I have now discovered – too late – the previously ‘wisterius’ reason why my floribunda is not floral and never has been.

For the five years it has been in the container, filled with rich compost, it has put on the most luxuriant foliage growth and not produced a single bloomin’ bloom.

The nesting blackbirds love the leaf shelter up near the garage apex – hopefully out of reach of the local tom - and we find it attractive, but eye-popping it ain’t, while all gardens around seem to abound with pendulous flowers.

I don’t pretend to be a wisteria expert and a few weeks’ ago it seems I made matters worse by top-dressing the pot with a generous helping of compost containing a nutrient balance including nitrogen.

Isle of Wight County Press: Delicate purple wisteria, offsets a brick wall nicely.Delicate purple wisteria, offsets a brick wall nicely. (Image: Richard Wright.)

This week's Isle of Wight gardening tips:

  • After the great flood we have dry and it’s time to optimise watering, using up the resources, hopefully collected in butts. Optimise the precious water early and late to get the most out of it. A timed system connected to a butt is a boon for the greenhouse, for those who want to spend a few days away at this crucial time.
  • There is still time to plant any container-grown evergreen climbing shrubs now the risk of frost is well past.
  • Towards the end of the month, keep an eye out for powdery mildew on flowering shrubs and flowers, such as rhododendrons and azaleas. Treat with fungicide to prevent spread. Read more: Years of razzle dazzle from outgoing azaleas
  • Lightly cut back and tidy up late-flowering honeysuckle. Leave any big pruning jobs until the dormancy of winter.
  • When the chill nights have passed is the time to plant out courgettes, pumpkins and sweetcorn grown in the greenhouse. Too early and growth will be checked.

Isle of Wight County Press: Wisteria doing what it does best.Wisteria doing what it does best. (Image: Richard Wright.)

Isle of Wight County Press: My flourishing wisteria, but not a flower in sight!My flourishing wisteria, but not a flower in sight! (Image: Richard Wright.)

Of course, nitrogen promotes leaf growth. Doh. 

When a wisteria has too much it will have plenty of foliage but very few blooms and often none at all.

I have since also discovered it is common knowledge that phosphorus and potassium fertilisers are used to encourage wisteria blooming so I will be using bone meal to hopefully give it the boost it needs.

Lack of maturity can also be the culprit, but ours was a large plant when bought and has been in a prime, sunny, spot for five years.

My personal favourite are varieties of Chinese wisteria which produce fragrant flowers of lilac, blue or white. They are also native to Japan - and the North American species is distinctly different.

Isle of Wight County Press: Wisteria doesn't always have to be purple, you know.Wisteria doesn't always have to be purple, you know. (Image: Richard Wright.)

King of the Chinese, in my opinion, is the Silky, which has golden green soft, leaves which develop at the same time, hopefully, as the blossom.

All have vigorous, climbing vines which can adorn walls or fences vertically, or be trained horizontally. Mature specimens can be free-standing, with support in the early years, as they can be pruned to develop thick trunks.

On a recent trip to Sicily I collected a few wisteria seed pods (wisteria is a legume) and have several vigorous seedlings which I very much hope, perhaps optimistically, I will see bloom. But, grown from seed it can take ten to 20 years to see what colour I have got, if any – apart from green...