Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Flower of the Week

Today I took my camera with me on a short road trip hoping to see some big stands of wisteria. These photos were snapped from my car so they're not the best. Still, I think you'll get the idea.

Wisteria is definitely the most spectacular early spring bloomer here in Athens. Before moving south I'd seen a wisteria "tree"--a vine trained to have a trunk so it grows like a small tree. If the tree-form is all you've seen, then you've really never seen wisteria.

Wisteria spreads like wildfire. Frankly, I'm afraid to grow the stuff. You have to cut the vines back hard every year or it will take over. In some parts of town, the entire tree canopy is blanketed with lovely lavender wisteria blooms. They smell good, too.

Despite its rampant growth, other than when it's blooming wisteria is largely invisible. The blooms appear on bare vines--the foliage appears later. If you know where it is growing and you look hard enough, in the summer you can see the foliage.

Wisteria typically blooms before most the stuff blooming now. This year everything else was so early I thought maybe the wisteria wasn't going to bloom. I'm glad it did. Spring without wisteria would not be good for...

The Crotchety Old Man

1 comment:

CathyB said...

Michael, I caught the tail-end of a horticulture radio call-in show the other day broadcast from Gainesville. The callers were asking about the *wild* wysteria vines growing about town. One of the hosts was a county extension agent (I think), and I believe the other hostess was horticulturist, but not 100% on my info. At any rate, they were recommending this plant:

the Amethyst Falls variety of the wysteria. Supposed to have a quicker blooming time than some of the other varieties, and not nearly so invasive as the wild vines. I don't have any personal experience with this plant, but googled it to get a link for you.

i always love looking at the wild wysteria and the smell too! my daddy always said it was like kudzu, though, it would ultimately choke the life out of everything it attaches itself too. The folks on the radio also said not to let it attach to your porch, or arbor, etc, as the weight could pull down gutters, trellis boards, etc.

one of these days I'm going to check out the amethyst falls variety and maybe get one for myself.

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