Purple haze

This year has been one of the best for wisteria for a long time – the strong winds associated with spring have begun only now, some three weeks after our wisteria, which is one of the earlier ones, came into flower.

The scent has been beautiful and I’ve often lingered amid the ‘purple haze’ for no good reason other than the perfume. Last weekend we took our little table and chairs around to the front of the house and set them up under the wisteria and had an afternoon cuppa there, part of the scent, the buzzing of bees and the sunshine.

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Visitors to my home enter under a cloud of purple wisteria at this time of year. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Our vine is just one of the ordinary Wisteria sinensis and is some 20 years old. When the children were younger we realised that it flowered in time with a school holiday and more often than not we left just as it was bursting and came back to find purple blossoms all over the ground – missed it again!

But this year the blossoms have been earlier or the spring winds later than usual and I’ve been enjoying not only our own, but glimpses of wisterias in other gardens as I drive from here to there.

A recent impulse purchase was Wisteria venusta White Silk, described as “a rare Japanese variety with soft, silky foliage and unusually large cream flowers produced on short racemes … plants make excellent container specimens“. As it’s still in its container I certainly hope so! Please note that there is some dispute about the naming of these wisteria and you’ll see both ‘venusta’ and ‘brachybotrys’ used. Apparently, they’re synonymous.

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Photo: Sandra Simpson

Read some good information about Wisteria sinensis here, plus tips on how to prune the vines to improve flowering (remembering to reverse the months for the Southern Hemisphere), and read Abbie Jury’s warnings on where to plant these vigorous growers. Find some basic, but useful, information about the different families of wisteria here.

And here’s an earlier post of mine about John and Christine Nicholls who grow a collection of wisteria as a hobby.


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