Grafton Jacaranda Festival
The Grafton Jacaranda Festival runs until Sunday, 6th November 2016. Inaugurated in 1934, it runs every year from the last weekend in October to the first weekend in November. The festival made its debut in Jacaranda Avenue (pictured) and is quite possibly the most photographed avenue in Grafton! Click here for more information about the festival.
Purple or blue?
During spring, prolific clusters of purple-blue flowers make for a spectacular show. Jacarandas can be referred to as being lavender, purple, blue or a mix of both, purple-blue in colour. Whichever way you look at it, there is no denying how striking these blooms are!
A jacaranda in full bloom. Whilst they thrive in tropical and warm temperate climates, jacarandas can be grown in cooler areas. However, they will be slower-growing and won't flower as much in cooler areas.
Jacarandas have a decorative, spreading canopy covered with fern-like pinnate leaflets. They do drop a lot of flowers, so it's worth giving the ground a rake before the flowers decompose into slime, making it somewhat of a hazard on pathways.
Are they native to Australia?
Contrary to popular belief, jacarandas are not native to Australia and are in fact a sub-tropical tree native to South America. We can thank colonial secretary, Alexander Macleay for introducing the jacaranda to Australia in the 1800's. As an aside, Macleay introduced wisteria to Australia.
Sea of purple
If you've ever flown into South Africa in spring, you may have noticed the beautiful countryside sprinkled with rich shades of purple. The South African administrative capital, Pretoria, is also known as Jacaranda City, due to the thousands of jacarandas planted in the area. The jacaranda was introduced to South Africa in 1880 for ornamental purposes and is considered an invasive species. It is also classed an invasive species in Queensland, Australia.
The loss of an icon
In October 2016, the iconic jacaranda tree that stood proud in Sydney University's Main Quadrangle since 1928, collapsed. At 88 years old, it was the backdrop for thousands of graduation and wedding photos. A specialist was hired by the university in 2014 to take cuttings from the jacaranda to graft onto the base of existing jacarandas. Two clones have been successfully produced. Of course, this beauty produced one last magnificent bloom before taking its final bow in late October.
Care for your jacaranda
Jacarandas need little on-going care, once established. They can however, experience root problems if not planted correctly. Best planted in a sunny position, they require well-draining soil, otherwise the tree can develop mushroom root rot. Give smaller branches a prune in early spring in order to give it the best shape for blooming. They are briefly deciduous in late winter and spring.
Want to bring the colours of a jacaranda into your home? Create a beautiful throw with this Sea of Jacaranda Knit Kit.