Friday, October 2, 2009

Flower of the Season - Spring 2009


How very beautiful and dazzlingly old fashioned is the wonderful Wisteria floribuna, W.sinensis! I have loved this beautiful plant ever since I was a child. I would go 'exploring' around my parents farm and happen across this climber growing up a south facing verandah post of 'the old house', delighting me with its subtle fragrance, captivating me with the dainty-ness of its mauve blooms. Although this fabulous old vine was struggling to grow in the neglected 100 year old garden of 'the old house', and on the totally inappropriate, heavily shaded south side, it still managed to muster up quite a dynamic show every year. That is one thing beautifully old fashioned plants are quite renowned for - their hardiness and resilience. To me that is what makes them so desirable in today's 'low maintenance, drought tolerant' gardens. And at this time of year, none display their hardiness more delightfully than the Wisteria !
A native of China ('shorter' length blooms) and Japan ('longer' length blooms), it is a very vigorous, heavy twining climber and has a moderate to fast growth rate. It is idea for covering verandahs or pergolas, but can also be trained as a standard. It is frost hardy to -25 degrees, and does not appreciate the humidity of the tropics, but otherwise will do well almost anywhere in-between. Unlike the climber at 'the old house', full sun is a must for a wisteria, and some shelter will also prolong the floral display in late September/early October. Prune to desired shape, and to also thin out and prevent the vine from becoming too heavy for your chosen support. Then sit back with a seasonal glass of my lemon refresher recipe and enjoy the floral display, amazing colour and the elating fragrance!

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