Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Jozi in jacaranda time
The haze of purple in the streets of Johannesburg is like being in a wonderful cathedral.
It's that time of the year again, my favourite season when my city becomes breathtakingly beautiful. The purple mistiness of the jacarandas blend effortlessly into the busy streets, the honking taxis, the urban sprawl and industrialisation of a huge Afropolitan city. All the colours of this huge artificial jungle blend into one another: the bright pink of the bougainvilleas, the Pride of India blossoms, the red coral trees and the white and purple agapanthus which pop out in the flower beds.
The funny thing about the jackys is that while they are individually magnificent (below), these trees are so densely planted in certain suburbs of Joburg, sort of "in the zone", so there are certain places where they are more spectacular en masse.
My jewellery designer-slash-photographer friend Kevin Friedman and I take a Jacaranda Pilgrimage from the overarching avenues of Norwood, through to upper Houghton, on to Parktown where the purple is offset by the deep ivy green cradling the stone walls of the Herbert Baker houses. Finally we land up at The Westcliff and watch the sunset.
IN NORWOOD ...
Nothing like the sight of sunlight bursting through the branches.
The branches of the jacarandas are normally twisted and tortured-looking (below), in contrast to the soft petals, which are even better with the back-lighting of the sun.
Kevin stopped to capture a broken bough and its tough wood (below).
A Cape dove struts among the fallen purple petals in Norwood.
THE JACARANDAS IN HILLBROW
Hillbrow was the best place to be this jacaranda season!
A romantic carpet of flowers.
HIGH UP IN HOUGHTON ...
Looking down on the stone angel war memorial outside the zoo. Italian prisoners of war built it during World War 2.
IN HISTORICAL PARKTOWN/WESTCLIFF
Whenever I get really depressed I come and look at the Sir Herbert Baker houses here, and even though I don't have R100-million to buy one, it always cheers me up!
The indigenous and the exotic ... fragile petals against sturdy cacti.
THE JOBURG GEN ... AND SURROUNDS
We were rudely turned away at the gates to this public health hospital, which has done itself no PR favours recently, but the view on the hill going down was glorious. We found an alternative viewing platform to look across the city towards The Westcliff.
This gorgeous house was built for Sir Henry Hull in 1905 and is now a conference centre.
The viewing deck (above) had one smashed pane of glass (below).
Blooms above the old carriage house.
The garden was a burst of purple agapanthus, to go with the trees.
Looking up at the Hillbrow Tower from the carpark.
THE GRAND FINALE- FROM THE WESTCLIFF ...
The hotel's somewhat harsh pink buildings are softened by the plantations of mauve.
The view across from the Westcliff to the Villa Arcadia.
What's a trip to The Westcliff without a glorious sunset and a cocktail besides the pool(below)?
ALL PIX BY KEVIN FRIEDMAN