The sad tale of a frost damaged wisteria


Having missed a year, this year’s early spring pruning of the wisteria over the pergola was certainly an overdue, dramatic and necessary affair. In fact the whippy offcuts were so entangled that my usual trick of weaving them together into decorative circles for the sweet pea cane obelisks was impossible. I resorted to using the shredder to dispose of them and that was like pushing springs into the grinder’s opening.

But a month later things were budding up nicely and a grand display looked to be in the offing.


By mid April the first flowers were just beginning to show purple.


Fresh lime green leaves were unfurling, appearing almost golden in the morning sunlight. The flowers were going to be spectacular.



But then we had two sharp frosts.

Hard enough to damage quite a lot of the trees and shrubs just opening their leaves: the cercis, hydrangea, walnuts, foxglove tree. Most heartbreaking was the effect on the wisteria. The racemes around the edge of the pergola continued to unfurl, so I didn’t notice at first, but the rest was burnt. The entire top growth had been stopped in its tracks. Unopened flowerbuds started to drop and the leaves turned brown and wilted, hanging down like fishing rods.


Now there is very little flower or leaf coverage left, except around the protected sides.


So sadly, when we sit beneath that lovely pergola we can only imagine what might have been and if we only look outwards, towards the pond, not up at the sky, we can just about pretend.



About Frogend_dweller

Living in the damp middle of nowhere
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13 Responses to The sad tale of a frost damaged wisteria

  1. Oh, that’s devastating! I love to see this particular colour of wisteria, although I have never grown one myself.
    I know English vineyards were hit by the late frosts, but I hadn’t realised the effect was so wide ranging.
    Best wishes for the rest of the season 🙂

    • I’d heard about the English and French vineyards being devastated this year (and seen the pictures of flares and hot air blowers set up around the vines to try to stop the freeze). So sad.
      Our wisteria will surely be back to spectacular next year, but I hope that the English wine makers don’t give up!

  2. The frost has been cruel this year here too. Every wisteria has been ruined, even my columbines that are just starting to flower are producing odd stunted blooms because of the cold. Hopefully the summer will be better!

  3. What a shame, Allison, especially after all the anticipation and the work that went into training it over the pergola. The view from beneath it fringed with blooms looks so pretty!

    • It will come again, of course, but it was disappointing to see all that potential spoilt in one night. The damage became more evident as so many leaves and flowers fell off. Anyhow, to take my mind off it I have bought some solar fairy lights which are now decorating the pergola instead and they are looking pretty twinkly at night! 🙂

  4. Christina says:


  5. Eliza Waters says:

    Heartbreaking, for sure. Perhaps it’ll give it a rest to create an extraordinary display next year. 🙂

  6. Brian Skeys says:

    I feel for you, we had frost damage but it was just leaves, our white wisteria is later therefore it was not in flower.

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