The wisteria is blooming! A mild winter with plenty of rain, and a lovely sunny spring means that this pretty climbing plant is flowering earlier than usual. Like my earlier tulip post this one is mostly photos! Some of them I have taken myself on runs and walks, and even a cycle ride. Some of them have been kindly donated by my friends who have taken some stunning pictures while out on their daily walks or bike rides.
We have all been trying to find routes that avoid busy places, like parks. Luckily there are some beautiful front gardens where we live. It makes walking round the streets a pleasure, and I am very grateful to all those green-fingered residents who share these uplifting sights with us!
Perhaps the current restrictions on where we can go have made people realise that being outdoors and looking at plants and living things is not only good for us physically but mentally too. I’ve been saying this for a while of course, in this earlier post for example. I have been wondering if some of the people walking in the parks now are the same people who just a few weeks ago were walking round an indoor shopping mall? Maybe when life is different again walking outdoors will be a positive choice for more people…
Wisteria is one of the most impressive and showy flowers around right now. The yellows and reds of the tulips and daffodils are fading into the blues and lilacs of wisteria, ceanothus, lilac, and bluebells. Wisteria is a climbing plant in the legume family; laburnum is in the same family, and both plants have highly poisonous seeds. There are two main types – Japanese wisteria or W. floribunda, and Chinese wisteria or W. sinensis. Although it is most often seen in lilac shades there is also a white version.
Interesting fact – you can tell them apart by looking at the way the stems twine: Japanese wisteria twines clockwise, and Chinese wisteria twines anti-clockwise when viewed from above.
It’s not just the beautiful vision of wisteria that is so compelling, it also smells lovely. Wisteria grows quickly, but needs some careful cultivation to look its best. It requires pruning twice a year to get the best shape and most prolific flowering. It will clamber up any support, so frameworks and arches need to be strong.
The National Trust has several gardens with amazing wisteria, some are more than 100 years old. Sadly for everyone we are limited in where we can go, so visits to these gardens are not an option at the moment. But thanks to amateur horticulturalists in our neighbourhoods we can enjoy this wonderful plant for a few weeks every year – for free!
Thank you to my friends who have shared their photos, and thanks to all the fantastic gardeners who help make daily life a bit more bearable at the moment. Today is Earth Day 2020. It’s the 50th Earth Day. Take some time today to appreciate our wonderful world. Stay safe everyone!