Wisteria plants (glycine in French) seem to be everywhere in the Greater Daglan Area (starting with the photo at the top of this blog, which shows a mature flowering wisteria snaking along one of our neighbour’s homes). Over the winter, the foliage dies back, leaving only the vines. But in spring, watch out — this is a plant that gives new meaning to the word “growth.”
They start slowly enough, pushing out a few tender leaves. In some cases (depending on the type of wisteria) they flower very early. But as spring progresses, the explosive growth begins. Leaves appear, tendrils shoot out from every part of the plant, and suddenly you have wisteria branching out everywhere. Both the foliage and the flowers are certainly attractive, but the plants do need some watching.
Here’s a sample commentary that I’ve taken from another blog written by an ex-pat who lives in France: “…we have a couple of very old wisterias and I can tell you they aren’t funny. Leave them alone for a week, and they take over the garden. Give them a fortnight and they will prise off your roof tiles and hurl them to the ground below, probably onto a passing child.”
This afternoon my wife Jan and I drove over to nearby Cénac for some shopping, and stopped at Le Pauly for coffees. The photo below is of a planting of wisteria just across the street from the café, showing how the vines have first covered the terrace of a home, and then decided to head out on their own to explore the neighbourhood:
Then, growing on Le Pauly’s own wall, I discovered this wisteria, which has the largest trunk I’ve ever seen on a wisteria vine:
In case you’re wondering, I have a special interest in how wisteria grow, because we now have a young wisteria plant on each side of our front steps. I bought an electric drill and a masonry bit, and bored holes into the limestone wall of the house. Then I cemented large eye bolts into the holes, and strung wire between them, to give support to the vines. So far the plants have climbed about six feet up the wall, but they are showing a keen interest in reaching for the stars — if you get my drift.