Here we are on the great Longwood Allee of Paulownias - or Princess Trees. This is Longwood's second planting of this majestic tree - I think it was just over 10 years ago that the first planting of mature trees died from old age or rot.
We're at the end of the 'spring bloom' and this tree seems a symbol of this: I saw a pair of these yesterday on a front lawn on Elizabeth Street in Beamsville here in Niagara. This is a great accomplishment as this is generally a zone 7 tree and we are in zone 6. There is another tree at the Vineland Research Station beside the Foreign Affair Winery. Perhaps I'll have time today to see if it is blooming. This is like the weeping cheery at the Niagara Horticultural Station - one has to go frequently to check its status and catch it in bloom.
Paulownia is a traditional tree in China and Japan - it has a long symbolic history as well as being a productive forested tree. In Japan, it was once customary to plant a Paulownia tree when a baby girl was born, and then to make it into a dresser as a wedding present when she married. More recently it has been used in guitars as the core body.