There are certain plants that hold a place in both our landscapes and hearts.
The wisteria vine at 79 year-old Phil Kumanchik’s Ohio Township home might take over the world one day and it has a special meaning for him.
It was planted about 20 years ago by his late wife Diane who passed away seven years ago. When the tree is covered in sweet smelling blossoms it’s a reminder of their days together for Mr. Kumanchik. “I think about my wife, that was her pride and joy,” he said quietly while standing in the shadow of the huge vines.
At the bottom, multiple trucks form a thick knot which climbs a pine tree 65 feet into the air. There are tiny, newly sprouted vines all around the ground, even 20 feet away from the original plant.
Various visitors have told him to cut down the huge pine, as it towers over his home, but he can’t bear to do it. “As far as I’m concerned the pine tree can fall and hit the house,” he says half kidding. Mr. Kumanchik will just keep an eye on health of the pine, he says. If it needs to be taken down, he knows the wisteria will persist, finding another host to climb.
All that’s left of her garden is a fenced in patch of weeds shaded by the wisteria.
The couple met in 1955 after he left the army and after falling in love and spent literally every day together since. His wife loved animals and plants alike and he described her as “a great cook.”
Mr. Kumanchik sat at the kitchen table of his modest home. Behind him still hangs a sign which reads “Diane’s Kitchen” as he reads her obituary out loud, “her last wish for her family, soft loving memories, everlasting rainbows and never ending dreams. How about that,” he asks. Then thinking of the thriving vine outside and how it’s connected to his late wife he said, “That was just her best creation. It means she’s working in heaven. “