Look at photographs and paintings of early 20th-century gardens on the East End and what do you see: roses, first and foremost. Climbing roses, frothy with blooms overflowing pergolas, arbors, walls, and fences. At the very pinnacle of high fashion were beds filled with the new, repeat flowering China and tea roses, surrounded by low clipped hedges of boxwood.
Surprise of surprises, ornamental grasses crop up, used in a variety of ways.
Wisteria in flower evokes the most romantic garden fantasies. Monet planted it famously above a Japanese bridge in his water garden at Giverny, and of course painted it.
You have to read the fine print to discover that while the vines he planted are still thriving, they literally tore down their supports. The reality is wisteria is high maintenance, very high maintenance, and 99.5 percent of us don’t have the know-how or resources to keep it under control and flowering, say, as in a Monet painting.