Although wisteria vines were a common feature of French farmhouses, the vines were traditionally grown just outside the main door of the house. The beautiful, fragrant vines provided a pleasant shady area that was often used as a "summer room." From my first conception of the farmhouse, my heart was set on having a wisteria vine, but since my farmhouse is a "high house," there didn't seem to be a suitable space for the wisteria. I couldn't quite visualize Marcel and Lisbette spending their rare intervals of relaxation sitting comfortably outside the barn door. Nor would Etienne appreciate their presence practically on his door sill!
So I flaunted tradition and planted a wisteria vine in a large pot on the balcony just outside the main living area on the second level. The vine continues to thrive, although unfortunately there isn't enough space on the balcony to provide a "summer room" for the Filibert family. But the heavenly scent of the wisteria blossoms fills the air and the house all through the summer months. That will suffice.
I began with a trellis design that I kept very simple. The flat board will be attached to the house, and the four metal rods will extend from the flat board to reach over the balcony. Thin wires lend support to the heavy wisteria vines between the metal rods.
The flat board and the metal rods for the trellis are ready to be measured and cut.
The board and rods have been cut and are ready to be painted.
I used a compilation of various artificial plants to make the "wisteria" vine. The lavender-colored blossoms seemed to be a good choice, but I had to separate the blossoms from the green, green leaves and stems, which were not a good choice.
I found a pot that was a very good size for the wisteria vine, but I thought it was very ugly; I repainted the pot with several different layers of color to cover the black.
The new and improved "terra cotta" pot was much better!
The rods and the board for the trellis have been stained a dark color, and the separated "wisteria" blossoms are ready to be glued onto the trunk and branches of the vine.
I anchored the wisteria trunk in a ball of soft clay inside the terra cotta pot.
The trellis board has been glued to the front of the farmhouse wall, and the rods have been secured to the board by covering the ends with glue and pushing them into the soft wood. The horizontal wires were added after the glue on the rods had dried thoroughly. I bent the front ends of the rods into a hook shape to help secure the vines on the trellis.
Another use for espresso grind! The coffee makes perfect simulated potting soil. I heaped it up in the pot and it looks real - but sends out a definite caffeine-like aroma.
At last - and it is truly the last thing - the wisteria vine grows from the pot and climbs the farmhouse wall and looks just the way I envisioned it from the early days of planning the French farmhouse.
As you may notice from the above photo, I completed the interior of the farmhouse before adding the wisteria vine to the balcony, because I thought that the blossoming vine would be in the way when I added the furnishings and accessories to the rooms.
Now that you've actually arrived at their front door, Marcel and Lisbette would feel very inhospitable if they did not invite you into their home. Lisbette needs just a little time to tidy the rooms to her satisfaction before she's ready for visitors, so I hope that you won't mind a short wait under the wisteria vine. I promise that it won't take Lisbette too long to be ready to open the door to all her new acquaintances!