my wisteria and spring garden

May 04, 2023

Our Japanese wisteria floribunda is at its most amazing right now and in fact we have never seen it look this beautiful. There are easily hundreds and hundreds of racemes, most of them 3 feet long! My pictures don't do it justice; you really have to see it to believe it. It has obviously loved all our rain. We think this will be a good garden year and I hope to make a few garden posts this summer. I'll be sharing our rose explosion which should happen in a week or two, our vegetable garden, the herbs and annual flowers, and more. This is still a knitting blog and I have been knitting an awful lot, but in spring and summer, knitting has to share me with the garden. Please read on, there's a lot to see! 

I've been busy in the greenhouse. The skies outside may be dark and spilling rain, but it's cozy inside those glass walls. I love to listen to an audiobook (fantastic recommendations are coming soon) and while away the hours, puttering and dreaming of summer.  

The seedlings have grown quite a bit since I took this picture last week. I'm waiting for a little bit warmer weather to appear before the zinnias and cosmos go out to the flower border. 

The flower border above has a large shady section underneath the pergola where we have camellias and hydrangeas. The middle section is fairly sunny and is a good spot for roses and daisies. The last three feet of border by the path is saved for the sun loving summer annuals, mostly zinnias, that I start in the greenhouse. I spent a few days weeding and tidying up the border, then my husband rototilled the space by the path. The ground is so saturated, the weeds were a snap to pull! It all simply looks beautiful. It's so nice to look know that every tree, every blade of grass, every little thing, has had a full drink of water this winter. Every single growing thing is fat with water and not a bit thirsty. Wonderful.

The back fence is new. Our old fence was sturdy and gorgeous--a ten foot tall wall of ivy that stretched across the entire back property line. It was amazing not only for it's beauty, but for the privacy it provided, AND we maintained it ourselves. We loved it so much, but our neighbors were being unpleasant and pushy about wanting it to replace it. Even their garden designer couldn't talk them out of it. We've always had pleasant relations with our neighbors, but these neighbors are new and had an idea in their head and would not budge. Finally, I told my husband I did not want to die on this hill and they can do what they want, but I cried when it went down. I tried not to watch but we live in a fishbowl of windows and wherever I went in the house all I could see was an ugly gaping maw of destruction. It was heartbreaking and to make it worse it took forever because they started it during a particularly rainy period which dragged the project out. Now a new fence is up, another ten footer, and we are waiting for the ivy to grow up the new fence like before. Already little shoots are starting to reach up and take hold so I'm feeling hopeful we will have our beautiful green wall once again. 

bearded iris

I've started to wash my winter sweaters to store them away for the summer.

In two back-to-back days we picked all our oranges, juiced and bottled them, and now we have 32 quarts in the freezer. To use, I defrost in the fridge overnight, then whirl with my stick blender to emulsify. Don't worry, it doesn't remove the pulp, but blending is necessary before drinking.

I was surprised to find a cymbidium orchid in bloom in my greenhouse! 

I was also surprised to see some Gingersnap Kits in my local yarn shop!

We had some fun on the Sunday before May Day. We made bouquets and put them on our favorite neighbor's front steps. Then we hid and bounced out to surprise them when they opened the door. 

finding the perfect place to hide

Our roses are about a week or two from exploding! We are both beyond excited.

Today, May 4th, is the National Day of Prayer. “In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for Me wholeheartedly, you will find Me.” — Jeremiah 29:12-13 

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  1. Beautiful Kristen. I don't think I've ever seen wisteria blooms that long! It's a gorgeous variety. I love the knitting but I always look forward to your gardening posts so keep them coming! I live vicariously through you. I have a tiny balcony patio that gets only a speck of sun in one corner so I'm planning to put in a pot for a tomato plant and try my luck. I envy you all your space!

    1. Ahhhh, I think you are wise to use your tiny speck of sunlight for a tomato! If I could only grow one vegetable it would be tomato. Only one flower, roses, and only one herb, chives. But I'm glad that for now I don't have to choose.

  2. I have always loved your wisteria garden, Kristen. There is just something about wisteria. I was paging through a coffee book on Elizabeth Taylor at one of my local libraries and there was a photo of her very intimate and inviting backyard. With a lot of wisteria in it. It looked like a much older picture, back when movie stars didn’t live so large. Anyway, that wisteria made that photo really memorable….And, my, has Carter grown! Chloe

    1. Thank you! I can only imagine how pretty that picture of Liz Taylor was against a backdrop of wisteria. I think you know I grew up in the Los Angeles area and was on the peripheral of the Hollywood scene--my mom was a children's talent agent. When I was a very little girl, one of our good friends was a child actor and he stared in a movie with Lucille Ball and Bob Hope. After the shoot, Ms. Ball gave a party for the children on the set and since my brother had a bit part in the movie, I was invited too. I remember her house was gorgeous and big, probably a colonial because I remember it being white with columns. But it was right on an ordinary street, no locked gates, no big hedges. She had a pool of course and we all swam and she had the hot dogs and chips catered! She had bright red hair, nails and lips and was wearing a black poofy top with tight black capris and black strappy heels. Oh the things little girls remember!

      Thanks always for reading and commenting. Hope all is well! Kristen

  3. The wisteria & other “garden rooms” are gorgeous. I love wisteria but understand it can be destructive to the structures that support it. It looks like yours is supported by a structure that’s away from the house? How do you makntain it?
    Also curious of the brand of greenhouse. Are those glass panes? I look forward to buying a green house and any tips would be appreciated.
    I understand you can’t directly respond via your website but maybe you can share answers in future posts?
    Love reading your blog. Your grandson is growing quickly & such a cutie!
    - Linda

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Thank you, and yes, if wisteria likes where it's living, it can take over. Ours is on the verge of that and is going to get a big prune this year. It grows on a very sturdy pergola, not at all near our house. As for the greenhouse, it is from Charley's Greenhouse Supply in WA state. It came in boxes on a large truck and my husband assembled it. That was 30 years ago and it's still going strong. The panels are glass and after all these years only one has cracked. We have water in the greenhouse but not heat and I'm sorry about that, but it is far away from our house and I was talked out of it by my husband. I would love to have a heat mat and even some grow lights for the low light days, and I'd murder for a fan, but for 30 years we have been fine without all that. It's as hot as Hades inside all that glass in the summer so we don't use it much at all in August and September and a fan would be lovely. I might make a blog post if you think it would be interesting to anyone. I think a greenhouse is such a specific item and not high on most people's wish lists. I'm going to do a big clean up and reorganization in there in June so maybe I'll write a post then when it's all tidy and nice. Thank you for your comment. And yes, Carter just had a big growth spurt and he is to my shoulder and he is only 5! Oh me oh my. My little baby. Sigh!

  4. Your wisteria is breathtaking! How thoughtful of you to take the bouquets to your neighbors on May Day.

  5. Kristen,
    Just got home from our trip to France.Last stop was Giverny and toured Monets gardens and house. Your wisteria is as pretty as his. Have you been there? If not you should go, you would love it. We were told that he did not want to see any earth, and planted flowers very,very close. Loved it,

    1. Oh my gosh, this has to be the best compliment ever! Thank you so much. Yes, years ago I went to Giverny and I did love Monet's garden so much. We went in early spring and after touring we had a late lunch in town and it was like we were in a dream. What a lovely trip you must have had.


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