Under the jacaranda // 19 October 2010

With October comes spring and with spring comes blossom.

When I first arrived in Brisbane, I headed down to the Queensland Art Gallery to absorb. There, I found and was enchanted (like so many) by R Godfrey Rivers’ seminal work, Under the Jacaranda. As it happens – as new discoveries have a habit of doing – just weeks later, Brisbane hit a purple patch…and jacarandas began blossoming the city over.

Their branches spread wide and low and their bowers are heavy and dripping with purple bells. Native to South America, the thousands and thousands of jacarandas across Brisbane are said to all be the progeny of just one tree – that enormous great-grandpa of fauna captured by Godfrey Rivers. Long ago felled by a storm, a part of its trunk now resides at Mount Coo-tha’s Botanic Gardens

As it happens, the views across Brisbane from Mount Coo-tha in yesterday’s long-awaited sparkling sunshine were punctuated by puffs of purple across the green subtropical landscape. Up close, and in less salubrious settings, purple hazes fizz along the sides of motorways and roads. No matter where they pop up, all local jacarandas are related to the romance of that painting – a glimpse of a simple moment under the tree that enduringly brightens the urbanscape of springtime Brisbane.

R Godfrey Rivers’ Under the Jacaranda.

And my versions.


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