Here in Western Australia we have our very own native wisteria (Hardenbergia comptoniana). Even though it doesn’t have the beautiful rich smell of an oriental wisteria, it’s one of my favourite wildflowers for so many reasons.
Hardenbergia was the first native wildflower I can remember taking notice of when I was little. I had a necklace with purple shells on it that looked just like delicate little native wisteria flowers blooming around my neck. When I walked home, taking a shortcut through Mr Dyson’s driveway, I would see his Hardenbergia and think “someone made my necklace to match my next door neighbour’s flowers” and I would somehow think that me and my necklace had special powers because of this… Um, I don’t really know why.
Our southwest native wisteria starts flowering in July, before the main onslaught of colour that comes from other wildflowers later in sping. And it’s not shy. It grows so fast it’s hard to keep up once the rains start; and in July through to October, masses of purple pea-like flowers are produced – brightening the late winter days.
This year we came home from our honeymoon to find our Hardenbergia had gone all out to welcome us home – even growing into our kitchen through the window frame. Ah the beauty of a not very well built house. It’s nickname “mile a minute” seems very well deserved.
If you want to get out and see these beautiful wildflowers for yourself, you’ll find Hardenbergia growing in almost every bushland around Perth on the Swan Coastal Plain. It’s natural distribution is near to the coast anywhere between Geraldton and Albany. It likes open Jarrah forest and sandy or gravelly soils. It needs part to full sun to flower really well.
If you like what you see out there you can easily grow your own at home from seed or tubestock. Just keep it away from things like air-conditioning units…oops.