Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Double flowering plum

photo by Beth Jarvis, University of Minnesota Extension, Yard and Garden Line News, 2002

The double flowering plum blooming gloriously in our backyard doesn’t belong here. A native of Central China, it grows well up to zone 4, and so bloomed profusely at my childhood home in White Bear Lake. The first summer we lived in Pelican Rapids, 4 year old Amber bought me this double flowering plum for Mother’s Day.

The bush grows enthusiastically and we’ve pruned it back many times in the last 30 years. But most years, because we live in a zone 3 gardening area, it only flowers on the bottom branches, those protected from the bitter cold by snow drifts. This last winter was so mild that my double flowering plum is a 10 foot diameter mound covered with pink, tissue thin, double flowers. The deep red buds unfurl to pale pink cups of petals like tiny old fashioned roses, perhaps the reason the bush is also called the Rose Tree of China.
The bees are at work around the bush harvesting pollen and nectar.

Every trip through the yard takes me past the plum and every sight of the blossoms is a trip back to childhood for me and the memory of the lovely double flowering plum that bloomed so profusely every year at the corner of my parent’s yard.

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