NYC Rooftop Gardner big photo

NYC Rooftop Gardner big photo
September, 2013

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Wondering about Wisteria

I wish I knew why I got so excited and heart-filled-to-bursting whenever I see Wisteria blossoms hanging down from arbors in the spring.  Perhaps it dates back to my earliest Wisteria memory.  I had recently learned how to ride a two-wheel bike and had earned the privilege of riding alone beyond the safety of our block.  It was springtime and I ran home from school and got on that red bike.  I pedaled all around the somewhat hilly neighborhood called “Wooded Estates” that bordered our flat street.  It was dusk and I was trying to remember the way home when I came to a double dip hill.  Before I knew it, I was speeding straight into a patch of sand and the bike spun out of control.  I hit the pavement with shock, indignity and a skinned knee.  I pulled my bike out of the road and sat down to collect myself.  Big girls don’t cry.  There, right next to me was a beautiful stand of wisteria along a fence.  I had never seen anything like it, and the fragrance pulled me out of my panic-stricken pain mode into a world of wonder.  I just sat on the grass smelling that almost grape-like-lavender smell and feeling the cool freshness of the blossoms.  AAH, the healing power of Wisteria.  Plant Medicine.  Her spirit was working on me and I didn’t even know it.  Soon the owner came out and asked me if I was OK, and by then I really was OK and recovered enough to get back on the bike and go home.  From then on I changed my route walking home from school so that I could pass by and smell the Wisteria.  It became something I looked forward to every Spring.


I bought this wisteria vine at the farmer’s market 4 summer’s ago - locally grown, 3-4 years old. I didn’t know much about wisteria and assumed it would grow and bloom profusely since that’s the impression I’ve had when I admire it in public gardens. Our roof has tall railings and beams around the water tower that would look nice covered in purple blossoms. I had no clue that this would be a long-term realization, as it is still not very tall.
Last year it bloomed for the first time with 8 clusters. Then it became infested with aphids and caught a virus that made the leaves mottled and wilty. I read online that this can’t be treated and the plant would likely die.  In a panic, I cut it way back – all the unsightly areas got snipped off and it recovered. The winter was so harsh but I wrapped the pot in foam packaging and this spring it has about 20 blossoms. WOW. The fragrance is divine. And the mullein fills up the bottom of the pot beautifully like a gentle soothing anchor. I love Mullein for it’s medicinal properties, clearing the lungs, lubricating joints and moisturizing our internal organs.  Perhaps the Mullein helped the Wisteria heal from it’s virus.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, I love wisteria too! We all do! I wonder if the mullein helped it heal? Or just helped to keep the bugs away . . don't marigolds do that for herbs . . ?