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GARDEN SURROUNDINGS: Wisteria Brings Joy Every Spring

By Francesca Filanc for Let’s Talk Plants! April 2023.

Wisteria in the author's garden 2023. Photo credit Francesca Filanc.

Wisteria brings pure joy every spring.

I write about wisteria every April because it is so magnificent and worthy of having a place in one’s garden or patio. Here's what I've written before: in 2021 GARDEN SURROUNDINGS: Wisteria In All My Gardens and in 2022 GARDEN SURROUNDINGS: The Joy Of Growing Wisteria.

When outside remember to look up! When inside remember to look down. Photo credit Francesca Filanc.

I moved to my property seven and a half years ago and the first project that I asked my talented handyman, Clark, to do was to build a massive pergola spanning from the front steps to the front door. I then bought bareroot Cooke’s Purple™ Wisteria to line the sides of the pergola. At that time, there was lawn on either side of the walk, and Clark also constructed planter boxes for each plant raising them higher than the grass area.

Planting wisteria correctly is important. Check out mum’s book, Pat Welsh’s Southern California Organic Gardening Month by Month. You can buy them used on the internet or buy an e-book. Also check out Pat Welsh can also be found on Wikipedia.

Wisteria has twined its way into our hearts. Photo credit Francesca Filanc.

Once wisterias are well established, they are drought tolerant. Wisterias are great for our Mediterranean climate. Pruning wisterias correctly is key to having an amazing show of blooms. This year they are so incredible thanks to the way we prune them. I have taught my wonderful gardeners the correct way to prune the wisterias. All information is laid out in detail in Mum’s book.

After the Cooke’s variety finishes blooming it will start leafing out. All though the summer is the time to prune for gorgeous blooms the following spring. When done properly the effect is of the most beautiful and fragrant ballgown you have ever seen! Twiners are the branches that grow sideways. These are the ones to cut for next year’s blossoms. Cut them back to one or two leaves throughout the summer. The other stems that twirl will naturally train up the pergola posts. When the wisteria reaches the top line, let the twiners cover the pergola. Once this process is completed start cutting the twiners as before and in progressive years you will have more and more blooms. My wisteria looks like a carpet of purple blossoms from the upstairs windows when looking down. My gardeners have been correctly pruning all along making this the most stunning year yet!

When pruned properly the effect is of the most beautiful and fragrant ballgown you have ever seen! Photo credit; Francesca Filanc

I have planted wisteria all over my garden because it gives so much joy every spring! As a gardener I actually love it in every season. I love it in the summer as we prune for next spring and also the beautiful shade it gives in hot weather.

I have a new swing in the vegetable garden area. While communing with nature every day, even in the rainy weather; swinging with Daisy Mae, my new rescue dog from Mexico, and Prince, we watch a dear little wren flying back and forth, building a nest in the sweet little bird house that my granddaughter Mikaela and I painted two summers ago, we can see several glorious purple wisterias!

Happy Spring and Gardening!

~ Francesca

Wisteria inspired fine art by Francesca Filanc.


Artist, author, photographer, fly-fisher woman, Francesca Filanc grew up in old Del Mar and these days lives, paints and gardens in historic Olivenhain with two dogs.

Find her art and writings here:

She can be found on social media here:

Have gardening questions or want to learn more about Francie’s art? Contact:


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