This post is proudly brought to you by the colour purple
Grafton’s Jacaranda season is surprisingly brief, which only makes the experience more rare and memorable.
Generally speaking, the purple blossoms start to show themselves in early-to-mid October.
The second half of October sees the Jacaranda-lined streets and parks of Grafton look like something out of a dream, with the trees in full bloom.
By mid November, the roads and footpaths are carpeted in fallen purple blossoms as the Jacarandas prepare to don their lighter, green summer outfits.
Seeing as Nature ultimately makes the call on such matters as blooming and blossoming, Clarity consulted widely with Nature to identify the season as accurately as possible. After speaking with a number of magpies, possums, and hugging several Jacarandas, we are declaring 21 October to 10 November as Grafton’s ‘Official’ Jacaranda 2017 season.
It’s only fitting that a mighty festival takes place in the peak of Jacaranda Season.
The Jacaranda Festival runs runs from Saturday 28 October to Sunday 5 November. This year will mark Grafton’s 83rd festival, which makes it the longest running floral festival in Australia.
The second half of October sees the Jacaranda-lined streets and parks of Grafton look like something out of a dream.
So how did a country town on the banks of the Clarence River become the Jacaranda City?
Well it turns out that the first Jacarandas were planted by a fella named Henry Volkers back in 1879. He was a seed merchant and nurseryman who planted hundreds of Jacarandas in the streets and avenues across town.
The Jacaranda tree (Jacaranda Mimosifolia) originates from Brazil and other parts of South America, but the climate of Grafton proved to be just right for the subtropical species.
The very first specimens were planted along Pound Street which later became known as Jacaranda Avenue. By the 1920s visitors had started coming to town to view the Jacarandas in full bloom. Things snowballed, and the first Jacaranda Festival started in 1934.
It’s fair to say that Grafton gets a little festive at Jacaranda time. From the locals who dress up and kick up their heels to the visitors who travel from miles away just to catch a glimpse of the purple blossoms, there’s just something about Jacarandas in bloom that allows people to be a more unguarded version of themselves.
Spare a thought, however, for the town bakers who must work through the nights of Jacaranda Season, tackling one of the most important jobs of the year. They know full well once daylight breaks the crowds will be at the door wanting only one thing: Jacaranda Purple Bread!
There’s a lovely contradiction at work with Grafton’s Jacarandas: on the one hand they’re a catalyst for celebration and high spirits, and on the other, their sheer beauty inspires calm, reflection and contemplation.
We like to think Henry Volkers would be incredibly chuffed, some 138 years later, to see the gift his plantings have bestowed upon this town and its visitors. It’s nice to imagine the spirit of Mr Volkers wandering the tree lined avenue, taking in the beauty, hearing the happy hum of a town under the Jacaranda’s seasonal spell, and filling his celestial self with as many purple pastries as possible.
INSIDE INFO: For information about Jacaranda Season, go to www.myclarencevalley.com/jacarandasocial
Photographed by Trevor Worden and Styled by Bree Hiatt