I am having a rough week. It’s one of those weeks when I doubt and question everything about myself, both personally and professionally, and wonder if I shouldn’t just shut down my blog, sell all my possessions, and move to Bali with my cat.
Luckily though, the jacarandas of Gauteng province are finally in full bloom. (My fears of two weeks ago, that the jacarandas might not bloom this year, were totally unfounded.) Early yesterday morning I decided the only thing that could restore my faith in the world — and in myself — was a visit to the white jacaranda trees of Herbert Baker Street.
I blogged about the white jacarandas once before in October 2016. White jacarandas are special because they’re very rare; according to conventional wisdom, the white-flowering trees are sterile and hence can’t be grown from seeds. Although there are reports of a few stray white jacarandas growing throughout South Africa, Herbert Baker Street in Pretoria (click on the location here) is the only place where they grow en masse.
I got up at 5:00 a.m. and drove 45 minutes to Pretoria so I could get there before the light became too harsh. (South Africa doesn’t have daylight savings time, so the sun rises ridiculously early this time of year.) I drove into Groenkloof Village, where Herbert Baker Street is, parked at the top of the hill, and then strolled slowly down the street, taking a million pictures as I went.
In addition to the beautiful jacaranda trees, Herbert Baker is a lovely street to walk down. It’s lined with palatial mansions, in a variety of interesting architectural styles (makes sense, given the street is named for legendary architect Herbert Baker), many of which have glorious gardens. There are lots of people around in the morning, jogging and cycling up and down the street, so it feels very safe.
This is the best activity I could have chosen to calm my cacophonous mind. I highly recommend it. But go soon because the blossoms are falling fast.
Thank you, Mother Nature, for South Africa’s jacarandas — both white and purple. They’re saving my sanity this month.
To find the white jacarandas, simply enter “Herbert Baker Street, Pretoria” into your GPS. There is a security boom at the entrance to the neighborhood but the guard will open it for you.