The Sunday porch: wisteria par excellence

In honor of the wisteria now beginning to bloom in many regions, here is a Sunday porch redux from 2013:

On abandon, uncalled for but called forth. . . .*

full cropped

I think this is the loveliest wisteria I have ever seen.  It grew on the porch columns of “Wisteria House,” at Massachusetts Avenue and Eleventh Street, N.W., in Washington, D.C. The photo was taken in 1919, by Martin A. Gruber.**

The house was torn down in 1924 to make room for the Wisteria Mansion apartment building.

Wisteria House detail, 1919, via Smithsonian Institution Commons

A naval officer brought the vine from China and gave it to the owner of the house, probably during the 1860s, according to the blog Greater Greater Washington.

Wisteria House, Harris & Ewing photo

The Harris & Ewing** photo above, taken between 1910 and 1920, shows the trunks of the (one?) plant emerging through openings at the base of the porch.  The house was built in 1863, and the two-story portico was added in 1869 — so it looks like the wisteria was planted between those years and protected during the construction.

Wisteria House, LOC photo

The National Photo Company image above shows the house about 1920.

*Lucie Brock-Broido, from “Extreme Wisteria

**Top and second (a detail of the first) photos via the Smithsonian Institution Archives Commons on flickr.  Third and fourth photos via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

2 thoughts on “The Sunday porch: wisteria par excellence

  1. Wisteria is a plant that defines many of my garden travel memories. I saw a glorious specimen at the Alhambra in Spain and numerous pergolas clad with the vine in Italy and England. The main building at my alma mater, Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in Lynchburg, VA, was covered with wisteria. It was something I looked forward to seeing in May every year. I’ll be returning for my 50th reunion this May. I hope the wisteria will be in bloom then.

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