Garden Blog - Blog Post

Wisteria Wire Wonder


Sometimes I still can’t get over just how much work it is to get a plant in the ground. It sounds bizarre but let’s take the example of the wisteria that I bought earlier this year to grow against the house. It’s still waiting in its pot, months later; it won’t be planted this year. As much as I want to, I can’t simply take the spade, dig a hole and drop it in because there’s several jobs that need to be done first:

  • The border where it will go needs to be dug over and compost, manure and fertiliser need to be incorporated. The area is already covered in black landscape fabric to kill off the weeds (that was another job)
  • I can’t dig the border yet because I need access to this particular area to:
    • Cut the non-working aerial wire and remove all defunct AV wires from outside the house that run around the back of this border, removing all those annoying wire clips nailed in to the mortar
    • Take down and kill off the ivy here that was attacking the windows, tiles and eaves
    • Take down the old guttering, restore the eaves and put new guttering back
    • Brush the reachable excess moss off the corner section of the roof that looks down on this border
    • Put vine eyes into the wall and string together with wire
    • Deep-clean the UPVC window frames to remove the grime and paint I splashed onto it from replacing the guttering

Even though most of this is done, there are still a few major jobs that I should do before I plant the wisteria:

  • Take down the non-functional TV aerial
  • Have the chimney rebuilt and the flue recommissioned
  • Repair or replace the house alarm siren, which is on the wall above the border
  • Put up a new satellite dish and run new AV cables along the wall the border backs on to

It may seem odd that planting a wisteria depends on faffing with the TV aerial, but it’s getting access that’s the key. Once the wisteria is planted, I want to leave it alone to get on with its thing, occasionally going in to twist new stems around the wire. I don’t want to have a building site around it while the chimney is sorted out. Working in this area will only disturb the roots of the establishing plant and cause soil compaction, undoing all the work to dig it over.

As it is, my patience has almost run out. I’ve been desperate to plant the wisteria and get it established as soon as possible and I don’t think I can wait much longer. Once the first set of jobs is done, it’s going in the ground. Just recently I finished stringing the vine eyes with wire and now we have a wire run for the wisteria that should do for the first few years. I’m looking forward to finishing off the remaining jobs so I can finally start working on preparing soil. A soon as the planting area is dug over, the wisteria will be in the ground and tied into the wire run before you can say “Macrobotrys”.

Wisteria Wire Run Detail

I can live with a non-functional aerial (as we have satellite), but I can’t live without the wisteria growing against the house.

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Sunil Patel

I'm Sunil Patel, this is me. I created the Garden at 13 Broom Acres and I open it to visitors. I also bake and write blog posts giving a "behind the scenes" look into what it's like to maintain such a garden.

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Alain 19/09/2014 - 10:09 pm

Well Sunil, you certainly have your work cut out for you! I don’t suppose you are going to take down the non-functional TV aerial yourself. If so, you are much better with heights than I am. I am sure that wisteria will grow well given how carefully you are preparing everything. I hope you manage to get it in the ground this year. Good luck!

Sunil Patel 22/09/2014 - 9:59 am

Hello Alain, the aerial is beyond my reach and the chimney rebuild is definitely beyond my abilities. I’m gradually ticking off the list of things that need doing only by one. It feels so close yet so far; the wisteria has already started going dormant, obviously it ran out of patience. I couldn’t say when it will go in the ground but I am striving for this year.

gardeninacity 22/09/2014 - 3:43 am

Very good that your planning this thoroughly, it will pay off in the end.

Sunil Patel 22/09/2014 - 10:02 am

Hello Jason, thankfully not all areas of the garden are this labour intensive, just where the garden meets the house there’s a particularly great deal of “sorting out” that needs to be done before any reasonable semblance of gardening can be carried out. It’s currently a case of two steps forward, one step back. I am keeping track of all these myriad jobs for future posterity.

Jayne on Weed Street 22/09/2014 - 12:23 pm

I like the way you think! Some things can be tolerated and patience must be had, but once wisteria is in the plan, it must must go in the ground! Your antennae is like the pool table that was in the bonus room of the house we recently purchased. It had to go, and we didn’t want to move it, so we made a FIRM request that it be removed before the closing.

Sunil 22/09/2014 - 7:36 pm

Hi Jayne, I keep telling myself that it’ll be fine when the wisteria is in, but it’s getting it in that’s the problem since there’s a list of things to do first. It shouldn’t be long now anyway, I’m down to the last couple of jobs I want to get done before I make a break for the fork and spade.

casa mariposa 25/09/2014 - 3:33 am

What a load of work! But just think how satisfying it will be to have the whole thing done. I need to copy that wire idea. 🙂

Sunil Patel 29/09/2014 - 9:31 am

Hi Tammy, with the amount of work it’s taken so far, it will be a very, very satisfying feeling when the wisteria is finally planted, then I can get on with other things that are crying out for attention!

Paula@BloomsnSpades 25/09/2014 - 5:20 pm

Patience is not my virtue either Sunil, I have the same issue here with my front garden. I can’t do what I want with it until the driveway, path and wall are changed/fixed, and I’ve been waiting for years, lol! I imagine the wisteria will look wonderful climbing up the house.

Sunil Patel 29/09/2014 - 9:33 am

Hello Paula, I hope I don’t have to wait years before I can plant mine! It’s actually gone dormant now, all it’s leaves dropping (rather early too), I think it just got fed up of waiting. When it wakes up next Spring, it will hopefully be in the ground and can get started on taking over the front of the house.

Sobia 03/08/2015 - 4:13 am

Hi Sunil , fantastic job with that wisteria support. I came across it while looking up wires to support my own newly planted wisteria. Would you remember what gauge wire and what size eyelet hooks you used on your support? I find it best to ask someone who has already had success , rather than fumble my way … 🙂

Sunil 03/08/2015 - 8:13 pm

Hello Sobia, I can’t remember what gauge I used exactly, I think it was 0.8mm, or 1.2mm. Not too thick that it was impossible to work with and not too thin that it would easily snap. The important thing is to leave a lot of slack in the wire. When the wisteria is small, the wire has enough strength not to flap in the wind as the runners clamber up it. As the wisteria trunk thickens over the years, it will begin to wrap the wire around itself and that’s where the slack comes in handy. If the wire is strung taught, then it will quite happily wrench the eyelets from the wall, if there is slack, then it won’t. Our last wisteria got to a size where it had bent the solid metal eyelets and they were being pulled from the wall. I would go for the longest eyelets you can find that hold the vine away from the wall. There isn’t a great deal of choice when it comes to eyelets, they all seem to be a standard size.


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