I was drawn by her name. Juliet. A flirty name for a tomato, especially compared with he-man varietals like German Johnson or Beefmaster or Big Boy.

I had grown tired of straight-up grape tomatoes and didn’t want a cherry (so 1980s) so I took a chance. And swooned for Juliet.

A cluster of Juliets

Is it a mini-Roma or a sturdy grape tomato? Or is it a Roma grape? It doesn’t matter, really, it was the hit of 2012 in our garden. It started bearing fruit in late June … and has never quit.

A little background. We have had an abnormally hot, abnormally dry year. Many of our tomatoes yielded abundant fruit early, and then pooped out. (In their defense, they are now forming new fruit as the temps cool and the sun remains strong.)

Ah, but the Juliet. She never let us down. This one plant has been a faithful mother to hundreds of small, sweet, sturdy tomatoes. By chance, we planted Juliet in the middle of our nine tomato plants, and her branches have vined their way through all of the other tomato supports and even into other plants. We find clusters of Juliets hidden in the thyme, in the rosemary, the peppers, the horseradish and squash. It’s like a treasure hunt.

As one of the tomato purveyors put it: “The wonderfully sweet fruit are crack resistant and remain in good condition on the vine longer than most cherry tomatoes. The fruit are as soft and juicy as cherry tomatoes, they hold up well in salads, even leftovers, and they have a longer shelf life so you can keep them on hand without picking every day. The vigorous vines set lots of fruit on long trusses and keep setting fruit throughout the summer. Quite heat tolerant. Vines are long and vigorous, so give the plant room to tumble over its cage. Tolerant to late blight. Resistant to early blight. One of the longest-lasting tomatoes in the garden.”

Bravo Juliet!  You rock! You can bet there will always be a Juliet in our garden.

Sandy Johnson is a journalist and a gardener, equally passionate about both. She lives in Alexandria, VA.  Visit her on her blog, Grassroots & Gardening