My husband and I took a chance on this wisteria ("Aunt Dee") three years ago. Wisteria is very iffy here in inland Maine; limited to temperate zones 4 to 8, it thrives in the southern and middle states. Pennsylvania's Longwood Gardens is what inspired us, where, in mid-May, long purple panicles of wisteria cover the walls of a stone farmhouse. Its fragrance and ethereal color - pink and yellow-tipped lavender - makes the air like heaven.
Growing wisteria here in Maine, zoned 5 if you're lucky enough to live by the water, and 3 to 4 inland, is harder. We had to find a spot with southern exposure to all-day sun, and solid protection from the North winds. That would be right in front of our south-facing house. But with a wooden house, we couldn't grow it to climb up the structure, because wisteria is so vigorous that it inches its way under shingles or clapboards and eventually pries them off. Gardeners told us these vines can pull a house down.
So our wisteria had to be free-standing. After looking at pictures in gardening books, we went to Home Depot, and W. went straight to the plumbing-supply section. He got a bunch of plumbing pipes, spray-painted them water-proof black, and built a tree-shaped frame. We planted the wisteria right next to the "trunk."
By the next summer (last year), the plant was putting out shoots long enough to cover the whole frame. I consulted pruning books, and by tying the shoots to the frame and pruning away side-shoots, we fashioned a trunk up the vertical and branches along the horizontal supports.
Here's the positioning of the wisteria in relation to the house: close enough to be blocked from the North winds, but far enough away (across the brick walk) so it can't send out tendrils to glom onto the shingles.
All the careful positioning, protection, pruning, and plumbing-pipes pay off in panicles of heaven each late-June. W. startled hummingbirds and bees at work this morning when he went out at 6am to take these pictures.