Most lilacs aren't well-adapted to Southern California. However, there are a few varieties which will grow there. Descanso Gardens on the north side of L.A. has a collection of them. You'd be best off getting a started plant of a variety known to grow well in the area. Plants started from seed will have variable qualities.
As for fall color, you can use the advanced search option in our plant encyclopedia to find plants for your Zone that also have good fall color.