Big news from the solar pergola: Sweetie-boy, our blokey kiwifruit, is in bloom. Still nada from the Hayward pair and Mt Tomah kiwiberry down at the bottom of the garden, but there are buds all over the low-chill Sweetie vines, lad and lass, after only two years in the ground. Well done, boyo!
I’m really really really hoping we get fruit, but I’m not wildly optimistic, given how tricksy pollination can be for kiwis. According to the ever-authoritative North West Berry and Grape Information Network “kiwifruit flowers do not produce nectar and are relatively unattractive to bees”. Potential pollinators won’t look twice at your unappealing chinese gooseberry flower if there’s anything else going. I’m mystified – they look lovely to me. But I’m starting to regret that lavender hedge.
New Zealand’s boffins are developing a RoboBee to help solve this problem (seriously!). In the meantime, if your fella really isn’t up to the job, there’s always PollenPlus (TM), “from the world’s largest male kiwifruit pollen producer and supplier”. Surely that’s a niche market. And to get your big jar of pollen where it needs to go, why not purchase a PollenPlus motorised air blower with an electronic pollen dispenser? Live the life of a giant mechanical insect! You know, I really fancy that, though I think a bee costume would be mandatory to get the full effect.
Let’s be sensible. Robotic pollinators are a bit rich for our blood. I reckon I can stretch to assisting with a bit of flower-on-flower frottage, though. So come on, Sweetie-pie, show us those girlish blossoms and let’s get twirling!