I have to admit I’m not really that fussed about big spring flower displays – my aim is to have happy plants in summer and autumn, when we spend a lot of time outside. But there are some plants that just go off like firecrackers in spring, and the paulownia is definitely the star of my back garden right now.
It was planted 5 years ago, at about 30cm tall. It shot up to its current size in 3 years, but pretty much stopped growing in the past couple of very dry years. But it has never browned off, lost leaves or struggled in the heat, even on 40+ degree days in the hot north-west of my garden. Apparently paulownias have tap roots as deep as their height, so it must be finding a bit of moisture somewhere down there. It’s also happily survived battering by storms and hot summer winds.
It sets flower buds in autumn, holds these during winter while it loses its leaves, and then bursts into flower at the end of September, putting on a glorious purple display until mid-November.
Here are a few photos from mid and late October.