Something is taking my wisteria buds!

For the last few weeks I have been enjoying the sight of the buds on the Wisteria ‘Prolific’ growing over the pergola over the terrace getting fatter and bigger.

Looking down from the bedroom window

On the pillars

The buds getting longer with a hint of colour

Almost ready to open

Imagine by shock, then, on Sunday morning when I went outside and found a number of the beloved buds on the ground.

My lovely fat buds on the ground

You can see the damage!

Even though there was some wind I knew it wasn’t that – who or what then?  I’m not sure; at first I thought it must be the birds pecking and breaking off the strong buds, but then I wondered about the locusts – could it be them?  Last year the white Wisteria on the east side of the house had very few blooms (I assumed that the northeast wind that blows here had killed the early buds),  this year these seem to have been pecked or eaten even more than the usual-coloured ‘prolific’.  Maybe last year these were pecked before I even saw the buds.

Now when I go out to look it is with some trepidation about what damage I might find.

The life of a gardener is not an easy one; all the anticipation, which is of course, at least half the pleasure can be ruined by so many things outside our control: heavy rain, no rain, hail stones the size of golf balls, locusts, other pests and now birds that I have welcomed into the garden are repaying my kindness by destroying not just my pleasure but also the anticipation of the blooms to come!

Update 2015.04.15 in reply to a comment but perhaps more useful here. “It was smaller birds pecking at mine and I’m sure it was due to aphids on the buds; the wisteria was quite new when this happened so the plants weren’t so strong.  Now I have some damage caused by the carpenter bees that just love the nectar of wisteria but they are so big they damage the flowers when they are inside them.  Another cause can be that in early morning there are droplets of water on the flowers that attract the birds.”


28 thoughts on “Something is taking my wisteria buds!

  1. That is just heart breaking. I would be tempted to shed a tear.

    I am not experienced with that problem, but I can say that bunnies hate it when I sprinkle a dusting of red cayenne pepper on my yummy plants… maybe the birdies would not like it either?? Worth a try I suppose.

    Thank you for your visit to WMG! I look forward to following your garden through the season. I so love the styles of Beth Chatto and Piet Oudolf, so you have peaked my interest.


    • Thanks Julie, yes a tear was close, but more in anger than in sorrow. For the wisteria the red cayenne would be a bit difficult but I’ll bear it in mind for other crops. I’m happy you enjoyed my garden. Christina

  2. Birds.
    I’ve had that too. but then the following year it was fine again.
    Not sure if it is pigeons or blackbirds.
    They are now eating the white blossom of the cherry tree. Very disheartening to find the flowers all on the ground.

    Can you net the remainder?

    • It could be pigeons, there are far too many of them. Netting would be too difficult as the wisteria is on 2 sides of the house, but thank you for the suggestion.

  3. Christina, that’s so sad! I hope you can work out exactly what the culprit is, bird or locust. Could you net the buds until they start to flower? No, that would be far too ugly… An unwelcome reminder of how illusory the sense that we can control our gardens is.

    • Yes, you’re right about the lack of control. In some ways I like that NATURE is stronger than we are, but then I was so angry when I saw the damage. I think there will be hardly any bllom on the white wisteria, I’m a little more hopefull for the standard coloured one.

    • Christina I can state categorically that, in my garden at least, it’s the pesky parrots that are beheading the wisteria – I’ve caught them red-handed. The problem is – how to deter them. I have just collected a handful of fat, buds from the lawn so am really desperate to find a tried and true deterrant – anyone?

      • I am sure that the birds were taking aphids from the buds and in the process the buds were also removed. since the wisteria is now larger and stronger I haven’t has the same problem. Your parrots may be doing the same thing.

  4. What a shame about your wisteria, which is a lovely plant. Maybe the local garden centre will have an idea about what causes the damage. Thanks for visiting my irish blog, all the best, Kelli.

    • We don’t really have Garden Centres in this part of Italy, I’m pretty sure it is birds causing the problem; I’ll just have to hope they can’t reach all the buds or will loose interest when they actually begin flowering.

  5. Pingback: The Roses Begin, in a small way « Creating my own garden of the Hesperides

  6. I have just watched what appeared to be a bee cut off and fly off with nearly a third of a leaf of a new Wisteria I have recently planted…No it didn’t look like a wasp…It explains the huge chunks out of the plant.What shall I do ? (N.E.England )

    • It was a leaf cutter bed making a nest! They dont do much damage, and only make their nests for a few weeks and the plant will recover. Enjoy trying to see one do this- it’s really very clever.

  7. I have just watched as a pidgeon has pecked away at our wisteria buds destroying many and eating little. Droppings everywhere so probably early morning attack. I have suspended two CD’s in the hope this will work.

    • It was smaller birds pecking at mine and I’m sure it was due to aphids on the buds; the wisteria was quite new when this happened so the plants weren’t so strong. Now I have some damage caused by the carpenter bees that just love the nectar of wisteria but they are so big they damage the flowers when they are inside them. Another cause can be that in early morning there are droplets of water on the flowers that attract the birds.

  8. I live in the South East of the UK and have 2 very mature Wisterias growing over my pergola off the back of my house, along with a Clematis Armandii and every year they all produce beautiful blooms, but the last 2 years I’ve found broken flower heads all over my decking and patio underneath and flower buds pecked off on those still attached to the stems! It’s gutting to see this when you are just waiting for them to burst into bloom, I seem to remember last year seeing pigeons pecking at them, but I haven’t caught anything in the act this year, unless they are up much earlier than me! Someone suggested a fake bird of prey model to scare them away! Worth a try I suppose.

  9. This is the first year that we have encountered birds eating the Wisteria buds, but it is definitely pigeons that are eating the buds. The patio is a complete mess of droppings and fallen buds. It is heartbreaking that having not been affected by frost this year the buds are being decimated by pigeons. I now have a plastic decoy owl nearby, wind chimes and foil streamers suspended, but although there could be fewer pigeons it is not keeping all of them away.

    • Pauline, I’m so sorry. I know just how you feel. Some of my flowers are taken every year but I don’t think it is pigeons here but smaller birds. As I said on my reply to a recent comment, I think birds may be taking aphids or just water droplets. The huge carpenter bees cause a lot of the petals to fall as they seem to love the nectar but are too big to get inside the flower without damaging it. Pigeons or rather collared doves are eating some of the brassicas this year for the first time.

  10. Definitely sparrows raising chicks are eating my witeria full opened flowers. They are so efficient that bare stems are left.

  11. I’m sorry to hear about your wisteria. There’s always something waiting for their opportunist moment …….sigh. The frustrations and challenges of gardening . I hope something else is bounteous and helps restore your gardening joy.

    • As the wisteria has matured I haven’t had any problems, this year the wisteria was magnificent, if you look back at my early April posts you’ll be able to see it.

  12. Wood pigeons are pecking the buds off the wisteria in Regent’s Park. They are also devouring some new herbaceous plants, possibly asters. They are very destructive.

  13. I’m amazed that yours isn’t flowering yet as all Wisteria are over here. I think it may be birds, insects wouldn’t go near it as long as flowers are closed. Hope you still have a lovely show.

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