Jacarandas – A passion for purple

After the long dry winter months in Johannesburg and Pretoria, locals desperately crave the arrival of the summer rains, bringing great relief to parched gardens and souls alike. Nothing announces the onset of summer in Johannesburg quite like the first dramatic thunderstorms and the anticipation that the Jacaranda’s will soon be in bloom.Traditionally the colour purple is associated with royalty, nobility, luxury, power, and ambition. Purple also represents wealth, extravagance, creativity, wisdom, dignity, grandeur, devotion, peace, pride, mystery, independence and magic. November is certainly magical and this is the best time to experience the full abundance of this purple spectacular, when both cities are blessed with canopies and carpets of purple. Interestingly the tree is native to the tropical and subtropical regions of Central and South America, the Caribbean and Mexico. It was introduced to South Africa in 1880 for ornamental purposes and it is estimated that here are now more than 70 000 trees in Pretoria which is affectionately known as Jacaranda City. Johannesburg is believed to be the largest cultivated urban forest in the world with over 10 million trees and the Jacaranda’s contribute substantially to this number, as thousands were planted as street trees, in parks and gardens. Although difficult to confirm, some experts say Johannesburg has even more of these glorious purple trees than Pretoria. Visitors come from all over the world to witness this breathtaking display and luckily AtholPlace House & Villa has a couple of magnificent examples right on-site. Guests can enjoy tea or a cocktail in the garden, relax and bask in the purply glory. If however you would like to venture out, we can suggest centrally situated Rosebank where you can take a walk along Tyrwhitt Avenue, and Oxford Road and then stroll into the suburb of Melrose. Here you will witness the full extent of the Jacarandas as they line the roads en masse. Nelson Mandela said in his inauguration speech in May 1994: “To my compatriots, I have no hesitation in saying that each one of us is as intimately attached to the soil of this beautiful country as are the famous Jacaranda trees of Pretoria and the Mimosa trees of the bushveld.” We are definitely attached to our Jacaranda’s and everything they symbolise for our city.