Joy of Joys – Wisteria

When we were searching for a house we saw one that had the most amazing wisteria covered terrace. The stem (I want to say trunk) was so thick I thought the plant must be hundreds of years old. I know now that they grow so quickly that 100 years was probably unlikely.

I so wanted to buy that house! But it had far too many problems so our search continued. This house didn’t have a terrace let alone a wisteria covered one so my first design plan was to put up a pergola around the house with a wide enough terrace and to plant wisteria!
The brick pillars had hardly been finished before I was at the nursery selecting the plants. W. ‘prolific’ for the pillars at the front and white wisteria for the east side (these struggled to begin with as they get the full force of the NE wind) but now the plants are more mature they are flowering well, a little later than ‘Prolific’ but that spreads the enjoyment so no complaint about that.
Every year after pruning back to the two prescribed buds I anxiously wait as the buds swell and the first colour shows.

In February I pruned back to two buds

In February I pruned back to two buds

At that stage it is impossible to know which are flower beds and which will form shoots

At that stage it is impossible to know which are flower beds and which will form shoots

This year it is better than ever; every wire is covered and the perfume when standing under the flowers is almost overpowering.

Looking West (last week in March)

Looking West (last week in March)

Looking east (last week in March)

Looking east (last week in March)

Looking up (last week in March)

Looking up (last week in March)

Most of the flowers are fully open now (first week in April)

Most of the flowers are fully open now (first week in April)

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Such a beautiful colour

Such a beautiful colour

The bees love visting the flowers usually it is the huge carpenter bees who are most persistent visitors, sometimes breaking open the flower to get to the nectar

The bees love visting the flowers usually it is the huge carpenter bees who are most persistent visitors, sometimes breaking open the flower to get to the nectar

Looking east

Looking east – the flowers have opened so quickly (compare this with the end of March)

The view from my kitchen window, how do I not just stand here all day?

The view from my kitchen window, how do I not just stand here all day?

Looking out from undr the terrace

Looking out from undr the terrace

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37 thoughts on “Joy of Joys – Wisteria

    • Yes Pauline it is the perfect plant; loosing its leaves in winter to allow much needed light into the house and giving shade all summer on the terrace and helping to keep the house cool.

  1. Absolutely gorgeous! Yes, how do you manage to not just stand at your kitchen window or sit under the shade of it all day?! Your view is wonderful!

  2. I share your love of Wisteria. We planted ours to act as a hedge in the front garden before we moved here permanently. A cutting of the original ones is now blooming against the plain wall of an out building and we started to train another as a standard last year. The perfume is indeed so special as it floats in the garden. Amelia

  3. Oh that does look beautiful, what a fantastic place to sit.
    We used to have a little cottage hidden away up a footpath, with the gable wall next to the path covered in wisteria. It was touch and go hardy, some years I lost all the flowers just as they were opening. But the years we had it in full bloom, oh my. People would stop on the path and just drink it in.

    • You know I had fogotten that could happen, very silly of me as a neighbour in England had one on their south facing house but some years the flowers were lost to a late frost.

  4. How beautiful! I love the picture of the fuzzy honeybee.

    I grow wisteria as a shrub and I fear I pruned it back too much last summer, so I will have to enjoy yours. It’s gorgeous, all that lavender purple dripping down.

  5. The one I planted was from a friend. It has never had any blossoms, but continues to go about its business of prying loose the siding of the house and strangling anything in its path. Your vision of loveliness is more like what I was after.

    • You need to buy wisteria when they are flowering to be sure they will. Also any grown from seed are likely to be hopeless, they need to be grafts onto a strong rootstock. But yes they do grow very fast and can quickly become stronger than their supports!

  6. I agree, I think I would just stand and stare at that gorgeous view all day! Your wisteria is perfectly maintained and rewards you with its outstanding blooms and perfume. I have always wanted a VERY sturdy structure to grow wisteria on, but so far that remains just a dream. When I was a child we moved to a house that had a large wrap-around porch covered with wisteria. The neighbors said people drove from miles around to see it in bloom. But we never saw that amazing sight. The wisteria was pulling the porch down and had to be removed.

    • That’s a sad story Debbie, what a shame you didn’t see it at least once. Why don’t you consider growing one as a standard in your woodland, you just need a stong post to train it up.

  7. Your wisteria are so beautiful, like a dream, and you have done a fantastic job of creating a view from your kitchen window! I have stayed away from wisteria because they need such strong supports and make do with clematis and trumpet honeysuckle – also beautiful, but without the wonderful fragrance. At the Chicago Botanic Garden they do have some lovely wisteria vines.

    • Yes, they do need a good support, a house wall can be good, they don’t attach themselves into the brick or stonework but you do need to make sure they don’t wind themselves around gutters. You could grow a standard, I’m thinking of doing that.

  8. Oh – thanks so much for this post, Christina, and not only cos it prompted me to rush out and check mine and, sure enough, there are lots of buds beginning to fatten up, surely several weeks earlier than usual as it would not usually be in full flower till the end of May, I think. It was lovely to see the beautiful photos of yours and hear their history – isn’t it great to have nurtured them right from the start and known them from babies. I remember when mine was just a stick!

  9. I would love to come and stand at your kitchen window all day! And, as others have said, what a great job you have done of providing the right support and pruning correctly. My grandmother had a wisteria-covered porch and I tried to recreate the feeling I remembered there in our first spring here, planting one plant as the start of a wisteria arbour. Unfortunately the roots were eaten and the plant killed by our friendly water voles. But your pictures have inspired me to try again (with wire baskets to protect the roots) – beautiful Christina. I so enjoyed your post. What a lovely garden you are making.

    • Thank you Cathy. You might want to find somewhere not so wet to plant wisteria it really likes very free draining soil. I have a friend who planted one into almost pure sand and it thrived!

  10. You’re envious of my daffodils and I’m a little envious of your stunning Wisteria pergola – smashing! But I’m glad I can share your joy through this blog. Well done for training it like that too

    • That’s one of the pleasures of blogging, it’s like being able to visit gardens that have different conditions to your own and enjoying things you can’t grow.

  11. I love your wisterias, Christina. Those dripping flowers make a stunning frame to any of your views, and must give so much pleasure to sit beneath at this time of year. They are very well trained!

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