Wisteria floribunda, commonly known as Japanese wisteria, is often found flourishing in the English and Olmsted Gardens in early- to mid-spring. The Japanese wisteria produces the lengthiest racemes of any wisteria, making it a truly unique asset to the Gardens. In moist soil and full sun, this species of flowering plant can grow up to 30 feet and survive over 50 years, weaving and climbing around the arbors overlooking the St. Johns River. The large wisteria arbor in the English Garden was built in 1910, when Mr. and Mrs. Cummer decided they needed a new infusion of advice as well as additional trees and shrubs for their grounds. They looked to an out-of-state resource, the Philadelphia nurserymen, Thomas Meehan (1826 – 1901) and Sons to bring their centerpiece to life. Mrs. Cummer’s notation on Meehan’s plan indicates that she originally called it the Wisteria Garden, but in later years it was referred to as the Azalea Garden. Today it is known as the English Garden. Family snapshots taken within a year of Meehan’s installation show the same basic design configuration that exists today – rectangular, with beautifully-laid brick paths, and Japanese wisteria entwining the cypress-beamed pergola.
Wisteria Floribunda (Japanese wisteria) and the English Garden
by Amber Sesnick, Marketing Manager in Education
This post was written by Amber Sesnick who has written 345 posts on The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens.
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