Three months ago I discovered a strange flower growing on a vine in my backyard. Over the next few days, more blossomed and I cracked a joke with a friend that I was being invaded by aliens. With a quick search on Google, I found out they’re passion flowers. I thought it was awesome that we happened to end up growing these awesome looking flowers on an equally awesome looking vine, and asked my father to let the gardener know not to get rid of it.
Yes, we have a gardener. Pretty much everyone in southern California does. We can take care of a rose garden and pick the fruit off our trees, but forget mowing the lawn, most of us either don’t have the time or simply don’t have the upper body strength to push a lawnmower, and our yards are way too small for those awesome riding lawnmowers.
Anyway, the vine has grown a whole lot, pretty much taking over the area behind the garage. I like checking on it every so often, we don’t have a garden right now so this plant is the prettiest thing in the backyard for the moment. Yesterday I noticed an orange fruit hanging at the top of the neighbor’s chainlink fence and assumed they had an apricot tree or something and one of the branches was dangling over our side of the fence, but I took a closer look and realized it was actually part of the passion vine. I half jokingly mentioned on Twitter that I was going to taste one even though I’m not sure if they’re ripe yet, and today went back there to get a photo of them and see if maybe one had fallen off the vine, a friend told me that’s the sign that they’re ripe and edible. As soon as I got to the plant, I burst out laughing and realized there’s a fair chance I’ll never get to try one. I’d managed to forget about the little animals that roam my yard. Specifically squirrels.
The seeds inside look like the seeds of a pomegranate, and judging by the fair lack of missing seeds, I’m going to assume they don’t taste too great. Unless there were a whole lot more and it just looks like not many are gone. The outside must be pretty tasty though, there was none of it on the ground like when the squirrels go after the oranges that fall off our tree. Orange peel massacre, it’s just all over the place after a squirrel’s had a snack. This fruit has a soft fuzzy outside like a peach, though it appears to be as thick as an orange peel. This might be an unripe fruit though, maybe the peel thins out as it ripens, I can’t help but wonder if the squirrels and birds will let me find out. I also wonder if my dog will attempt to eat one of these if it falls to the ground or grows at his eye level, I’ll never forget the day he bit into an orange thinking it was another tennis ball to play fetch with. The look on his face made it obvious he’d never try biting into another orange, but these little fruits might not be bitter.
Being a city girl means I don’t have too many experiences with nature, interesting plants simply don’t really grow wild around here. So I’m glad I get the chance to watch this plant grow, and I’m grateful for something photogenic in my backyard besides birds and insects who don’t sit still long enough for me to get more than one decent non-blurry photo.