Friday, April 29, 2011

The Scent of Wisteria Fills the Air

A garden is a multi-sensory experience. It isn’t just about looks; it’s about hearing the birds singing and the bees humming, touching the fuzzy leaves of Lambs Ears, tasting the freshness of homegrown veggies and herbs, smelling the flowers, and rubbing your fingers on lavender, rosemary, or basil for that brief whiff of happiness.

Can you see the bird?
At this time of year it’s the scent of wisteria that fills the air of my garden. You walk onto my front porch or go through the garden gate and you’re enveloped with it’s heady fragrance. It’s intoxicating. It’s magical. Throughout the year I curse the invasiveness of the wisteria as I prune and dig out vines from all over my yard, but in the spring it makes me giddy.

Wisteria through the garden gate.

Vine wisteria by the garden gate and tree wisteria in background.
 I first fell in love with wisteria when I was in England and saw it clinging to the side of a cute cottage in the Cotswolds. It conjured up romantic notions just seeing it’s dangling flowers and smelling it’s heavenly fragrance. After all, it was the promise of “wisteria and sunshine” that lured some London women to spend holiday in Italy in the book/movie “Enchanted April.” When Brian and I were looking at houses to buy and I saw the wisteria vines at this house, I knew it was meant to be. (That, along with the built-in bookcases, the greenhouse, and the screened-in back all was perfect.) Little did I know what I was getting myself into with that wisteria!

Wisteria on the front porch (with an Azalea).
 I once read that wisteria grows 10 feet per year and I believe it! I have to prune it at least twice a year, if not more. It also pops up everywhere in my garden beds. I’ve dug up vines as thick as my arm when trying to plant – having to saw them out in pieces with my hand saw. A neighbor said that our property used to be overgrown with it. That been said, if you're interested in growing wisteria, my suggestion is to look for the American variety instead of the Japanese one.  The American kind is not as invasive.

Wisteria on the shed/workshop and growing up a tree.
 I also have a wisteria tree, which still needs pruning, but is much more tame than the vine variety.

Tree Wisteria.
 Come early to mid fall, you’ll find me either on the roof or on top of a ladder entangled in the wisteria vines trying to prune it to a manageable level. (Tip: Don't prune it too late in the season, though, or it won't bloom in the spring.) As much nuisance as it can be, it’s all worth it when I see those gorgeous lavender flowers and breathe in that amazing fragrance. Nothing beats it. Who cares about smelling the roses when you can smell wisteria!

A close-up of the lovely Wisteria flowers.

No comments:

Post a Comment