23. March 2011 · 2 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , ,

It’s a 12.3 mile drive on U.S. 98 between our neighborhood in Navarre, and Dave’s base to our east. That road is a nightmare a lot of the time; it’s the only east-west artery along the Gulf Coast connecting Pensacola with Fort Walton Beach, so the majority of businesses set up on this road, and it’s extremely congested. Dave probably has a dozen traffic lights on that 12.3 mile stretch (perhaps I’ll count it the next time I make the drive and report back to you).

As I wrote about recently, living on the Gulf Coast opens up a new world of flora and fauna. This being our first springtime here, it’s been a surprise every week seeing what does grow in this area. We’d spent time on the East Coast of Florida in Melbourne years ago, and went from there to central North Carolina. The differences in flora between the two locations was profound.

This area seems to be a blend between the two. Banana trees will grow, but so will bradford pear trees. This week brought out the wisteria.

For those familiar with this invasive species, wisteria typically spreads their vines very aggressively, and many American cultivars don’t flower until 10-15 years after first seeded.

That being said, most of the wisteria I’m seeing in this area are in undeveloped plots of land. In my neighborhood itself, there aren’t a lot of wisteria. Most of what I’m seeing is along that 12.3 mile stretch of U.S. 98. In these photos below, the wisteria vine has been allowed to grow for several years without any pruning, and it’s growing up the telephone pole and draping itself over other large trees.

I also noticed that this particular one wasn’t as purple as others I’ve seen around. I’ve seen one very pretty plant in someone’s front yard in my neighborhood, the only one that appears to have been planted in a particular spot “on purpose”. It’s clearly well-pruned every year, and it looks very attractive. I haven’t gotten a picture of that one, I don’t want to freak out the homeowners.

I wanted to also discuss a book I had read with a book club I was in when we were living in North Carolina.  But I can’t remember the title or author!  One of the “characters” in the book was the centuries-old wisteria on the family’s property.  It told the reader a history of the protagonist family…I thought it was clever and creative.  If anyone knows the name of the book I’m talking about, please remind me!

I found the name of the book!  “The Floatplane Notebooks” by Clyde Edgerton!


This is a huge sprawling wisteria vine!

I wish this blog had smell-o-vision…they smell very very nice.  Not as nice as lilacs or honeysuckle or good roses, but still nice.

I wish I had my good camera with me, but I’m impress with how these iPhone photos came out.

Extreme closeup!

Like kudzu, wisteria is an Asian-originated vine of the pea family that grows VERY fast!