Monday, September 22, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Wisteria in check

That title seems a bit of an oxymoron. The typical wisteria - Chinese or Japanese - is in check for, what, five minutes? This is my American wisteria - Wisteria frutescens 'Amethyst Falls' - budding up in a most delightful way.

Wisteria in check

That title seems a bit of an oxymoron. The typical wisteria - Chinese or Japanese - is in check for, what, five minutes? This is my American wisteria - Wisteria frutescens 'Amethyst Falls' - budding up in a most delightful way.

America wisteria supposedly is very well-behaved, more like a shrub than its unruly Asian cousin, which attaches and roots itself onto anything and everything and has been known to disfigure buildings.

Wisteria frutescens grows only about 10 to 15 feet, versus 100 for the Asian varieties, but that's more than enough to send it up and over my pergola. The flowers - called racemes, those beautiful, pendulous things - are smaller and from what I read in online garden forums, don't smell nearly as nice as the better known varieties. In fact, some of those online folks say downright nasty things about its smell.

But I wouldn't know. This is the second year this vine has been in my garden, its first to bloom. So we'll see. But I already like the look of these buds and am eager to see how they - literally - unfold.

And I'll be sure to do a sniff test. Will let you know.

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
About this blog
Ginny Smith, a Philadelphia native, joined the Inquirer at 1985. After stints as both reporter and editor in the city and suburbs, she’s been happily writing – and learning - about gardening full time since 2006. She’s won two silver medals of achievement from the national Garden Writers Association and in 2011, Bartram’s Garden honored her with its Green Exemplar award for her stories about “the region’s deeply rooted horticultural history, cultural attractions and bountiful gardens.” She plays in her own – mostly - bountiful garden in East Falls. Reach Virginia A. at vsmith@phillynews.com .

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
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