I say Solanum betaceum (tamarillo). I bought it for the conservatory last year, a knee high plant with unassuming but interesting leaves. I left it stuffed in its groaning plastic pot for a week, to get used to its new home, then repotted it. Thereafter it grew so fast that I could almost see the upward movement. Leaves the size of violins were thrust out with reckless abandon and the trunk swelled alarmingly as the top shoots approached the roof. Over the course of the winter, most of the foliage turned brown and dropped off, resembling a symphony orchestra Marie Celeste and leaving a toupee of purplish tufts at twelve feet (4 metres) on the very top.
Euphorbia mellifera (honey spurge)
It’s not an attractive look. I’ve been watching the single bare stem for months, awaiting pruning time. When the right day arrived and Internet tomato tree gurus agreed, I could feel it in my water as Grandma used to say. I grabbed the heavy loppers and made my assault; the blades slipped through with ease and half of the stalk hit the floor with a thump. Upon inspecting the off-cut, I found tiny flower buds cunningly concealed amongst the vegetation. Think of a dirty word, then double it. No, still not enough. I hadn’t been up there for a close inspection as I get vertigo on a thick pile carpet and seasick on a damp lawn. Maddened, I lopped down the Brugmansias (angel’s trumpet) as hard as I dared. I top dressed them with compost and “Osmacote” and challenged them to remain flowerless this year, as they’ve done throughout their history. I’m going to douse them with liquid tomato fertiliser once or twice a week and if they don’t burst into blossom, it won’t be due to lack of effort on my part.
Lysichiton americanus (skunk cabbage)
Protasparagus densiflorus “Sprengeri” (asparagus fern) was dying by inches in a hanging ceramic container, again, too high for me to see within. Able only to slosh about with a hose, I’ve done so with enthusiasm and the plant was pegging it from overwatering. Courting a hernia I took it down, emptied the foetid lake beneath and set about the root ball. I cut off the rot and replanted the remaining shreds in a dry bed, thinking to hear a sigh of relief from the poor bastard as I did so. I put a collection of Epiphyllum (orchid cactus) in its place and will try to restrain myself with irrigation. Due to a sad lack of self control, I’ve potted up every leaf that’s ever fallen off the parent plant; these I have amalgamated in the dangling garden, to make one big, hopefully happy family. If they are content and they bloom, it should be spectacular.
Viola odorata (sweet violet)
Attila turned up to inspect the finished result. He observed that the sun room looked like an insane lumberjack on amphetamines had assuaged a personal grudge. He said that I smelled like a swamp, sounded like a bad mouthed harpy and looked like a hurricane. I had to remind him that although my cutting tools were blunt and smoking, they could still make an impact on his impertinence.