Friday, June 30, 2017

Plum Crazy!!

Plum Crazy! That's what the husband called me when I lopped several branches off a couple of plum trees that were blocking the sunlight from a bed of cold weather blooms last January.

These trees were growing plumb (forgive me, I can't resist) in the middle of a bed of gerberas and nasturtiums, a vivid visual cocktail that was still in the getting-ready-to-hit-you stage. No flower lover could blame me, surely, for wanting to give them their due?? And after all, there were three other plum trees growing in a line nearby with branches reaching up high enough to threaten to bring down all our electric wiring.

As for the fruit, well, here's when things begin to get sour. The plum trees are quite lovely to see. Hands up all those who remember 'Lemon Tree' playing on the radio when you were young. You get it?
When we'd just moved to Assam and to this garden, I'd spent many happy hours photographing the trees with new foliage, then later on with blooms and finally, laden with jewels of fruit.

 The blossoms, above, against the blue cold weather sky


 Harvest! Plum heart with peach border
There were enough fruit to set me off on a frenzy of jelly making. We couldn't eat them just as they were. Our local expert made us a bottle of pickle with a new and unusual flavour, and a bottle of syrup as well. The jelly was much more tart than we'd expected it to be in spite of the amounts of sugar and the number of sweet Assam lemons we'd used up in it.
Whenever I'd made plum jelly in Moraghat in the Dooars, the fruit flavour would begin to 'awaken' after about a month or so and it kept getting better and better over time.  So I took some bottles to family in Delhi - only to find they'd left them in their fridges, months later, almost untouched. The jelly just seemed to be getting more and more sour over time, they said.

My husband didn't exactly say  I was unleashing my anger on the trees when I axed them, but the words seemed to hang in the air alright.

I reminded him of our Moraghat plum tree and how, after one of the April storms that we call 'Kaal Baisakhi' had attacked it we got fruits that were large and juicy. He went away mumbling about forces of nature and madness being two different things.

July is almost here, and the fruit's coming in now. The trees that were left untouched yield plenty of plums everyday- small, hard and sour, but I'm not buying sacks of sugar again! The trees that I, shall I say, treated, have fewer fruit: naturally, because they have fewer branches. But quantity is just not the same as quality.

See the picture!! Guess which ones came off which trees!
Joy in the Morning!