Published Friday, September 11, 2020

A vine? What vine?

By Victoria Torley

Gardeners have good days and bad days. Today was a good day.

After losing my poor cucumbers to something last week – probably a fungus, we’ll never know – I went out this morning and found that my zucchini have set fruit! Tiny little zucchini are happily growing on their plants. At least I think they are zucchini. You see, I planted a lot of different kinds of squash as experiments. Zucchini, acorn, yellow, and something else but the stake has faded. Watered and fertilized then went to check other things and found the tomatoes.

Tomatoes can be easy and hard to grow. Some of my best are under some kind of roofing, partly protected from the torrential rains. Tomatoes hate wet feet. One of the most productive plants was started at the top of a terraced garden. As it grew, it drooped over the edge of the first terrace and hit the ground of the second. There, it immediately put down roots and grew up and over the next terrace. More roots. Now it is hanging over the final edge with a long drop to the ground. I’m not sure it will make it but it might. This one plant is now about 10 feet long, rooted along the way and producing cherry tomatoes like mad! Is it still one plant? Who knows, who cares. I could probably clip it and make it into separate plants but it is so healthy this way. And we do love our tomatoes.

Another good thing about tomatoes – my eternal enemy, the leaf-cutter ant leaves them completely alone. Score one for me!

I was so happy-joyed by the tomatoes that I decided to gather a bouquet of flowers to celebrate as I admitted to myself that flowers grow better for me than vegetables. A hard thing to admit. Case in point, about a month ago this column featured a picture of a dancing lady ginger. I cut some and brought them inside and they are still viable! There they sit in the vase, maybe not as fresh as the first day, but still beautiful. I highly recommend them if you are looking for an interesting and long-lasting cut flower.

Flowers are nice, but I really do love my tomatoes.

Plant for the Week

Once again, I have a flower with no name. Someone asked me where it came from and I don’t remember that either. It’s a vine that has been growing happily for the last two years. Very happily, much to Metric Man’s disgust. It has grown all over the front of the house and every time he walks to the pool it slaps him on the head. He threatened to cut it down, but I said, “Not until it blooms.” Weeks ago, it began putting out odd shaped spikes. “Look at that!” I said, “It’s going to bloom.” He grumbled but I was right! Odd spikes, dark purple, almost black buds and now, purple flowers with a light fragrance. The flowers are small, about 2 cm, but it looks like there are going to be a lot of them. If only they had a name! Well, it’s a vigorous vine, a fast grower and slow bloomer. Plant on a trellis or across the front of the deck. Then wait.

Editor's note: More information on this article or about gardening, Ms. Victoria Torley, gardener columnist, can be reached at