Thursday, February 25, 2010

"Got you In A Stranglehold, Baby"

Fun fact about Ted Nugent, who has been kind enough to provide our post title today. The Nuge is a chef!

I don't even need to provide hilarious commentary for that one, it laughs for itself :)

Three words. Wisteria. Is. Awesome.

I love the stuff. It's one of those exotic things for this transplanted Canadian that never gets tired. Like magnolia trees. Like azaleas.

I fool myself into thinking it's spring at the end of February. Then there's a frost. Then I fool myself that it's spring in March. Then there's another frost. Then I get upset and throw a few tantrums.

But in April! When I see that first bloom of purple in the trees while I'm driving to work...I've nearly crashed my car craning my neck to make sure that I really saw it. And then I KNOW it's spring. :)

I'm full of fun facts today. On the television show 'Desperate Housewives', the name of the street they all live on is 'Wisteria Lane'. Wisteria is an invasive plant that strangles the structure it grows on, eventually crushing it or killing it. The boa constrictor of vines. Great name for the street that these crazy broads live on:

Well, it's not invasive in every area. But wisteria's potential for invasiveness in my area is the reason I don't grow any myself. I wouldn't trust any structure I grew it on, unless it was an already dead tree. Which I don't have on my property. And I sure wouldn't grow it near my house. I feel comforted by the fact that it takes a lot of years before its first bloom, and I probably wouldn't be in this house by then anyway.

Lowe's has a wooden arbor that they call a 'Wisteria Arbor'. The salespeople must have thought I was nuts, standing there laughing at this arbor. There's no way that flimsy thing would last more than a couple of seasons under the grip of wisteria.

I don't want to grow it on a metal one either, unless it was some serious heavy metal.

We found out that metal trellises seriously corrode here on the Southeastern coast of NC. Mr. A had some Carolina Jessamine growing on one out in the backyard. We had a tropical storm come through 3 years ago, and the arbor snapped like a twig. The metal was just so corroded, it couldn't take a bit of heavy wind.

I know that wisteria can be used as bonsai. I LOVE this idea. I've seen it trained into tree form in a few of the neighbourhood yards here, and it looks amazing. I just don't think I have the patience or skill for that at this point.

This 'bonsai wisteria' is not my photo, the rest of the wisteria ones are.

However, I love to take walks. And wisteria is everywhere. There's this one area on a dirt road down behind where I live that has the largest amount of wisteria that I've ever seen in one place. It must have been growing there for a couple hundred years at least. The pictures I'm posting of it don't do it justice.

Imagine this powerful, beautiful, heavy scent hitting you in the face like prizefighter. Wisteria smells amazing. Have you ever seen bees get lazy and sleepy when someone 'smokes' them? I look just like a dazed bee in this picture....bee-dazzled, if you will :P

I'm sure I'll bore you all with new photos of wisteria this spring, but here are some more from last year. My favourites are the ones where people are growing it through their azalea bushes. The colour combination is AWESOME.

This wistera is growing on a large crepe myrtle. Which is now sorta half dead. And I guess it doesn't matter because you can't see the tree through all the wisteria lol.

This is my favourite wisteria photo. I put it on the 'Crystal Coast Gardener' bumper sticker I had made on

Can you tell I'm still waffling and want to plant it even though I know better?

What's Ted Nugent doing these days besides hunting and writing cookbooks?

Maybe I can hire him to threaten the wisteria into staying contained... O_O


Jan (Thanks For Today) said...

Lovely photos;-) It must look & smell so good in the spring down your way;-) I imagine somebody out there will want to say something about how it strangles crepe myrtles (!) and is invasive...therefore should be removed (NO!) but that wouldn't be me:-) I enjoyed your post and will check out the link to see about bumper stickers, hmm...'Thanks For Today' would be pretty decent on my bumper, wouldn't it! Hadn't even thought of that idea...not sure I am going to but curious about it, just the same. Have a great day!

Darla said...

As far as the wisteria grows.(goes)..we have one that we keep pruned into a bush, it's lovely that way...we also planted a white one last year..we will prune it as well although I would like for it to get larger than the purple one..

Abe Lincoln said...

I love these smells of spring too. Nice pictures of it.

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

Well, Ted Nugent's cookbook is NOT one that I'll be adding to my kitchen shelf LOL.

As for Wisteria, I love to look at it too, and your photos are lovely! I did grow it at our first house, in tree form, but to keep it in tree form it seemed to need an excessive amount of attention. If I even blinked there'd be a 30ft runner that I'd missed sneaking behind the junipers! Kudos to those that can keep it in tree form, but I personally don't have the patience. I'm lucky now though, my neighbor grows it all along a fence, and every spring the blooms are magnificent. I get to enjoy it...without having to maintain it! It's perfect!

You were right to laugh at the arbor too. I've seen this vine consume porches, sheds, fences...I wouldn't be surprised if it hasn't kidnapped a child or two! :P

Noelle said...

It is wonderful that you can still enjoy Wisteria close to your home without having to grow it yourself and have it overwhelm your landscape :^)

Floridagirl said...

Hmmm...Views I remember from my old Atlanta backyard: on the neighbor's lot line...a mixed row of 30-foot crape myrtles and 40-foot pear trees...all being slowly strangled by a 1,000-foot wisteria vine. It was staying out of my maples and cherry trees!!! The flowers are so beautiful though!

Jess said...

It was growing up the side of the brownstone I lived in in NYC, growing up 5 stories of the fire escape stairs. It was beautiful, but granted, not much you can do to a fire escape.

Dreamybee said...

Wisteria is beautiful-I don't blame you for wanting to plant it, against your better judgment. Couldn't you grow it in a pot, non-bonsai style? I have crape myrtles in a pot. Granted, they're a couple years old and haven't busted past 6" in height yet, but still. They do flower beautifully!

ChickenFreak said...

Wisteria! Yay!

We have it growing six feet from our front door. :) It hasn't managed to pull the house down yet, but it reaches for it. And it's attacking the magnolia, because we don't guard that as ferociously.

Ours blooms all spring and summer, and produces hardly any pods. I don't know if it's naturally sterile and therefore blooms forever, or if there's none nearby to fertilize it. But I love the constant bloom.

gippslandgardener said...

I haven't heard of Ted Nugent in my part of the world and it sounds like it's just as well!
I'd love a wisteria too, but I have heard of people wondering why their plumbing stopped working or why their veranda ended up on the ground after planting one. Maybe learning bonsai isn't such a bad idea!

The Idiot Gardener said...

Let's face it, Tedward can only be better as a chef and hunter than he was as a noisy long-haired headbanger, can't he?

Kyna said...

Jan: You should check Zazzle out. You can make your own bumber stickers, t-shirts, etc. Just about anything you can put an image on. It's pretty easy, and relatively inexpensive. :)

Darla: I haven't seen white wisteria around here, just in pictures. Sounds lovely :D

Abe: Thank you for stopping by! There are many smells of spring to be enjoyed around here :)

CVF: Hehe, yeah it's not a cookbook I'd own either. I've sold quite a few of them at the store though, hunting's big in my area.
I've heard wisteria can send out sneaky runners like that O_O. There's a house down a road near us that looks as if the porch is being eaten by a wisteria monster...the whole front roof is covered in it!

Noelle: Yes, I'm so grateful that there have been other people crazy enough to plant it at some time or another lol.

FG: They should call wisteria 'Ninja Vine' LOL.

Jess: Haha! Nope, the fire escape sounds safe enough. Wish I had one in the backyard :D

Dreamybee: I could probably try growing it in a pot, but that would require bonsai if I decided not to grow it up anything. The vines just get so huge... And I also don't seem to be as successful at container gardening as I'd like to be lol :D

CF: All spring and summer?? That's crazy! I have seen the odd panicle of wisteria blooming in late summer, but otherwise it's just two weeks in April, and they're all done for the year. :(

Gippy: Yeah, it's no big loss if you don't know Ted Nugent lol. He's famous for a few classic rock songs in the 70's, but they're songs the radio wants to play over and over lol. These days he's a gun rights activist, avid hunter, and avid right-wing loudmouth :P

IG: Exactly! Someone has to stand up for my rights to have an arsenal and side of deer in the pantry :D

Sue Swift said...

I love wisteria. It's one of the highlights of the year when it comes out.

Kyna said...

It sure starts spring off with a bang! :D

Sunny said...

What I want to know: is a stranglehold worse than cat scratch fever? lol...ah memories....

Deborah at Kilbourne Grove said...

Kyna, wisteria is hardy in my part of Canada, I love it, but I have never grown it, I do not have the kind of massive structure that you need to hold it up. I do love the freestanding ones though, they are beautiful. It must be amazing to be driving along and see this purple cloud over your head.

Kyna said...

Sunny: LOL! I'm thinking the stranglehold. Cat scratch fever sounds like it may have some upsides :P

Deb: I didn't realize you could grow wisteria anywhere in Canada! That's pretty cool. Yeah, the only thing I could see growing it on is a very sturdy pergola. But even that...if it can crush out trees..O_O

Pam's English Garden said...

I love wisteria, too, but don't grow it for the reasons you mention. Nice post. I think when you first plant it it can be several years before it flowers. Pam x

ChickenFreak said...

We're no longer certain as to whether the pergola is holding up the wisteria, or the wisteria is holding up the pergola. I suspect that it's a symbiotic thing. Luckily, neither is directly attached to the house, so we won't someday walk home to find that the wisteria and house have flopped over like a Weeble.

Meredith said...

Kyna, loved this post! I'd never thought of how a transplanted gardener would react to our rampant wisteria. (F. loves it, saying it reminds him of pagodas, but he's no gardener.)

For me it is one of the most bewitching signs of spring. At the university I attended, they had an ancient wisteria trained to the entryway of the department where I studied, and I definitely didn't quite want to go in to class in early spring. :)

Neighbors (in my childhood neighborhood) bought a carefully trained tree-form wisteria and grew it successfully for about 15 years before it got out of hand and made babies and now makes all the trees down to the huge light pole mid-street its home. Otherwise, I'd be so tempted to try one of those trees myself...

Christine B. said...

Wisteria is nowhere to be found here in Alaska. Acutally, I did spot it once on a garden tour, but it was a sickly, over pampered, and over priced (shipping was 50 dollars!) specimen. So I enjoy your pictures because that is not happening here.... And Ted Nugent has a real fan base in the Last Frontier.

Christine B.

Kyna said...

Pam: Yep, and I definitely don't have that patience lol. I just know it would get out of hand on me anyway, and Mr. A would be distraught LOL

CF: LOL! I know that wouldn't actually be funny, but the image in my head kinda was :P

Meredith: If wisteria had been growing on my campus, I probably would have flunked everything. It grows in April, around the time I would have had midterms lol. In fact, I'm surprised I came out with the great grades I did, because I had to squeeze in hockey playoffs around that time as well! :P

Christine: I do the same thing with lilacs. I drool over the pictures everyone else's way too warm for them here. lol.

jodi (bloomingwriter) said...

Wisteria isn't invasive here, and is sort of marginally hardy for some, does fine for others. I have a special one here in my garden. It was given to me about 2 1/2 years ago by a friend who died about 8 months later of cancer. He had got it as a cutting from a mutual friend of ours, a grand plantsman now in his mid-90s, so it's off a massive wisteria that Dick (the senior gardener) has growing on his plant farm. So whenever I see wisteria, I think of both Jim and Dick, and I smile. Mine is years from flowering, but it has settled in just fine.

Kyna said...

Aw, what a lovely story, Jodi :D I'm so glad you're able to enjoy it where you are!

Jayne said...

I've seen wisteria grown as a tree that looks pretty spectacular. It's a beautiful plant, but I haven't ever grown any for the reasons mentioned here.