First it was flowering cherries, then bluebells and now it is the turn of wisteria, queen of the climbers, to reign supreme over social media. Enter #wisteria and you will see thousands of images of voluptuous blooms hanging from Georgian facades. But, I won’t be adding any images. For I am the owner of the wrong sort of wisteria aka Wisteria floribunda ‘alba’, the Japanese wisteria which twines clockwise and flowers at the same time as its leaves appear and which as I have reliably been told is quite simply the wrong sort of wisteria – i.e. it is very NON-U. I really should have known better and sought out the Chinese Wisteria, Wisteria sinensis which twines anti-clockwise and flowers before the appearance of the leaves. To make matters worse, I chose white. Wisteria must always be purple.
The UK is a world leader in class distinctions and the garden is a minefield. Pelargoniums are fine as long as they are scented and not the big blowsy red flowers sometimes incorrectly called geraniums. Japanese maples and laburnums are very borderline and grasses are fine avoiding pampas grass obviously. And don’t get me started on pines. The only really acceptable conifers are yew and cedar of Lebanon both of which require a considerable acreage. Last week, we learnt that the monkey puzzle tree, that long forgotten stalwart of suburbia is under threat in its native Chile and now needs our help.
In Hampshire, it is very easy to fall foul of the rules – wrong car, house, wellies etc etc. My husband once turned up at a smart shoot in a rather battered Barbour and was mistaken for a beater. Luckily my rhododendron is not visible from the road – it’s just a reminder of my Northern roots!