Some things move you. Other things leave you cold. Meadows move me, real ones, not synthetic jump on the bandwagon ones. Trees move me, big trees, native trees, the trees on our boundary: oak and ash and hawthorn and holly. Bedding plants don't. Lavender hedges move me. Roses grown on swags of rope don't. Bluebells and sea pinks move me. Begonias don't. I don't know why. I could have a go at trying to explain but it is not all rational.
Wisteria moves me. It always has. It is ludicrous in some ways. It is a plant which is so over the top it could be a climbing, rampaging begonia, and yet somehow its lushness and its falls of flower stay just this side of kitsch. It remains subtle, even whilst taking your breath away. The delicacy of the leaf pattern reminds me of rowan and ash trees, both of which I love. The flowers are like coming upon a waterfall. A few years ago my parents lived in a house in Devon which had been a small manor house and had then been divided into four houses. Each of the four houses was a beautiful place although technically the two middle ones were terraced houses I suppose. The end house had a beautiful wisteria which gathered the others to it. When it flowered the whole building regained its unity.
So I have wanted a wisteria for years. For most of my life I lived in houses with gardens so small than wanting a wisteria was a nonsense - I would like a wisteria and here is the six foot of fence I can offer it. Silly. In our last house we had a bigger garden, still a city garden but with a wall and a sense of space. Ian built a pergola for me and I spent hours and hours thinking and reading about what to plant on it. The planting included a wisteria but I didn't know then that you should only buy a new wisteria plant in flower. A plant which has not yet flowered might take many years to get there. Even a small plant in flower will continue to flower from year to year. So I chose my wisteria very carefully, bought a young plant and watched it for five years grow bigger and better and fail to flower. We sold the house and left never having seen the wisteria flower. That house was sold again recently and we looked at the details on rightmove as you do. There in the garden was the pergola and the wisteria in full flower. So it did happen, ten or more years on, just not for us.
As part of my ongoing enquiry into open space and enclosure I have wondered about intensifying the sense of enclosure in the side garden. Ian built a structure for me on which to make a living wall.
This is not a good picture. I see it as a wall of planting, as good in leaf as in flower. I know that now it looks like a very open fence. Trust me (this is me talking to myself as much as anything). It will work. It might take a while.
The planting in the side garden is very foliage heavy and at the moment is very purple and orange. That sounds odd I know but it doesn't look odd. It looks rather glorious just now.
I am hoping that the foliage will help to anchor the wisteria when it eventually gets going. So yesterday we planted a Wisteria sinensis Prolific. I have tried to find a hardy, vigorous plant as our conditions can be harsh. The soil is full of stones and many things will not grow up here. I see no reason why a wisteria won't it it is coddled a little in the first year or so. So we (by which I mean Ian) dug a hole four times as large as the pot and backfilled it with soil and compost.
You see what I mean about the soil. It does not look promising. Whenever I see Monty Don on Gardener's World working his rich dark soil I do not know whether to weep or have a wry smile.
In it went.
Close your eyes and use your imagination and you can almost get the idea.
Open them again and you find it looks like this.
Close your eyes and again. Image not mine but courtesy of psychotropia.
Now to try to keep it alive.