Saturday, 30 July 2011

Little Jewel

Three years ago we planted several fruit trees with the aim of creating a couple of shady woodland type borders; amongst the chosen trees had to be a plum tree.  At the time we had an old Victoria plum in the garden which was cropping heavily although the tree was in very poor condition.  We realised that it would probably only be with us for a couple more years and, as I am a plum addict when they are in season, we needed a replacement.

We decided to plant Opal, copping earlier than Victoria and with slightly smaller fruit, though still the same deep purple colour.  We have had a few dramas with this young tree and thought that we might lose it a couple of times as even though well staked it has been severely rocked by high winds; and in February this year we added a second stake.

weighed down with delicious plums
However despite all of this several weeks ago we noticed that the tree was covered in immature fruits, so much fruit in fact that the branches were beginning to weep.  We thinned the fruit out removing about one third.  However even after this we have so much fruit that we are unable to eat it all - despite standing eating the plums directly from the tree!  The fruits are sweet, but not too sweet, juicy and soft textured and are delicious in all guises including baked in puddings, pureed for the Handyman's breakfast and made into jam.
golden fruit
Yesterday I had a couple of friends over for lunch (to celebrate my birthday) and we had plum clafoutis and they each took home a Holly Grove goodie bag containing HG potatoes (freshly dug), HG courgettes, HG cucumber and, of course, a large punnet of HG plums.

punnet of Opal plums Manchester bound
We're paying a visit to my sister, J, in Manchester shortly and more plums and other HG produce will make their way up the M6.  That's one of the nicest things about a glut of fruit and vegetables, being able to share; and the little jewel that is our Opal is a great contributor.


Debbie/GardenofPossibilities said...

Happy Belated Birthday! Those plums look yummy, I'm amazed at how prolific your tree is.

Susan said...

A little too prolific, one of the young branches has snapped with the weight, so some pruning required. The fruit however was delicious; I say was, as believe it or not, it's all been eaten or turned into jam - all 25 pounds of it!

Thank you for the birthday wishes.