The wooden pergola by our front entrance is one of things we loved about this house when we first saw it. It spans a platform covered in slate and basically serves as a front porch. When we first visited the house, it was January, so the pergola created an attractive space, yet it was essentially bare.
Little did we know that the wisteria that creeps up and around one of the posts then across the structure every spring would turn out to be a living, breathing and extremely aggressive life force. Little did we know that this would consume pretty much our every waking moment in the spring and summer.
I am not exaggerating when I say that you can actually see this thing growing. The vines get thicker, and longer, and they curl (not unlike my hair after all those perms I got from the ages 11-19.) (Oh, the 80’s). Hence, we are often forced to refer to this not as the pergola, but the permola.
The crazy thing is that these wisteria vines attack everything in sight. If you take your eyes off of it for even a few seconds, it shakes hands with the branches of a nearby tree and tries to wrestle it down to the ground. It crawls into the gutters and engages in a tug of war. It creeps under the shingles and flicks them off the roof. One day, I caught it sneaking under a copper baseboard type thing we have at the front of our house. By the time I got there, I had to pull out 3 feet of vines! If this process had a soundtrack, it would certainly sound like SNL’s The Creep:
Because this wisteria vine is so stealthy, Rob carries a long tool called a pruning stik with him at all times:
Me: “Hey, do you really need to take that out to the restaurant?”
Him with bug-eyes: “You just never know.”
Me: “That’s true.”
I’d estimate conservatively that, on average, he trims the permola approximately every four minutes.
Fending off the advances of this plant has made us slightly frantic and all kinds of paranoid, but this little biosphere has has also brought much joy. For example, one day these bean-like pods suddenly appeared.
To quote my brother, Brad: “Now that’s some edamame.” Soon thereafter, they became the most beautiful lavender flowers.
Turns out this process happens in both the spring and the late summer.
And in the spring, a Robin built a sturdy nest right in the corner.
And before we knew it, there were three little babies, straining their necks, waiting for worm deliveries.
My sister-in-law, Marcy, was visiting from Ohio at the time, and we were mesmerized. Watching this feeding frenzy was as fascinating as any movie.
Mostly, the permola/pergola is the site of the most extreme and delicious R & R. Think coffee, think glass of wine, think book, think staring off into space.
Of course, this is punctuated by emergency trimming and straining to detach the vines that have started to wend their way around your neck.
But it’s well worth it. If you are thinking of including a pergola in your landscape and brave enough to invite in some wisteria, I do recommend it.
Healthy as this wisteria is, we have only seen two flowers on ours: does anyone know how to cultivate more? If so, please click on “leave a comment” below.