Saturday, May 01, 2010

Wisteria


There's a part of me that would kill for this balcony ...


I love wisteria. And my dream is an old house in the country with wisteria growing up the walls. But despite that, I don't think that I shall be introducing it here.


First of all because it's not really a balcony plant. Even here it's not really growing on the balcony - it's been planted in the garden and then trained up.



It must have been planted when the house was built, given the size of it and the width of the trunk.



It's been trained up carefully, and the branches have then been supported under and along the balconies themselves.



Wisteria can be planted in containers - but the container plus the vine might soon get too heavy for the balcony. If you're balcony gardening and intend to use large containers, it's worth finding out how much weight your balcony can support - according to my architect husband, on the type of balcony we have here it's usually around 250-300 kilograms per square foot. Remember though that you need to allow for the weight of the people who might be standing on the balcony too. It's not just the containers.

Then there's the problem of time. Wisteria takes up to 20 years to flower if grown from seed and, some sites suggest, 4-5 or more if grown from cuttings. Even if you've got the patience to wait, space limitations on a balcony mean you might not want to have a non-flowering plant hanging around that long.



And even when it does start, you'll have a superb display for a couple of weeks in the spring and then all the balcony space taken up for the rest of the year. I'm not sure it's worth it.


It seems to me there are two possibilities - firstly to train it as a standard. The
RHS site explains how. It will still reach small tree size, but as long as your balcony can take that much weight, it should solve the space problem.


Or it can be grown as a bonsai. Now I've never been really into bonsais. It's always seemed too much like foot-binding to me. but in this case I have to say I'd be sorely tempted ...

Meanwhile I'm just going to take a short walk up the road at the end of April each year, and stand and gaze at this one. I think it deserves a prize for brightening up the city.


21 comments:

Bernie said...

Wow ... that is just stunning! While it must have looked rather unsightly for a very long time whilst getting to this stage of maturity ... it was definitely worth the time and effort. It's a knockout.

Like you I've always longed to have wisteria growing in my garden ... but it's just not possible in the climate and conditions here. So I have to appreciate it from a distance ... thanks for sharing these great photos.

Kyna said...

I love wisteria....but, yikes! O_O That just looks like a bad thing waiting to happen...like it'll eventually pull down the whole side of the building and be on CNN...

nancybond said...

I agree, wisteria is probably better suited to a house than a balcony, but holy Hannah...isn't that beautiful?!! :)

AaronVFT said...

The flowers are so so beautiful, hanging in the air. The purple colour is lovely too. That must be a very old plant.

Jan said...

It's gorgeous... but so huge! Is the building holding the wisteria up, or the other way around? Maybe there are huge cracks under all that foliage...

Heather said...

Oh yeah, I'm with you on the wisteria but I wouldn't have the patience!

gippslandgardener said...

I'm another one who likes to enjoy wisteria vicariously - thanks for sharing these amazing photos Sue!

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

I always envisioned a lovely long arbor in the garden that I could walk through covered in wisteria. That really is a stunning wisteria on the balconies. Makes a lovely change from all the Sedum on the balconies from one of your prior posts. I've been avoiding wisteria in the garden again, in part because here we have too many trees, and in my experience the vines can get quite out of control when they're happy where they're planted. But they are so beautiful...it is difficult to resist.

noel said...

aloha,

that is one huge wisteria, must take alot of trimming to get it to behave like that!

but how beautiful is that when you get the whole thing blooming all at once, must be smelling really good to!

Diana said...

Hello Sue. I love the wisteria! We had a lovely one over a pergola, but it nearly ate the structure and we had to have it removed. Fortunately we took a piece of it and moved it into the wilderness, along a fence line where it will be much happier and we can admire it from the distance.

Laurrie said...

ooooh, it's just so lush and sexy... wisteria is an awesome display. It does look like it will overtake that whole apartment building and bring it down, balconies and all!

joey said...

Wow, totally amazing! Wisteria is one plant that though love, can only enjoy in other gardens. Thank you for sharing ... it's been a delight visiting.

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

OMG! Sue it is a monster of a vine. How gorgeous is that. I have an old house and a wisteria, but it doesn't bloom LOL! It has to be a very old vine to have gotten that big. It would most likely crunch my old house.

Turling said...

Sweet Mother of God that thing is like a redwood. It might actually pull the building down!

pamsenglishgarden said...

That wisteria is amazing. But I agree it is not really meant for a balcony.

gittan said...

WOW! That's amazing / gittan

Jan (Thanks For Today) said...

That is really something. Hopefully the weight of the vine itself won't eventually pull on the railings or effect the safety of the balconies. I agree, it would be nicer to have more than 2 weeks of blooms for having such a massive amount of growth on the balcony. It is lovely, though, while in bloom.

Susan in the Pink Hat said...

Yeah, largest wisteria I've ever seen. It makes you wonder if the original designer intended it to get that massive

Manuela said...

Ooh! I'll be posting a pic of my wisteria. It seems to be a slightly different variety from the ones in these photos.

Love how they look on the balconies--mine is along my fence :)

flower Philippine said...

Oh' those yellow flower were so cute. I also have like that on my garden. Anyway, thanks for sharing. Keep posting.

-pia-

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