In November, the jacaranda trees in Perth 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.
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.
Keep up to date with what I’m writing by joining my Readers List.
As a subscriber you’ll receive a monthly newsletter, ‘The Scribbler’, straight into your email inbox. The Scribbler includes interesting articles not published anywhere else, useful tips and hints, and news about what I’m writing. You can read a sample here. I’ll also send you a link to download a free information sheet, ‘Eight online resources for history lovers’.