Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Purple Prose...

It's June now, and that means the jacaranda trees have started showing off. Jacarandas are the big, flashy divas of early summer. It's hard to adequately describe a jacaranda to someone who has never experienced the tree's particular flourish, but I'll try...

Imagine if you hosted an afternoon tea party in June: your guests would trickle in wearing cheerful warm weather clothes -- some chinos, a few floral sundresses in delicate spring colors. Then, perhaps a little late, that woman would show up. You know. The loud one in the full-length purple organza ball gown.

That's a jacaranda tree.

These scene-stealers have only just begun to bloom. You can find them in little pockets all over Los Angeles -- with great swaths of them along Marengo here in South Pas and lining Del Mar in Pasadena. In a few weeks, they'll have dropped all petals in messy swirls of violet rain. (You know how divas are. Always with the drama!)


Antjas said...

My daughter was born 22 years ago in early May at Huntington Hospital. I used to like to say that she was born when the agapanthus and the jacaranda were in bloom. I remember driving home from the hospital and the streets in San Marino were all purple. Do you think global warming has changed their blooming patterns?
Thanks for posting this picture. I was hoping someone would and I especially like your description of that woman showing up at the party.

Judy Williams said...

Oh my!!!! You've always spoken of them and I'm excited to get to see them in person next week. This is really beautiful. YAY 5 more days and counting.

Judy Williams said...

Holy !$^* - I just looked at the BIG version and made it my desktop background. WOW

B SQUARED said...

Our Jacarandas are not nearly as lush as yours. Really beautiful to look at.

Hilda said...

Ohmygosh, Laurie, that is a diva of a tree! I've never seen one before, and she looks fantastic!

Sharon said...

Oh my, that is amazing. We have jacaranda trees here but I've never seen one so completely full of blooms. Purple, I love anything purple!

Halcyon said...

It's stunning! Reminds me of the red bud trees we have down here but much, much bigger.

Anonymous said...

Nailed it Laurie! And she eats all your guac and Pringles.

dbdubya said...

I visited Johannesburg, South Africa several years ago. Jacarandas were planted throughout the city decades ago. Jo'burg is the size of Los Angeles and there are millions of these beautiful trees. Imagine a Marengo street the size of LA! It was November/December, their Spring, and as you drove the elevated highways, the entire city was awash in purple - spectacular! The jacarandas were one of the lasting memories I brought back from that beautiful country.

Jilly said...

Jacarandas are amazing. We have a few flowering around and about here but none as stunning as yours. I have one in the garden, small, never flowered so far. One hopes. I remember driving thru a town in New South Wales, perhaps Queensland and the whole of the main street was lined with jacarandas. Amazing. I love your description, Laurie. Perfect!

Cafe Pasadena said...

This is the color the ficus turns to toward summer. And, of course, the name changes with its seasonal color.

XXXce!!ent pic, LA.

ben wideman said...

Wow, the combination of the bright blue sky and purple tree is incredible. Great photo!

Trish said...

I have always enjoyed the Jacks and agas and I called them as a small child. Somehow, I must have known purple was my favorite color even back then and just WAITED for these to bloom.

I don't know that the seasons have changed for the worse---my father used to drive me to summer school in Pasadena, up Orange Grove sometimes and over towards Lake and California---I clearly remember trying to pronounce jacaranda and struggling with it. Then spending the day in summer school and later in the yard, running around trying to say jacaranda, failing badly.

Why do I point this out? I went to that summer school for a number of years, but that location was ONLY for summer school. Which in that neck of the woods meant late June, July or August. Let's just say that 22 years ago when Antjas daughter was born at Huntington, I was already old enough to vote and then some.

I LOOOOOVE the pic---and will probably revisit it in say November or February when the winter blues have me down and I need to remember this warmth, slightly humid picture---or at least, that's how I remember the weather whenever I see a jacaranda.

TheChieftess said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dixie Jane said...

Jacaranda trees. Elizabeth Taylor with her violet eyes has something to be jealous of. I have been there during their coming out party and they are everything you say. Purple passion of the world of trees. The following came to mind and forgive me if it is not directly connected to the subject of jacaranda trees.


When I am Old
I shall wear Purple!
With a red hat which doesn't go,
and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension
on brandy and summer gloves and satin sandles,
And say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
and gobble up samples in shops
and press alarm bells
and run with my stick along public railings,
and make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
and pick flowers in other people's gardens
and learn to spit!
You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
and eat three pounds of sausages at a go,
or only bread and pickles for a week,
and hoard pens and pencils
and beermats and things in boxes.
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry,
and pay our rent
and not swear in the street,
and set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner
and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me
are not too shocked and surprised
when suddenly I am old,
And start to wear purple!

Bloom on happy jacaranda trees. I'll be there to help sweep up your purple dust.

TheChieftess said...

TheChieftess said...
You absolutely nailed this one!!! The photo is fabulous and I love the description of the diva at the party!!! Perfect!!! Jacaranda's have always been my favorite tree. The main boulevard on the way to our house (and the house I grew up in) is also lined with Jacarandas...a beautiful sight when in full bloom. lovely husband, planted a 5 gallon jacaranda in the corner of our yard in 1996...about 5 years before we got together, it now dominates the corner of the did he know it's my favorite tree???

Margaret said...

Wow. That is just gorgeous. I always like the how ground gets carpeted in the blossoms when they fall.

shannon said...

your blog is making my day happy!!!!!!!!!!!

i just moved to south pasadena a week ago----- to the pink house on huntington and milan (near marengo).

your blog is lovely! thank you!

Double "D" said...

Wow! A very beautiful diva indeed.
Incredible color and I love the way the petals
have covered the ground below to add to
an already surreal image. Wish we had tree's like this.
Way to cold in the upper midwest.

Hey, don't let that diva eat my apple pie.
Sorry, just can't let it go.

Linda Dove said...

Three things:

First, the girl's favorite tree. Evah.

Second, would you say there are such things as pink trees? I wouldn't. In other words, apple trees and cherry trees BLOOM, but they're not pink trees. Jacarandas, on the other hand, are PURPLE TREES in a Seussian sense.

Third, I read a poem this morning by Angie Estes called "Gloss" that contains the following phrase:

"the violet litter / of the jacaranda"

So there!

Anonymous said...

I know! This weather today is wild. Bet you'll have a shot of lightning flashing over the hills at South Pas.

Cafe Pasadena said...

It's beginning to look a lot like winter. How many more days until it's official?

Jean Spitzer said...

I've been driving along Del Mar and mooning over the purple on the road for days. Lovely shot of the jacaranda's time as a diva, before it gets all leafy and green.

Mister Earl said...

Awesome photo, Laurie. Today I drove over Monterey Pass toward El Sereno. I noticed blankets of purple petals on the ground and realized that there's a great row of jacarandas on the East side of Monterey road as you descend the hill. There are also several jacarandas outside my office window downtown.

Shanna said...

Purple petals give their
Special magic to the ground,
Encircling with their silent dance,
The tree that they surround.

Laurie Allee said...

Hi everyone,

Welcome Antjas and Shannon! (And welcome to South Pas,too, Shannon!)

Thanks for all the wonderful comments, poems, stories and observations. Wow, I love you guys!

It's late and I'm half awake so I'll continue this tomorrow when I'm more human. Until then...

Jg. for FatScribe said...

Hi, Laurie -- Great pic of the jacaranda. here in LA proper, we have these trees as well, and they're always a pleasure to see blooming; takes the edge off of city living.

Keep up the great work!!

John g.

Jean Spitzer said...

I was living in Westwood in 1984 and remember the jacaranda trees planted all over greater LA in preparation for the Summer Olympics.

Mark said...

I always feel like I'm walking through an impressionist painting when the Jacarandas bloom!

Jane Hards Photography said...

I want one. We just don't have these here. I'm a purple fiend.

Stefan Jansson said...


Mike said...

Really purple? I never seen a tree like that. That is beautiful.