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.