Last week I was in Johannesburg, 400km south of Sequoia Gardens, my hometown before I settled permanently on the farm. Johannesburg has been described as the biggest man-made forest in the world – until 20 years ago gardens in even less affluent suburbs were large, and the climate is the best in the world: not too hot in summer, nor too cold in winter, little wind, summer storms that bring plenty of rain, few mosquitoes and other bugs… and early November it is at its most beautiful when the thousands of Jacaranda trees fill the streets and gardens.
The Bougainvilleas (Bougainvillea glabra) growing into Jacarandas (Jacaranda mimosifolia) are iconic in Johannesburg, in shades from brick red to dark purple, but this is, I believe, the best I’ve ever seen as a composition!
The next photo I took the same day in Pretoria, which has called itself the Jacaranda City for years. It is from an area where the average temperature is a good 5 degrees warmer than Johannesburg, though only about 35 km away. There are three different climbers into the lilac Jacaranda; purple Bougainvillea (scarcely visible here), pink Zimbabwe creeper (Podranea ricasoliana) and salmon and orange Trumpet Vine (Bignonia radicans). In addition there is a white Brugmansia (Brugmansia candida) on the pavement and between it and the Jacaranda in the garden there is a red Australian Flame Tree ( Brachychiton Acerifolius). What a glorious mix of strong but harmonious colour, and on what a grand scale the composition is!