Return to the White Jacaranda Trees of Herbert Baker Street

by | Oct 28, 2020 | Pretoria | 26 comments

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.

White jacarandas in Pretoria
Jacarandas blooming on Herbert Baker Street, Pretoria.

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.

White and purple jacarandas
White jacarandas on their own are nothing particularly special — just another white-blossoming tree. But the white-blossoming trees intermixed with purple are what create the real magic on Herbert Baker Street.

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.

A stunningly beautiful rose hedge with a white jacaranda behind it.

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.

Jogging up Herbert Baker Street
White and purple jacarandas on Herbert Baker Street in Pretoria
White jacarandas
White jacarandas and Pretoria Telkom tower
White and purple
Whit jacaranda tree
White jacarandas
White jacaranda trees
Purple jacarandas on Herbert Baker Street
The purple jacarandas are still the prettiest.
Lady walking under a white jacaranda tree
I have more but I think I’ve shared enough. This one is my favorite.

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.

26 Comments

  1. David Bristow

    When in doubt or in trouble, always consult Mother Nature.

    Reply
  2. Wendy Isabelle

    Heather, Your blog keeps us going- please don’t even think of shutting it down! You bring great joy to so many of us. I visited Kaapsehoop last weekend ( because of your blog) and will be rushing to Pretoria this weekend ( because of your blog). My cat Rocky died a day after the Melville cat- I had a comforting monologue going as to his whereabouts on that day(because of your blog)……..and when I feel discouraged I read your old blogs and marvel at the human spirit. You inspire many!

    Reply
    • 2summers

      Aw, Wendy thank you so much for that. I would never actually shut down my blog – it’s just how I felt yesterday. Thank god for the jacarandas! So glad you went to Kaapsehoop and so sorry about your kitty 😿😿😿

      Reply
  3. Catrina

    Those Jacaranda trees are beautiful. And your favourite photo is mine, too.
    Excellent, Heather!

    Reply
  4. Dagmar

    Thank you Heather for these beautiful pictures of beautiful and wonderful trees. I miss the jacarandas so much…the roses are stunning as well.
    I agree with Wendy – keep the blog going, you are my connection to South Africa – and I never want to lose that. Feel better soon.

    Reply
    • 2summers

      Thanks for your unending support, Dagmar!

      Reply
  5. Maarten

    We are all at some point in life looking for peace and rest in our minds, but leaving Melville and shut down your blog is a really desperate idea. luckily mother Nature told you not to do this, and luckily you will continue (I hope) your blog.

    Reply
    • 2summers

      Hahaha. Yes, yesterday was a bad day but things are already looking up 🙂

      Reply
  6. Gillian

    Lovely pictures

    Reply
  7. AutumnAshbough

    They are lovely! I think we might have one or two around here, but mostly we are awash in purply-blue.

    Sanity is hard to hang onto these days.

    Reply
    • 2summers

      Yes. Soooooooo hard.

      Reply
  8. Nancy McDaniel

    OH I am SO glad you went to Pretoria to cheer yourself AND US. Thank you for sharing those lovely photos. Could there be anything prettier than jacaranda time? I think not. Makes me so miss Joeys and Harare. The white ones are lovely mixed in but the purple will always be my joy.

    Reply
    • 2summers

      Absolutely. I’m really missing the fall leaves in the U.S. (this is usually the time I got to visit) but at least we have the jacarandas as consolation! I often miss them when I go to the U.S. in October.

      Reply
  9. dizzylexa

    We just need to hang on and ride the waves of this madness we are going through. Beautiful photos.

    Reply
  10. eremophila

    In my view, nothing wrong with questioning it all, as it can lead to rearranging the pieces.
    Lovely images, and those white blooms such a surprise. Just like white kangaroos😀

    Reply
    • 2summers

      I want to see a white kangaroo!

      Reply
  11. Lani

    Nature is healing, xoxo

    Remember nothing is bleak as it seems. Take a break from outside noise and enjoy the little moments. Bali might not be such a bad idea 😉

    Beautiful blooms.

    Reply
    • 2summers

      Thanks Lani. I’ve never been anywhere near Bali, but the idea of it just seems to soothing right now 🙂

      Reply
      • Lani

        Me too!

        Reply
  12. caroline reay

    Reading from a dark and damp England, this brings a little colour into my life.. Summer is out there somewhere and we may travel again one day

    Reply
    • 2summers

      Thanks Caroline. Wishing you strength to endure the winter!

      Reply

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