So today I went looking for the staminate, or male flowers, knowing there had to be some on one vine or another, and by gum I found some on one of the two smaller vines. Not that I can tell which vine is which anymore. No pistil, no ovary, just a nice ring of purple stamens. Pollen dispensers. Male flowers.
Through pure, dumb luck, one of the three seeds I planted eight years ago had been a male. And bees had visited these staminate flowers, and brought their pollen to the pistillate flowers on the one or two huge female vines. It was as if I'd planned it. What if all three had been male? Or all three female? It would take eight years before I'd know if I'd goofed. All spring I've been thinking of trying to find someone in the area patient or (probably) dumb enough to try growing hardy kiwi, to ask if I could cut a sprig of male flowers to bring home. I was thinking about driving through Devola, looking for that backyard arbor. If the homeowner is even still living there. If he hasn't gone into a deep depression about giving over his backyard arbor to fruitless massvines, and gone into seclusion.
I didn't have to hunt anyone down in the end. The Kiwi Fairy visited Indigo Hill. I cannot believe my luck. I know I'm putting the cart before the horse. Nobody's actually eaten any hardy kiwi fruit here. Maybe the coons and flying squirrels will get them all. I don't know how long they take to mature. Can't be eight years. Has to be measured in weeks or months.
The point is we have plants of both sexes; it CAN happen, and we're going to taste a hardy kiwi fruit this summer. This fall. Before frost. Even if it's only one, sliced four ways. More waiting, I guess. Done it for eight years, might as well go nine. As DOD said of planting fruit trees, "You're waiting anyway."