I have created a children’s garden on my property. Like anything artistic, when I create a new area in the garden it takes on a life of it’s own. It is fun planning things in one’s mind and then doing the work, or in my view the play.

Bryon in the children's garden
Bryon in the children’s garden

The whole idea started because of a remark my son-in-law, Iban made one time when my daughter, Yvette and their daughter, Anushka were visiting.

Mama, you should put in a swing set for Anushka.

When they went home to Spain, I thought about what Iban had said.

                                         What a great idea!

After researching, I walked around the property to pick out just the right area for the swing set. I looked online and found a very reasonable one with a playhouse, slide, swings and teeter-totter. Wow how great! Meanwhile the area I picked out had a diseased little tree that my gardener, Sergio, cut down for me. I asked him to leave the stump. It will make a perfect base for a little table. I then had 4 stools built around the table, just the right height for small children. The creative ideas continued to flow. Excitedly I mentioned to a friend,

An arbor would be great!  It would shade the children from the sun, and I could grow wisteria on it so it would smell good while the children played happily underneath,making their mud pies and other imaginative games.

I wanted the Cooke’s Special purple variety. They are Chinese and bloom first, then leaf out after the flowers fall off the vine. The Japanese variety bloom and leaf out at the same time. I ordered them bare root from a local nursery but when they arrived one was Japanese and one was Chinese. My mother is a garden expert and television personality. She has written seven books, her most well known being the “bible” to gardening in southern California: Pat Welsh’s Southern California Gardening: A Month-By-Month Guide.  Click here to visit her website!

Fran that will never do! You need to have two Wisteria of the same variety or they will look mismatched.

So I bought two more and put the Japanese ones on the fence and the Chinese Cooke’s Special purple on the arbor for the children’s garden. . . So I thought. When they started blooming last year lo and behold they were miss marked! The Japanese ones are on the arbor in the children’s garden and the Chinese ones are on my property fence. I was disappointed, but my mother, who has an amazing wisteria story in her book All My Eden’s, and has always loved the Chinese variety now loves the Japanese!

They are very vigorous growers, Pat reports.

I did have very good luck with them at other homes. One southwest home my husband and I built had Japanese Wisteria in a Spanish front patio. They were breathtaking in Spring. The smell is delicious too.

Rippin’ Lips

Bye for now,


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