Tuesday, May 8, 2012

It happened one night

My lovely friend from long ago, Carol Tessier, and I have been e-mailing back and forth about her fabulous Wisteria floribunda 'Longissima'.  I visited Carol and her husband Luc a couple of years ago in early May and was dazzled by the super-long chains of flowers in her entrance court.

Carol lives in Asnieres, just outside Paris, on a street with high walls.  Only the top of the house is visible from the sidewalk.  At this time of the year, when you step through the doorway and into the entrance court, you walk under exceptionally long, fragrant wisteria blossoms which hang overhead.  It's like you've entered some magical kingdom.

So, a while back, I asked Carol if she would take a photograph for me to post here.  She agreed and kept giving me reports as to the progress of the flowers.  Here's the e-mail I received on Sunday.  The subject was "Great Catastrophe!!!":

"Yesterday I admired the wisteria and said to Luc that it should be just right to take a photo to send to you today. Well as you see I did take a photo this morning but not exactly of what I'd hoped!!!  We had friends for dinner last night and while we sat in the convervatory we could hear the rain drumming on the glass roof.  When we went out to see our guest off, we got a shock as we could hardly get out of the front door. Our wonderful wisteria was feeling very tired and heavy and probably fed up with all these great expectations, and had just decided to go on strike and lie down!!  Luckily nothing is broken, but it's so heavy and laden with water at the moment that we're going to have to find a plan, plus people to help to get it up again. I hope that by then all the flowers won't be spoilt and I'll be able to send you the promised masterpiece. France is voting today and I also wondered if it wasn't a bad omen for the results."

Today, Carol sent me two more views, showing the repair with a rather reduced amount of blooms.  She said it was okay to use the above "catastrophe", so you can see how impressive the sight must have been.  You can get an idea of how it's supposed to look if you zero in on the upper left hand corner, where the blooms are still hanging in a straight fashion.

Tomorrow, I'll post a photo taken from the street.  You won't believe how long the racemes are.  I've seen the white version, 'Longissima Alba' in a garden in California, but I believe these chains are even longer.  Incredible!


  1. I find this beautiful!! I can almost smell the fragrance!

  2. Most people have no concept of what a garden emergency is.

    At least it wasn't a magazine coming to shoot.

    XO T

  3. Let your friend know its gorgeous even as a flop. Though now I am looking forward to seeing it as its former self!

  4. Wysteria brings back such happy memories....I can smell the blooms on my granny's verandah at our old farm house. It welcomed us grandchildren on to her verandah for freshly baked brown bread and home made apricot jam. Thank you Carol for sharing your photo.