I've been at our new house on 2.5 acres since May and have encountered a string of disappointments with respect to the fruit trees already on the property, not the least of which was discovering that the bulk of the orchard is on top of the septic drain field.
Well today was some good news. Of the trees not on the drainfield is only one plum tree, a big one, and this year it appeared to have almost no flowers or fruit. But several weeks ago I discovered a couple of small green fruit developing.
Today I harvested 3 of them and the best I can tell they are the classic Green Gage. I'm thrilled!
I meant to take pictures but got too excited and ate them, cutting each into three pieces to share with my wife and mother-in-law.
But they were small, maybe 1 to 1.5 inches in diameter, green covered in a dull bloom. The inside was meaty green/yellow, very sweet, small nearly free stone pit and delicious. Not the sour bag of water that are my impression of the popular Japanese plums.
Sounds like Prunus insititia, which is the species of St. Julian plum rootstock. I've let some bear fruit and they are quite decent. I also have some white Bullaces which are varieties of the species selected for fruit. The plums are small but rich flavored.
My guess is your tree was originally the rootstock for a plum that died, letting the rootstock grow up.
Interesting. Before I tasted the fruit I considered that it could be a rootstock. But the fruit seemed too good for me to think that was the case. I didn't realize that St. Julien might produce a decent fruit.
I really should take some pictures in case my description was inaccurate. There is at least one fruit left on the tree. I've been waiting for the fruit to ripen before pruning out the center of the tree to open it up. I was hoping it would ripen a week ago so I could prune it in the hot dry weather. I didn't want to prune it before the fruit ripened in case there are some more plums on there that I hadn't noticed.
I'm curious Lon, what in my description leads you to suspect it may be Prunus institia as opposed to a gage?
But they were small, maybe 1 to 1.5 inches in diameter, green covered in a dull bloom. The inside was meaty green/yellow, very sweet, small nearly free stone pit and delicious. Not the sour bag of water that are my impression of the popular Japanese plums.[/quote:1yda2rvn]
I've grown P. insititia as well as several greengages and your description fits P. insititia very well. The White Bullace P. insititia is prized in the UK for preserves because of it's rich flavor and firmness. Hangs well, too - I can often find sound fruit still on the tree in late Oct. It's overlooked in the US because of the small size of the fruit.
Yeah jafarj, take some pictures...We used to have a plum tree years ago. Nothing like fresh plums!!!
Here's a photo of fruit from a St. Julien tree. The other shot showing two plums is White Bullace. The cut plums are St. Julien.
Thanks for the information Lon.
I'll have to dredge up how to host pictures since the site I used to use quit and I haven't done it in a while.
I took some of the remaining fruit and the tree. The fruit that is left is yellower than the others which were green. That's strange because the reason I didn't pick the yellow one was because it was still firmer than the others. Maybe its because of different sun exposure.
That one actually looks quite a bit like the White Bullace in the photo. But these plums had a lot of sugar in them even when still pretty firm and green on the outside. Also, I seem to recall the pit being a bit smaller in proportion to the plum but I'm not certain.
The tree is 20' tall or so judging from its height next to my 14' orchard ladder.
this one is much yellower than the others which were almost entirely green
Tree behind 14' orchard ladder.
If it wasn't rainy I would cut the main trunk at the height of the 5th lowest step on the orchard ladder to open up the tree and make it shorter. That would probably lose 50% of the foliage. If I get some nice European plum scions this spring I will graft some more cultivars on here. As far as I know this is the only plum tree within at least hundreds of feet.
I didn't realize that prunus institia was the same as Damson plum. I have some growing in my yard. I took a 4 inch cutting about 12 years ago and planted it. Now it is fruiting. I forgot about it for 8 years or so. It is on its own roots. I've eaten them before and I think they're good but not great. They are supposed to be spectacular when you cook them. Also apparently according to some English people (Orange pippin , maybe?) they fruit even in shade in England, so I think they'd fruit here in shade. Since they are European plums, they're good for drying, canning, etc. They grow slowly, but I think that gardening is teaching me the virtue of patience, something I need. I didn't realize that there were colors of Damson plum other than purple. Also it appears from the google web that some Damsons are spherical rather than oblong. You learn something new every day.
Jafarj's photo looks like a green gage plum. From the appearance of the tree I'd suspect it had been gown from a seed, a fairly common way of growing Green Gage types in the past, especially in parts of Europe. Grafting a second European type might improve pollination and set. Though as a seedling it's quality is luck of the draw.
Cool, Jafar, very cool. I don't know enough to comment, but I have planted three Damson plums and although they are too little to fruit yet, I am excited about making jam someday.
“Tree behind 14' orchard ladder” -- And I’ve some serious ladder envy …mine’s only eight feet
Viron, you're welcome to come use it I have a 8' also.
kartini, congrats on the damsons. I'd love to try the fruit or the jam. Sounds delicious. Let me know if you ever have enough growth to donate a few scions in February to be grafted to my tree.
I will surely let you know....but I am older than you, so must be reminded...
It took me forever to finally get the pictures up. This is that last fruit that was yellower than the others and had split a bit in the rain.
Cut open, it was delicious:
Next to a plastic spoon for size reference:
See the bloom?:
[quote="jafarj":qlhfr0ba]kartini, congrats on the damsons. I'd love to try the fruit or the jam. Sounds delicious. Let me know if you ever have enough growth to donate a few scions in February to be grafted to my tree.[/quote:qlhfr0ba]
plum jam with bread is nice!!
Green Gage look alike for sure!
Hey, look here. The thread in which the esteemed, late, Lon Rombough replied to my posts about my gage tree. And here it is, 11 years later, revived from the archived board.