Sunday, January 17, 2016

January's Task

Good news! My short Regency romance, A Pitiful Remnant is a finalist in the historical category of the EPIC Awards. This is an annual contest for ebooks, judged by published authors and editors. I've been a finalist before, but hope springs eternal. Cross your fingers. The winners will be announced in March.

But now it's January and time to prune the wisteria.

My wisteria grows along the fence south of my house. Years ago I planted two wisteria vines, about thirty feet apart, mostly to prevent people from climbing over the fence from the adjacent culdesac. I wasn't being unneighborly. They were trampling my baby rhododendrons, making paths among my perennial beds, and damaging the fence. The wire supports we strung for the wistera, I figured, would prevent all but the most determined trespassers.

They did. And within a few years, as the wisteria grew along them, the leafy vines provided a lovely sight from my office and living room windows, especially when dripping with purple flowers.

Wisteria are vigorous plants. They don't seem to need fertilizer to grow fast, to put out new shoots in all directions. After the first couple of years, during which I cherished each new twining branch, I began having to cut a few back about halfway through the season. They were trying to find something to cling to on the deck, on a pine tree that was just off my lot, and probably should never have been planted there in the first place, and occasionally even on a rhody. In ensuing years I began having to prune more severely, along about the first of July. The photo was taken back when the vine was still behaving itself. Now it's all but engulfed the fence.

Now, about twenty years after I planted those slender wisterias, the trunks are both fat, twisted columns of wood, with numerous shoots that have to be constantly snipped off. Sometimes I've missed one or two, and later discovered long, snaky branches lying along the ground. Last summer I pruned one that had to be forty feet long, sneakily lying along the base of the fence for most of its length, before it started climbing up a seedling oak that was replacing the pine tree that was cut down after it lost a major branch in a storm. Once in a while a tendril will force its way between the boards in the deck, or find a convenient trellis on the big rhody in the back yard. The neighbor to the west has welcomed the wisteria's incursion into his yard. He thinks it's pretty, and so far hasn't realized its threat.

I have a 55-gallon yard debris barrel. Three times last summer I filled it with wisteria prunings. One of these days, when it's not pouring rain, I shall once again prune the wisteria. This time, because its branches are bare, my goal will be to shape it, to get rid of the branches that have forced their way between the boards of the fence. To tame it somewhat.

Only somewhat. Wisteria is, I believe, untamable. A long time ago we moved into a house that had a big, neglected wisteria in the back yard, hard against the side fence. We dug it out, because the fig tree it was trying to overwhelm was more important, we thought. A few years later we noticed wisteria growing over the trees in the adjacent yard. Apparently we'd missed a few roots. Now I understand the wisteria has crept back into the back yard where it originated. Who knows where it will end up?

My point here is to warn you all. Wisteria is bent on world domination. 


1 comment:

C.S. Fuqua said...

The world could be dominated by far worse things than wisteria... Enjoyed the article, and congrats on the nomination.