Plum Summer

One of the lovely things about living in our street is the plum trees that line it. In spring they are quite simply breathtaking. Then in summer there are the plums to eat or make into jam and fruit sauce.

Henry loves the plum trees and spends a good many summer evenings dragging a step ladder around the neighbourhood, filling buckets with the juicy fruit. Sometimes he offers plums to our neighbours. Sometimes he just sits in a tree and eats them.

So imagine his distress late last winter when a letter from the council fell into our mailbox, informing us the plum trees were scheduled for the chop. They were to be replaced by low-growing magnolias, already planted and thriving in the council nursery. Henry was devastated. Every day we rounded the corner on the way home from school, expecting carnage. But nothing. And eventually, after a month of nothingness, we stopped worrying, watched the plum trees blossom and dreamed about summer plums.

In late October, at our annual street party, talk quickly turned to plum trees and the truth came out. Everyone in our street hates the plum trees and the execution notice was the result of a 2 year letter-writing campaign. There were complaints about the branches hitting power lines, the mess on the footpaths and the clouds of flies that descend. The only reason the plum trees were still standing was because of one objection, one neighbour who likes the way the blossom looks. Everyone else was livid because the complainee lives in a back section and doesn’t even have a plum tree to clean up after!

So Henry has been on a mission this summer – to save as many plums as possible and to keep the mess off the footpath. And he has, by and large, succeeded. He has even converted some neighbours and Henry is not the only one to be seen on a summer evening filling a bucket with plums.

20130103-180619.jpg This is our favourite way to eat them, Rote Grutze which is like a red fruit sauce made with plums and strawberries and rhubarb. Brilliant with ice cream although I think this could be the last summer we get the plums for free. Our neighbours are pretty persistent.


Filed under Henry, Summer

7 responses to “Plum Summer

  1. That is terrible! I wish I had plum trees but unfortunately I have very large messy trees that drop huge pods and tea like leaves that aren’t any use to anyone. Give me plums any day!

    • It seems whatever trees the council plants, there is always a mess to clean up. I like the plums too – and Henry, well he loves them. The sad thing is, only a few days before that letter arrived he had commented about how much he was looking forward to the summer plums.

  2. Perhaps they will leave just a few smaller ones? Or even some carefully planted disease free heirloom ones?

    • That would be ideal but we’ve been told it’s all or nothing. Im sure the magnolia trees will be beautiful but you can’t make jam out of them!

  3. That sauce looks amazing but the tree blossoms look truly wonderful. I can’t believe people are so self absorbed – I couldn’t imagine getting plums for nothing and making stuff and just eating them. I hope they get to stay!

    • Me too, although I’m a lone voice in this neighborhood. My daughter and her friends belong to a Facebook group called “Urban Foragers” and it maps free food all over the city. Mostly fruit. They often come home from surfing with a bag of apples or grapefruit or cherries that they’ve found somewhere.

  4. Pingback: Plums, Part 2. | Paradise Lost

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