We have a lovely, but unruly, perennial garden that meanders through the middle of our backyard. Our neighbours have told us it was the residents twice removed who planted it. They must have spent a fortune. The family from whom we purchased the house did not share the same enthusiasm for gardening.
The garden had an unkempt air when we arrived. And, in the three years we have lived there, I have been trying, in fits and starts, to identify and enforce some measure of control over the plants.
The first full gardening season, I let it do its own thing. I wanted to see what came up before digging, dividing, planting and replanting. Last year, I was preoccupied with the vegetable gardening and training for our Kilimanjaro summit. This spring, we did a little bit of pruning to the wide variety of shrubs and flowering trees. This summer, I have noticed a few of my favourite plants are being crowded out my more aggressive flowers. This fall, I am determined to get it organized.
One tree I find particularly lovely, with its twined trunks and white blossoms in the spring, I could not identify. I called it a flowering birch because its bark resembles that of a young birch, until someone pointed out birches don’t have thorns. She suggested it might be a hawthorn.
This summer, I noticed fruit developing on the tree. This weekend, I saw they had grown into small yellow and red ovals that have the appearance, inside and out, of plums. A quick consult on the Internet confirmed this tree is a wild plum.
I can’t be sure why it bore fruit this year (and not the last three), but it may have something to do with pollination. Perhaps a neighbour has planted a plum tree or my young chokecherry is doing the job.
I plan to treat the plum tree with lime-sulphur and horticultural oil early next spring along with the pear and apple trees to discourage pests and apply some compost to encourage more fruit. Maybe I will harvest enough to make some plum butter.