It is a chaotic blanket of thin, tangled branches smothering the lilac bush. A wild thing in a garden that has gone mad with wild things and wildness. And once it got going that poor potted dahlia hardly stood a chance.
I’ve realized that it is a living approximation of my grandmother’s “Christmas tree.” My garden’s tribute of sorts to the mass of potted tropical vines and houseplants that she decorated with small glass balls and assembled into a triangular “tree” shape each December.
I tell myself that it is for this sentiment that I leave the plant intact and let it run free. There is also the fruit to consider. Shiny, little bobbles of colour that fall in strings. Many fall to the ground. The dog chews the moist guts out of them. I’ll be on my knees plucking their progeny in droves next spring as penance for my reckless indifference now.
Did you know that wild, red currant tomatoes like this one are of a difference species than most of the other tomatoes that we grow in our gardens? Lycospericon pimpinfolium (ummmm… tiny pimpin’ yo ???) is native to the West coasts of Peru and Ecuador (see “Vegetables” by Roger Phillips and Martyn Rix.) These pea-sized tomatoes are tough-skinned, but sweet and juicy. The plant is a delicate, yet aggressive menace that is impossible to keep in order (even when effort is applied), but I can not resist its charm.
We separated the ripe from the green last night and I am planning to pickle them both separately later. My recipe for pickled green tomatoes is in my book, “Drinking the Summer Garden.” I have yet to work out a recipe for the ripe. I have pickled ripe in the past, but the recipe I made was meant for the ‘White Currant’ fruit that you can also see in the bottom photo and doesn’t seem fitting for these.