From the May 24, 1963 edition of the Vineyard Gazette by Joseph Chase Allen:

This is an article directed to the home gardener, not designed to discourage anyone, and certainly it is not an attempt to cause people to refrain from beautifying their grounds. Rather it is a warning against the errors which may be committed by the uninitiate, and of the pitfalls into which they may topple.

Actually, the well ordered yard, ablaze with color of blooming plants and shrubs is a thing admired by everyone and a source of pride to the proprietor. Yet in all honesty, these warnings must be voiced, and particularly against the careless planting of wisteria.

Thousands of people will pause each season before the house which is festooned, even draped, with this climbing vine, and they will utter heart felt sighs of admiration as they gaze upon the huge clusters of blossoms, dangling almost like grapes.

But such admirers do not know, or even guess what the owner may have to endure, may have endured, before he discovered a safe and sane method of raising wisteria; that is if he has succeeded.

It has been said that given sufficient water, wisteria will flourish if planted on a bare rock. This is probably an exaggeration, but it is true that the plant will flourish in a wide variety of soil.

A trellis is usually provided to support the vine, if it is a vine, as it climbs, and there are but few vines of the nature more ambitious than wisteria. It fixes its aim upon the stars and attempts to reach them. In this effort, it is very apt to ignore the trellis altogether. Many a wisteria can be found which has departed entirely from its attractive trellis and has climbed right up the shingles and clap boards in its endeavor to overlook all surrounding territory.

And if the trellis exerts too much restraint upon the vine, this variety of vegetation is capable of utterly doing away and eliminated the obstacle in its path.

Seen in its infancy, the wisteria is an innocent looking plant, its slender and tender main stalk, easily broken, bent or trained in the way in which it should go and grow. But do not be deceived. As kittens grow into cats, and tiger-cubs follow the same principle, so the wisteria can and will take charge, to the detriment of the premises and the despair of the owner.

By some inexplicable kink in its nature, the wisteria can and will follow the twists of a couple of intertwined cork screws as it grows. It will develop strength and size, also heavy bark, and in this process it will seize upon a trellis and smash it into splinters. It will lift the shingles on the side of a dwelling, likewise the clap boards, and finding that the heated and sheltered interior is pleasing, it will slip past a closed window, and emerge in the living room. Though that portion of the vine which has slipped through the crack to gain entrance may be as thin as paper, the growth inside the house will quickly assume the proportions of a rugged tree!

It will swarm aloft and encircle a chimney, and eventually topple that structure to the ground. It will drape itself over and around a gateway and presently the gate cannot be opened or closed, and neither can anything larger than a rabbit pass through the opening!

No good comes from trimming. Wherever a branch or tendril is cut, two or more will sprout, all the more vicious by nature than the first, and faster growing! The story is told of the home gardener who drove an axe into a wisteria vine and chopped off a dozen parent stems to a couple of feet above the ground. Twenty-four hours later those stumps had produced a veritable forest of green, blacking-out a window, lifting dozens of shingles, and growing so rapidly that the movement of the tendrils sounded like driving rain!

If one must have wisteria, and there are such people, plans should be made far in advance of the planting. First of all, it is best to build a house of brick or stone. Second, the side where the wisteria is to be planted, should have no doors or windows and in the course of time, the eaves-troughs should also be removed. Wisteria are attracted to eaves-troughs in the strongest manner.

Once the vine has reached the height of three to four feet, it should be covered at night. This is not to protect the vine but to prevent skullduggery which it is apt to commit during the hours of darkness.

Some owners of wisteria have attempted to block its damaging efforts by bending the vine-tops down, and causing them to root in the ground. They were disappointed with the results. The vines rooted, but spread, and presently the entire door-yard was a mass of wisteria, with thousands of vine-tips waving about and seeking something upon which to take hold. Passersby complained, when their hats, umbrellas, and even overcoats were seized and torn from them by the vines.

And still, people admire wisteria!

Compiled by Hilary Wallcox