Four years ago two Panama Red passionfruit vines were lovingly planted side by side behind our vegetable beds to grow along the fence. We tended them daily with plenty of water, fertiliser and attention. They grew fast, thick and were a vivid tropical bright green. Each day we could see how much they had grown from the last time we saw them. They soon joined forces to cover the faded metal of our back fence and made a fantastic backdrop to our garden. They grew so big that they overflowed into our rear neighbour’s yard, but they didn’t seem to mind since the renters there didn’t have much of a garden.
I watched in awe as each tendril stretched as far as it could from the coiled spring of vine. They seemed to stretch until almost breaking point; straining, striving and struggling until they caught something to wrap around and latch onto. Then, these tendrils seemed to express their relief in the most amazing flowers.
Once anchored and secure they would unwind and do it all again. Each tendril wove back on itself through the thicket of vine to create a fabric of growth not just survival. I mused one day that these little tendrils acted much like a parent – constantly struggling to hold on and weave a family.
Despite all the growth, the amazingly delicate flowers and all my musing, the vines refused to fruit.
We did research. We fertilised flowers by hand. We added seaweed supplements to the water. We willed a sign . . . Then about three weeks ago we saw these bright green, shiny orbs on the vine where Mr magentafrog had rubbed the flowers together. I swear I heard him muttering ‘yeah, baby that’s how I like it’ as he did it. Success! Now it was just a matter of time and we would have these luscious fruits for breakfast.
More fruits appeared; six in all. Still, we waited . . . slowly but surely they would ripen.
Then, inexplicably and without warning the owner of the neighbouring house decided to get a garden contractor in. They used a whipper snipper to raze our vine from their side of the fence effectively choking the food supply to our baby fruits that dangled helplessly. Devastated we tied up the remaining green vine to the top of the fence and hoped that some fruit may survive to ripen.
Most fell off the vine, but two were found shrivelling, ripening in the morning sun. Tentatively they were cut open. The smell of the stunning golden fresh flesh invaded my nostrils and I had proof that the vines were a success after all. All that is needed now is the courage to prune the vines so that they can start all over again. Oh, and the set up of an electric fence to stop further incursions!