Thursday, May 6, 2010


My lovely, lovely wisteria is blooming.

Many, m-a-n-y years, I yearned for this BEAUTIFUL vine. Years ago I had a start and turned it into a tree, but cannot remember what happened to my memory, it just disappeared. Finally, in the penny-pinchin' years, I bought one and planted it at the corner of a gazebo (trust me, huge mistake!). This was move number one. Now I don't know if you know, but it takes seven years for a wisteria to bloom and EVERY move after that.

After crawling into the teenest, tinyest opening in the shingled roof of the gazebo, and threatening to bring the roof down (dashing my vision of a gazebo dripping with her lovely, lovely blooms!), I moved her the second time (another seven years!), hoping to transform her into a tree...the problem was, the vine/trunk was six feet high and it kept falling over. I propped her up but a mere 'prop' doesn't work for this gal! No indeed! Every time it rained she would flop over, so I added another prop, tying baler twine around the two props with the vine in between...and she would still flop over. Then she began to throw shoots three to five feet away from the mother plant, with scraggly vines waving in every direction AND no blooms in sight! By now, I was getting slightly disillusioned...

But I left her there, mostly because I didn't have the heart to throw her away and with it, my dream of these lovely, lovely blooms. It stayed there for some years, doing her own thing, then finally, finally, one spring she had  three blooms...I nearly threw a celebration party! I did stand under the 'tree' and sniffed and admired her lovely, lovely blooms...the bees loved her as much as I did!  But she really looked lonely all by herself and she still tended to do a flop in the rain. 

In 2004 we down-sized to our home here in Gap...AND I WAS NOT GOING TO BRING THE WISTERIA HERE!! NO, INDEEDY! she is - the third move! When I moved her, leaving behind her offspring for the next folks to deal with, she was loaded with buds and I really didn't expect her to survive. But she's one tough lady and survive she did! Her buds got about three inches long then she ran out of steam. Out of pity, I began watering her, secretly wishing she would just die. By the way, the pergola wasn't there yet - not until the next summer. And yes, she really looked strange there all by herself without her props and I did a lot of explaining in that year. Lucky for me and her, I had a vision of how she would look after the pergola was built. She did bloom that next spring...on the pergola and my 'Jacob-waiting-on-Leah' years were finished! :)

That vision is now a reality and for three weeks these lovely, lovely blooms hang down in clusters from the pergola. She welcomes a pair of doves nesting in her branches every summer and shades our front door and looks as feminine and pretty as can be. BUT...

Yes, there's a but. Like all females, she's high maintenance (sorry, girls!), has a mind of her own and would ...well, lets just say, you give her your little finger, she'll gobble the whole hand!  Again, like most females, treat her firmly with control and a VERY sturdy place to grow and she'll reward you every year with her finery.
 The rest of the year I mostly just tolerate her. I beat cut her severely back to keep her from crawling into the house via the roof. Her snarly tails need to be trimmed back several times a summer and she can throw  unwanted side shoots like a pro.

Would I plant one again? I really don't know. I guess one high maintenance plant isn't so bad to have for the three weeks of glory she produces. After she's finished blooming, she produces six inch pods that are kinda intriguing. I once saw them in a magazine painted and used as decorations on a Christmas tree...

To sum all this up...

- keep it away from the house...
it will work its way inside via any little opening it can find!

- use a VERY sturdy arbor...
 none of this vinyl stuff or telephone poles -
it will break 'em down.

- trim it back really hard or it gets snarly and out of control

- to get it to bloom, cut it back in the fall to the fifth node or flower bud

- it's a good habit to cut a circle shovel-length deep around the roots to control the side shoots

- one final word and we're finished with Miss Demanding Beautiful -

Mr. Webster tell us the pronunciation is -
wis-te-ri-a, not wis-tear-ya
a wisteria by any other name is still a wist-tear-ya! :)

Lest you forget her beauty after this tirade -
one more time...

...ain't she just beautiful?!



1 comment:

Rose said...

I luv this post! Love your writing!

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