Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Plum Tree

When the plum trees blossom (in September), it's the first sign that things are starting to happen again in the garden. I planted 2 plum trees about 6 years ago. One is a Black Doris (top) and one is its pollinator, either an Elephant Heart or a Purple Sultan, I can't remember which, although I do know it's also referred to as the Christmas plum, as the fruit generally ripens around the 25th December.
Looking at them now it's hard to believe they're the same age. Either the Black Doris is a slow grower or I've done something terribly wrong.
Anyway there's a huge Black Doris plum tree growing on a neighbouring property which I believe is more than 20 years old. Apparently (according to the neighbour who's husband planted it) it had seldom if ever fruited until I planted the pollinator, upon which it suddenly sprang into life. The neighbour was delighted.

I'm hopeful the Black Doris will produce its first fruit this year. As for the other one, it's fruited for 3 years now. Last year it was particularly bountiful – there was so much fruit they grew almost like bunches of grapes. The fruit has a dark red centre and each one grows to about the size of a squash ball.
This year it put on a spectacular display of blossoms and I witnessed for the first time dozens of bees working away doing their thing. It was a welcome sight.
Although 6 years probably sounds like a long time to wait for a decent crop of plums, it just adds to the huge sense of satisfaction that comes from growing it yourself. One of my mates has done the same thing in his yard with Avocados. If I had more room I'd plant all kinds of fruit trees.

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