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A Living Umbrella

I still remember the arresting scene of Wisteria (Wisteria floribunda) that made me want to grow one.  That was when I walked under the Wisteria Pergola in Central Park when it was in full bloom.  A sea of lilac pealike flowers cascaded down over my head and a powerful sweet perfume filled the air.  I promised myself then and there that I would grow one when next I have a garden.

When I moved from New York City to the current address, I was lucky enough to have a neighbor who had them growing on her property.  She offered  me a runner years ago and I promptly planted it by our pool fence.  It proved to be a mistake since it grows several feet a season, too fast for such a small spot.  I dug it up and replanted it by a dead tree stump and put up a supporting pole to keep it straight up.  I also prune it every year to keep it in an umbrella shape.  It’s still too low to walk or sit under but it’s a lovely shape and it will continue to grow upward.  I think it loves where it is judging by the way it blooms so profusely and twice last year too.  The second time didn’t produce that many flowers though.  Aside from the lovely flowers, the fragrance perfumes our garden from morning to evening.  I guess it’s eye catching enough when the handsome young man who supervised a crew of men topping our trees asked me what it was and commented that “it’s stunning”.

One problem with growing Wisteria is that it produces a lot of runners.  I have to cut them off every year.  I also had to dig another one out from the original planting spot.  This year I have to dig one more out from the same spot and I hope it’s the last.  This one will be relocated to the front lawn.  It’s almost like the Day Lily, if you leave even a just a small section underground it will grow back.  But it’s still worth growing.

Wisteria Bud coming out.

Wisteria Bud coming out.

Blooming

Blooming

Using Birch branches as supports

Using Birch branches as supports

Close up.  They look very much like pea flowers

Close up. They look very much like pea flowers

We used a rope to hold it straight for a year.  It climbed up the rope to the Maple tree and produced a flowering string this year.

We used a rope to hold it straight for a year. It climbed up the rope to the Maple tree and produced a flowering string this year.

Flanked by Japanese Maples, with two bee hives in the back and a nest box currently occupied by a Blue bird family with two chicks.

Flanked by Japanese Maples, with two bee hives in the back and a nest box currently occupied by a Blue bird family with two chicks.