Every now and then the garden makes a fool of you. Barring that, the seed company steps in and fools you.
I ordered seeds, you see, from a very reputable company. Lots of seeds. I planted them according to instructions, including the instructions on the kiwi (one month in the refrigerator) and put them in the right locations. Then I very carefully tended them.
Well, I thought I was doing right by all those seeds but I must have slipped up somewhere. A lot of things did grow, including the kiwi, but there were a lot of disappointments. The biggest disappointment was the chocolate vine.
What woman doesn’t love some kind of chocolate? And to have a plant with blooms that are chocolate scented? Divine!
I waited and waited and nothing happened. I waited some more and something emerged! Fabjoyous! It emerged and grew taller, it didn’t look like any of the ordinary weeds, it must be my vine! We moved it to the deck where it could be closely watched, fertilized, watered, and get just enough sun. When it hit about a foot in height (30 cm or so), we began to doubt it’s identification as vine. There were no tendrils, no curling, no attaching to the wire. I went back over the seeds I had bought and double checked the markers. Perhaps a marker had been switched somehow and this was one of the trees I ordered.
Trees. Let’s see here. I ordered cinnamon, persimmon, and Malabar chestnut. Was it possible one of them got mixed up with my vine? We waited for more leaves. The first leaves were single tapered ovals. Then out came a leaf with three lobes. What? Back to the web and pictures of persimmon, cinnamon, and chestnut, and nothing matched. Still, I kept caring for my mystery tree hoping that someone would identify it for me from a Facebook posting. Nothing.
In the meantime, the mystery plant was very happy with all the care and attention. Then it happened. My gardener, Armondo, and I were deciding where the kiwi should go when I stumbled upon a small tree about 3 feet (a meter) and said, “Duh, Armondo, what is this?”
“This” turned out to be my mystery tree, a member of the Cecropia genus. Sigh. So much for my careful tending, as this turns out to be a very common tree with a seed that may have been blown in by the wind or dropped by a bird. I guess I need to keep repeating “better luck next time.”