When the gardener came last Monday afternoon for his biweekly blowing the blossoms off the front porch, I took him to the back patio — where I virtually never go — and showed him a plant growing there, which looked to me like a weed and was taking over (with no care at all) like Audrey II in “Little Shop of Horrors.” I was going to ask him whether I (meaning he) should just remove the whole thing.
As we approached the growth, a big grin crossed the gardener’s face, and his exclaimed “tomato plant!” For the first time, I saw a few red fruit and many more green ones. As I say, I never go back there; and presumably those have been growing, untended, since well before I moved in. I feel so proud of my green thumb. I’m going to keep on doing nothing, so’s not to jinx the tomatoes.
I picked one of the few cherry tomatoes on the plant (there were several more, still green), washed it, and put it in the refrigerator. The next day I ate it. It was delicious and didn’t give me food poisoning. While picking the fruit, I’d learned that the resemblance to Audrey II was mainly physical; it didn’t talk with Levi Stubbs’ voice, and (more important) it didn’t eat me.
I left the plant alone for a few days, to give the fruit a chance to ripen.
When I returned to the back patio, the plant had grown — wider, and further up the back wall. I also sort of discovered why I’d never noticed the plant prior to that first time, sort of. There was a smaller version of Audrey II (as I’ll call it; she may yet have me for brunch) behind my neighbor’s place. Apparently some seeds had landed (a bird? Someone throwing a tomato over the back wall?), and now they were spreading.
Now I’m wondering if I should trim the plant back, which could become a weekly (if not hourly) ritual, or just uproot the whole thing and hope for the best. I’ll ask the gardener, but he won’t be back for another week.
I hope my place is still here.