A friend was over the other day and was admiring our Empress tree and said it reminded her of her mom's tree "by the milk house" which was no longer there. She requested that I take a few photos of our tree and send them to her as a reminder.
It is a large, aggressive, and messy tree, its existence only justified by its beauty for a few short days in spring. When the blossoms fall, the monster leaves begin to grow. The limbs stretch out another 4-5 feet and then the mess in the autumn is a continual chore to clean up.
These trees are not native to our area, but were brought over from China during the years when there were many migrant workers building the railroads in Western Canada. The workers would bring their belongings from China packed in the seed pods from this tree and as they unpacked, the seeds would fall beside the rail beds, and flourish. Soon, admirers would uproot the seedlings and take them home for their gardens. They are fairly common in our city.
I sometimes regret having planted this tree, but not right now. Wait until the Autumn and I will be singing another tune.
As you can see below, we have pruned this tree hard over the years but it continues to dominate its corner of the garden, undaunted.