*** (3 stars)
Botanical name: Wisteria
Type: Deciduous vine
Growth Habit: grows 30 ft or more!
Zone: USA zones 4-9
Ah, wisteria! I battle with "the great green monster" all throughout the summer, trying to keep it at bay. Every year I toy with the idea of tearing the darn thing up. Then spring happens, and its orchid-like lilac clusters fill the air with a heavenly perfume – all is forgiven!
If you wish to plant wisteria, by all means, DON’T plant it near your house! Its vines climb under the siding, up the electric meter poles, across the telephone wires, and under the porch. It’s truly a menace… except when in bloom! The blooms come out before the leaves, and my plant, due to the indiscriminate war I am waging against it, does not have a perfect shape when "naked", so it looks a little funny. But the smell and the color are exquisite.
I took a cutting from my grandfather’s wisteria shortly after he died in ’92. I think it was my grandfather who caused me to love plants. His home was like a fairyland to me. His wisteria was in the middle of his front yard, with other flowering trees, and was beautifully shaped, like an umbrella. Little did I know the fight I was in for, planting the beast near my house! Who knows how often Poppop pruned it? But it was perfect. Perhaps mine can be someday, too, if I just remember how perfect its parent plant was, and think of my dear Poppop. OK, that’s my goal this summer. Try to turn the wild animal into a pet. Poppop, help!