LeeAnn Nolan said her wisteria, nicknamed Medusa, has become an attraction for people with many stopping by to snap photos while it’s in bloom. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

LeeAnn Nolan said her wisteria, nicknamed Medusa, has become an attraction for people with many stopping by to snap photos while it’s in bloom. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

‘Medusa’ the Sequim wisteria in full bloom along Old Olympic Highway

Owner says plant attracts visitors who often take pictures

SEQUIM — Now and for the next few weeks is the prime time to look at Medusa, LeeAnn Nolan said.

That’s the nickname she and her husband Rick gave their wisteria plant that blooms around this time each year along their home’s fence.

LeeAnn said they do their best to keep it off their house because it could do serious damage with its long, snake-like shoots.

“When it comes to that, I say, ‘Rick, Medusa needs a haircut,’ ” LeeAnn said.

Medusa has become quite an attraction over the years, she said. It’s become commonplace for people to stop by and take photos of it along the 6000 block of Old Olympic Highway, just east of Cays Road.

Sometimes photos are for anniversaries or for fun, and the Nolans even take an annual family photo in front of it with their son James, who owns Any Angle Fabrication.

One time, the Nolans received an anonymous letter from a passer-by thanking them for the plant, saying watching it bloom was an annual pleasure.

“It was just really touching,” LeeAnn said.

For about 20 years, the wisteria at Rick and LeeAnn Nolan’s house has grown along the fence line on Old Olympic Highway, becoming an attraction for motorists. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

For about 20 years, the wisteria at Rick and LeeAnn Nolan’s house has grown along the fence line on Old Olympic Highway, becoming an attraction for motorists. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Medusa came into her possession more than 30 years ago as a 2-foot plant in a pot.

“I didn’t know what to do with it, but my husband (who had his own landscaping business and now works for Crouch Concrete) did,” LeeAnn said.

The plant went into the ground about 20 years ago, and it has grown so much that Rick has rerouted it to add a second line on the fence to heighten and beautify the wisteria.

The Nolans added an arbor to block it from growing onto their house, too.

LeeAnn, a fourth-generation Woodcock family member, said she is the third generation to live in the house, and her mother, Harriett Peterson, was born there.

“I always knew this is where I’d come back to,” she said.

Last year, she retired from her business, Perfect 10 Nail Studio, because of chronic pain from a car wreck four years ago when she was struck at a stoplight by a person talking on a phone.

She said it breaks her heart that she can’t serve her longtime customers anymore.

With a constant view of the wisteria and the Olympic Mountains, LeeAnn said she’s always taking pictures of the plant.

“We love it. We’re not prideful people, but it brings us a lot of joy,” she said. “We love to share its beauty with our neighbors of Sequim.”

For those considering growing wisteria, LeeAnn cautioned that its seed pods can be toxic to pets. She said she’s grateful her dogs don’t like them.

________

Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected].

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