living with wisteria - MY FRENCH COUNTRY HOME

I realise that the title of this blogpost may sound like a piece from a medical journal, but sometimes when people ask me, amazed, how I manage to “live with that wisteria?!” , it tends to make me feel as if they compare this beautiful plant to a disease, only mildly contagious but nevertheless bothersome!

I love our wisterias.   They were in flower when we moved into our home, and their perfume always reminds me of that day, so exciting, when I turned the key in the door and went through the house, throwing the windows wide open as we waited for the removal trucks to turn up with our furniture.

When we bought our house so many years ago, there were already three well established wisteria on the property.  On the stone pillar of the main gate, across the end of the laundry room and of course against the facade of the house.

Wisteria is an ambitious plant, there is no denying that.   A few years ago we provided the wisteria on the house with a solid frame to weave its way around, and ever since it covers the front of the house each spring, and does its best to twirl in through the open windows.    The new leaves and tender branches can most certainly grow more than six inches in a day.

We cut the branches back around our windows at least twice each summer, and in theory give the whole plant a hard prune late winter, around February.  I have to tell you that due to severe weather, we missed the winter prune this year, but that doesn’t seem to have affected the flowering season.

We generally get a second more timid flowering in the summer, but it is the foliage that is so pretty until the fall.

So is it a difficult plant to live with?    If you prefer a very structured and formal planting design to your garden then you can keep the wisteria tightly trained to a wall, but if like me, you have a penchant for a romantic tumbling garden then wisteria is ideal.

Words of warning are required when it comes to shutters, gutters or railings.  Never underestimate the strength of this plant.   It has  unhooked gutters here, and crushed a zinc water pipe as if it were paper.   I have heard it can do the same thing with iron railings, but I haven’t tested that one personally.

When we cut it back around the windows, we are very careful with the tendrils that are growing through the shutter slats, and around the hinges.

Would I recommend growing wisteria? yes without a doubt.  Along with a rambling rose, it is probably my favourite climber .    And I’d love to know if you love it too, and if it grows well in your part of the world.

Have a happy and fragrant weekend, and thank you for reading me !


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