Monday, May 10, 2004

Wisteria Hysteria

I've mentioned a couple times about the wisteria being in bloom. Wisteria is an relative of the pea, with drooping flowers that look at a distance like bundles of light-purple grapes. There are a number of species and varieties, including two American species, but most of the ones that are used as ornamental plants are Japanese or Chinese, and are invader species.

The wisteria in particular is currently taking over the front of the house, along the front porch overhang, around the side, and now across the two-story front. Far from fighting this invader species, my lovely wife, in the thrall of the Alien (see below) planted it next to the water barrel and has been aiding and abetting its takeover by trailing it up the porch posts and providing plastic trellis-work for it to grow along. Its a fragrant, pretty blossom, though now that summer approaches it is shedding its petals, leaving a colorful litter on the front porch.

When Kate first put in the wisteria, I was doubtful, pointing out that it hangs low right in front of the door. Kate states that this the whole point. The Irish made extensive use of wisteria, so that when British soldiers came to search the premises (no Constitutional protections there), they were at least forced to bow or remove their hats before coming in. I don't know if this is true or not, but its a good story.

What I find interesting is that I connect ornamental wisteria with England and France (when we were there, Kate would often say "Look, Honey, Wisteria!" and force me to admire a huge, gnarled collection of purple blossoms that threatened to crush the building it was attached to). Instead, this was itself was an invader species, likely brought back when the sun never set on the various empires, and now makes its way to the furthest shore in the hands of other admirers.

More later,