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Welcome to the CountryLife Gardening Blog, written by our horticulturist to provide you with the best tips & advice for all things gardening!  We have been shortlisted for Best Lifestyle Blog in the Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards 2016 Company Category. 

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Wisteria Season

by CountryLife Gardening | May 18, 2015

Wisteria: one of the iconic first flowers of summer
With our minds filled with thoughts of summer and long evenings spent in our gardens it is fantastic to see them taking on a new life and slowly beginning to erupt in colour and floral interest.

One of the most anticipated flowers for many gardeners at this time of year is wisteria. Wisteria, for many, is one of the iconic first flowers of summer and the fantastic scent it emits which lingers in the air for hours is most definitely a highlight of the season.

Wisteria is part of the flowering section of the pea family Fabaceae. This is the same family as sweet pea which is the reason for relatively similar flower shapes. The flowers droop down in racemes (chain like flowers) and can be anywhere between 10cm - 80cm in length. The flowers are the exact same as those found on Laburnum trees at the moment. The laburnum flowers are a neon yellow in colour.

Wisteria PinkWhile the most iconic wisteria flowers are purple, there are a number of different flower colours available on the market which may work better in a garden or just suit personal preference more. Wisteria Captain Fungi is a pink flowering variety which is in stock at the moment that produces very long flowers. As well as pink and purple you can also find wisteria in white and violet shades.

Wisteria is a great vine for growing up walls or pergolas but they do require a good amount of space to grow before the full impact of the plant can be appreciated. The dwarf variety Amethyst may be a more suitable option for some gardeners. Wisteria Amethyst flowers twice in the season which is a great added bonus for gardeners as wisteria flowers can be short lived, especially if the weather is particularly blustery when they are in flower. Amethyst is one of the few wisterias that could be grown in a large container. The rest really only perform well when planted into soil and given room to grow.

Older varieties of wisteria were considered an investment plant as they took anywhere between five and seven years to flower. However this is not the case with the newer varieties now available and gardeners can enjoy flowers from the year after planting. The plant can be boosted with a good feed of potash or even tomato feed. They do not like drought so if a prolonged period of dry weather occurs they should be watered regularly.

To encourage flowering for the following year it is important to carry out pruning annually. This is normally carried out in summer just as the last flowers have finished blooming. As a rule of thumb you are aiming to reduce the growth by two thirds to encourage new growth the following year. Read my blog on "How to Prune Wisteria" 

A candelabra for the garden

Candelabra primulaWhile candles in a garden can look fantastic I am a bigger fan of the candelabra primula in my own. These flowers have become very popular in recent years and make a great addition to any flowerbed. They are really the encore of the humble primrose in the garden. Candelabra primula is showier and demand much more attention in flowerbeds. When planted in clumps they can have great impact. They will continue to flower through to near the middle of June. At the moment we have an offer on candelabra primula, such as Candelabra Primula Japonica Millers Crimson (pictured), 4 for €20.  

Written by Malachy

Here to help! - remember if you have any questions feel free to pop into one of our garden centres or you can contact us on our Facebook and Twitter pages and email us at: hello@countrylife.ie

Malachy's Bio 
I have been gardening since I was 5 years old when my mother gave me a part of our garden as my own. I have studied horticulture in the National Botanical Gardens in Glasnevin and was a winner in the young horticulturist of the year competition. I have worked in Several plant nurseries and garden centers such as Mount Congreve in Co. Waterford. My special interests are plant propagation and Cacti!