As I mentioned a few days ago, the wisteria has suddenly budded out. Every year it takes me by surprise and this year was no exception. From bare sticks the buds just seem to appear overnight (either that or I'm just not as observant as I'd like to believe). According to my somewhat random record keeping it usually is in full bloom by the third week of March, with the blooms lasting a week or two depending on wind and rain.
Here's a few not so great shots of the buds as they look today (I'm still attempting to master the close-up setting of the camera).
Right now they look like pale, elongated raspberries. I'll post again in a few days as the buds mature.
Every year, before the wisteria starts budding out, I stand underneath it and consider some kind of pruning. I read an article in a magazine a few years ago that described a systematic approach to pruning wisteria that, it claimed, would result in a massive increase in flower production. But as I stand underneath the arbor, all I can see it a twisty, confusing mass of vines. Nothing like the illustrations in the article. I don't know where to start.
We've had the wisteria dramatically pruned once, but that was more to save our electric service than it was to do anything for the plant (the vine had reached up and twined itself around the wire bringing the electricity to the house; eventually a solid curtain of wisteria hung between the electric wire and the top of the arbor. When the wind blew, the curtain whipped back and forth, pulling the wire perilously close to breaking). We had that pruning done in March 2002, right before the wisteria would have started setting buds. I was afraid that the whole plant would die but when I mentioned that to the tree guy, he laughed. And he was right. The plant roared back, bigger than ever, although not with noticeably more flowers.
Maybe when (if??) we replace the arbor we can address the whole plant (which has trunks six inches in diameter) and bring it back under control. Or at least get the dead wood out and pull it back into some kind of boundary.