WISTERIA

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April is the month when this flamboyant climber fills the village with a musky fragrance at dusk, and pendulous clusters of mauve and violet blooms create floral curtains along the galleries and balconies of the stone houses in Culles.

This is a remarkable climber for several reasons.  It has presence and a strong character.  Its growth is unruly, even invasive if not brought under control with judicious pruning; the stems twist and turn, entwining themselves around any obstacle that attempts to prevent its progress.  

But the rewards for tolerating this rather ill-mannered plant are great.  Wisterias have been known to live for hundreds of years, bringing shade and joy to anyone who has the pleasure to sit beneath it on a warm evening in spring.  An intoxicating sweetness wafts on the breeze, which can be overwhelming, an aroma which enters our memory directly and will evoke times past at each subsequent encounter.  

The foliage which flourishes after the blooms, create welcome shade during the summer with dense, exotic leaves, which turn soft yellows and orange in autumn.  And their performance does not stop there.  Fascinating seed pods form on selected fonds, rich brown and velvet to the touch.  These will cause a surprise when they decide the moment is right to explode and release their perfectly round, bronze buttons.

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