It happens every year during the month of May. Suddenly trees are proffering purple flowers where there was naught but green. Summer is approaching and the Jacaranda (dzha-ke-randa) trees bloom en masse down many of the Southern California streets. These trees actually have two blooming periods, Spring and Fall, although the Fall foliage is not quite as spectacular as what bursts forth during Spring.
Originally from South and Central America the Jacaranda trees were originally imported by the horticulturalist Kate Sessions, nicknamed the “Mother of Balboa Park”.
We had a Jacaranda tree in our back yard, just outside the back door. My mom built an L-shaped sandbox under the tree so she could see my little brothers as they played outside. Little did she know that this amazingly violet-blue tree would shed its blooms and leave a sticky residue everywhere. (I think she discovered the residue when my brothers tracked it and the flowers onto the playroom floor after playtime.) Yuck!
Despite the mess she was always awed and excited to see the blooms and her feelings became mine over the years. I now drive to work down a street filled with purple blooms and smile as I remember my childhood and think of the coming summer.