Some wisteria are already in flower in London and now is a good time to visit nurseries to choose the blossom colour you want. There are many lovely varieties - white, pink, lilac, purple - but you can't really rely on a word description to necessarily match your idealised version of the blooms. Neither modernist nor minimalist it's still a classy plant, originating in Asia, that epitomises the English country garden, and seen here on a Georgian townhouse. The greyish gnarled stems imply a long-established history when formally trained on a building. Less often in the UK (due to lack of space, maybe, and because we also like other climbers like clematis and roses) but more common in Japan is to see the plant trained on sturdily built pergolas where the racemes (tresses of flowers) can hang down. At Giverny, Monet's garden in Normandy, a wisteria walk on a bridge means the flowers are reflected in the water to stunning effect. Wisteria can also be allowed to naturally scramble its nine metres or more through a suitably large and strong tree.
Pruning is essential to maximise floriferousness (that's a real word used by horticulturalists). As other woody plants that flower before July, flowers are produced on the previous season's growth and you prune after flowering. In late July or August, shorten the current season's shoots to 30cm (unless they are to establish framework or replace damaged branches). The flower buds form at the base of these shoots. In late winter, towards the end of the dormant period, cut these shoots back to 5 cm or so (not more) of the older wood. The flowering stems will erupt into growth.
|urban - over Leylandii in Lambeth Walk|
|Oval cricket ground|
|beautifying a garage|
I'm lookng forward to my Wisteria client getting years of pleasure from the wisteria we choose and plant together!