Brooklyn, NY

In Bloom Now: a Wisteria Pergola in Park Slope, Brooklyn

wisteria pergolaMelissa Toldy

Behold the glory of this wisteria pergola on the corner of 3rd street and 8th avenue in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

Wait, pergola? What is a pergola? When I first saw this stunning floral display, I thought of the word gazebo, but after some research, I realized I was looking at a pergola!

The Spruce gives a detailed description, but basically, a pergola is a flat-topped structure that dates back to the Italian Renaissance. A gazebo has a closed roof, and an arbor, though similar, is smaller than a pergola.
wisteria vinesMelissa Toldy

Actually, I’m learning a lot about flowers this season. From across the street, I thought I was seeing lilacs at first, but as I got closer, I realized the pale purple flowers had a different shape from the various lilacs species I’ve been seeing around Brooklyn.

A friendly woman happened to walk by as I was admiring the pergola, and after we both agreed on how lovely these flowers looked, she told me that they were wisteria.

Now here’s the thing: both Prospect Park and Central Park have wisteria pergolas. And they’re very, very popular. Tourists sometimes plan their vacations, hoping to time their arrival with the wisterias in bloom.
prospect park pergolaWikimedia/Tdorante10

Also, the wisteria pergola in Central Park is a desired spot for weddings.

The pergolas in the city parks may look more impressive than this smaller Park Slope pergola, but you have to admit: This one is about as full as can be.

I took photos from underneath, and you can see how the wisteria covers every inch of the wooden structure.
underside of wisteria pergolaMelissa Toldy

Compare these photos to one posted on Twitter a few days ago. You’re looking at a pergola in Central Park, and unfortunately, it looks a bit bare.

Oh, and by the way, did you know that wisteria flowers smell amazing? While I was snapping these photos, their lovely scent wafted into my nose, through my mask!

Gardenista warns that wisteria can take over your garden, if you’re not mindful of its ability to spread its vines. The page has a lovely photo of another wisteria pergola at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

BBG features wisteria in their Osborne Garden, where the flowers hang over the azalea bushes. Both plants bloom at the same time, creating a gorgeous contrast of pale and bright hues.

According to Flowers of Park Slope, wisteria seeds can take 15 years to produce a bloom. The site features photos of a wandering vine that spans three backyard gardens.

If you want to see more wisteria photos, Secret NYC compiled a few Instagram posts of the vines growing along the sides of buildings. Or, just look under the hashtag #wisteria for some stunning photos from all over the world.

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