Streets of purple and lemon

Jacarandas in flower in Hyde Park

In November in Perth, the jacarandas burst into purple-blue clouds of flowers, a colourful reminder that Christmas is not very far way.

As I was admiring those growing near our house yesterday, I wondered if Harriet Lenihan, one of the main characters in the book I’ve been writing, would have seen jacarandas in flower when she arrived in Perth in November 1897.

They’re not a native tree, but they’ve been grown in eastern Australia since the 1850s. (Thanks for the link Jenny.) The earliest mention I can find of jacarandas in Western Australia was an advertisement in May 1894. So perhaps Harriet would have seen a few growing in gardens, though probably not the magnificent avenues of trees that line some suburban streets today.

The West Australian, Friday 25 May 1894

Speaking of street trees reminds me of a fascinating article posted by Jessica Barratt on her history blog The Dusty Box earlier this year. Apparently in 1899 the City of Perth had the brilliant (?) idea of planting lemon trees along St Georges Terrace, one of the city’s main streets. They thought the lemons produced would be a money spinner for the council. It wasn’t a very long-lived experiment. You can read Jessica’s article here.

 

 

 

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A heart-warming response

Susan book cover

A friend told me this morning that he’d finished reading my book Susan. He said he chuckled all the way through it, in fact he was chuckling as he told me. I’d never thought of it as being that humorous, so I asked him what he’d found funny. He said he loved the way it was written, and laughed at all the things Susan got up to. “She was certainly a feisty woman!” he said. It made my day to think that the story would appeal to a burly bloke, not just my female friends.

For those who aren’t on Facebook, or who missed my recent post there, the news is that I’ve now finished editing the text of my next book. I still have a lot of work to do tidying up the footnotes, adding maps and lists, and all the other “fiddly” bits. It still doesn’t have a title. (Susan didn’t get a title until I had to have one to put on the cover, so that’s nothing new.) But the end is in sight!

If you would like to be kept up to date with news about what I’m writing and exclusive details about the book I’m working on, please add your name to my Readers List. Subscribers receive a monthly newsletter by email, as well as a link to a free booklet “Are You Sure Dear?”