May 18, 200603:09 PMThe Life
Desert flora: rolling out the purple carpet
May 18, 2006 - 03:09 PMYou see them on the sidewalk:
And you see them on the grass:
Then you look up:
Yes, it's Purple Time in Palm Springs. Our many jacaranda trees have been blooming wildly during the past few weeks, and now they're beginning to spread soft, vivid flower carpets underneath their branches. Gorgeous.
The jacaranda comes from South America, but it grows well in most sub-tropical regions. For example, Pretoria, South Africa calls itself The Jacaranda City because of the enormous number of trees planted beside streets, and in parks and gardens.
There are lots of jacarandas near the University of Queensland, in Brisbane, Australia. Due to the impressive display of purple flowers in mid-spring, which wind up covering vast sections of the area, local folklore claims that "you can't study for exams until the jacarandas have molted."
The city of Grafton (south of Brisbane, north of Sydney) has been holding a Jacaranda Festival since 1935. It claims to be "Australia's oldest family floral festival." But Goodna (just west of Brisbane) is holding a rival Jacaranda Festival, to celebrate its 150th anniversary. And the aforementioned Pretoria seems to be horning in on this festival idea, too... with camel rides, to boot. But Maui's Jacaranda Festival Tea Party, not to be outdone, secured the services of a very special musical entertainment act - the Hula Honeys.