A good start to the season!

Foxglove tree in bloom!

I’ve always admired the “Foxglove tree”, Paulownia tomentosa with its lilac coloured flowers that hang in clusters and when I was at the RHS Malvern Spring Festival earlier in May I saw a fantastic specimen in a garden that was full of flower.

Paulownia come from E. Asia and although they look tropical with their large leaves and delicate flowers, they are totally hardy. We planted one in our garden in North Yorkshire eight years ago and it’s grown into a good shaped tree and even withstood -18oC in that very cold winter several years ago. To flower they need warm summers to ripen the new shoots and to induce flower buds, so I knew that growing in North Yorkshire, it might struggle to flower, but it’s still worth growing for the foliage. However, to my surprise, this year we’ve got flowers. Not masses, but several of the branches at the top of the tree have produced clusters of flowers and they look great.

Fingers crossed this is the start of more flowers in future years!

Paulonia flowers