It’s coming to the end of the flowering season, but this year the Illawarra flame trees and the jacarandas have been spectacular. In gardens all around the inner suburbs of Sydney, there are bold splodges of red and purple everywhere, almost too brilliant to believe the colours are natural. It must have been the garden fashion at one time, planting these two specimen trees together. I have a jacaranda in my garden, and for a few weeks every year the tree is covered with vibrant flowers and then the backyard becomes a carpet of purple, buzzing with bees, and we are constantly picking up the flowers that have been traipsed through the house from the yard. Some years ago I worked in an office with a bird’s eye view and, almost overnight, splashes of jacaranda with highlights of flame red would appear, as if someone had wielded a giant paintbrush and daubed the landscape.