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Agree about California plums but I think that the Victoria is over-rated. You can do anything with it, cooking, eating, preserving, plum brandy, but it has a rather bland flavour. Agree that Czar is darn near the perfect all round plum. But if you have enough room then growing that sweetest of plums, the Greengage or Goldengage and that most interesting of jamming and cooking plums, the damson (makes great liqueur too), is well worth it. Thanks for a thought provoking blog.
I so agree! Living in Kent I am infuriated when I cannot find English fruit to buy, and not just in supermarkets. I made the other half's life a misery when he came home with apples from New Zealand! And he didn't even get it. We are fools to accept foreign fruit. The Italians wouldn't.
I live in Santa Cruz, California and am English and although I miss English plums I do enjoy my Santa Rosa plums from my tree in the garden. It is a prolific fruiter but I think it really needs the hot sun and no rain! to make it taste so delicious. I make lots of plum chutney, a big family favourite. I have not tried the greengage here but am contemplating it, although I do think we should be growing fruits and vegetables that are suited to the areas in which we live for best results.
I've been meaning to plant a couple of plums or gages since my very old plum tree died a few years ago. I've been trying to decide which varieties to choose and I think I will now go with the two plums mentioned here. Thanks.
I took on an allotment plot about 7 years ago which has several greengage trees and a Ponds Seedling plum tree. The greengages are wonderful, great to eat on their own or to use for jams, pies etc. The Ponds is an excellent cropper (over 70lbs this year) of large tasty deep red skinned/yellow body fruit which make really tasty jam and anything else you want to cook. Along with some golden plums I have on another 1/2 plot(unknown variety, supposedly unique to our site), I've cropped over 200 lbs this year. Plums are easy to grow but you have to watch out for the plum moth which seems to prefer some varieties (larva in the fruit). Pheramone traps are the way to attract the moths before they lay their eggs in the developing fruit.


Thanks for your blog encoraging the growing of English plum trees. I inherited a plum tree when We moved into our home 11 years ago. Some seasons we have had lashings of delicious plums, but at other times the fruit has just shrivelled and dehydrated, or the yield has been low. So for your next blog how about explaining how to care for plum trees and say why the fruit can sometimes be so poor.
I inherited an old plum tree when I moved here 45 years ago which has since died but left several offspring. Those provide me with a year-long supply by jam-making, freezing etc. and loads to give away. Plum crumble freezes well so you can have it in the winter, spring and summer too. i think the variety is Marjorie. Late frost in Bristol would diminish the crop but never by much. I fail to understand why such good crops are not developed commercially to enhance our countries diet.
Nigel - plum trees seem to have a biennial cycle, good crop one year, not so good the next (but nobody has told my Ponds as it produces masses each year). Dehydrated or shrivelled fruit suggests a lack of water. I'm lucky, my allotment plot is at the low end of a gently sloping site on London clay and I've never needed to water the trees. One thing I recommend to increase the crop of good plums (or any other fruit like apples) is to spend time removing any fruit that appears damaged. The tree will continue to put it's energy into all it's fruit, so by removing the bad ones it only has the good ones to concentrate on. Inspect your trees several times a week during the fruiting season - quite a relaxing thing to do on summer evenings. You may think you are removing quite a lot at times but the result is worth it. The tree puts all its energy into the good fruit and not shared it with 50% which are not useable.
We have had a Victoria plum tree for about 5 years and fan trained it to no more than 7feet high--yo fence high plus seasons growth. Tes lovely flavour. We had 4 plums last year. this year it had so many that branches were in danger of breaking. Like neighbours more plums than any of us could eat,freeze or give away. So was 2009 a good plum yeild year and 2008 bad or not.
Hi enjoying the comments of plum trees.Can you feature information please on freezing plums and freezing crumble so that I can store. I would really love to hear more on freezing/storage on fruit & veg.
You can freeze plums by cutting them in half, taking the stone out and placing them on a tray to freeze, then putting them in a bag when frozen, this avoids a big frozen clump. If you need the plums for a tart rather than crumble or jam, blanch them by cooking first for a few minutes till they are barely-cooked then plunge them into icy cold water, dry off, freeze on tray then re-bag. I like to cook the crumble topping separately, wait till it's fully cold then freeze in a separate bag (again freeze on a tray if you want to be able to sprinkle it later). It is possible to freeze both together (don't forget to add sugar to the fruit in that case), but it depends on how crunchy you want the topping to be!
The plum crumble sounds delicious! I planted some plum trees 2 years ago, on Pixy rootstock so I can reach all the fruit. This year I allowed some fruit to stay on the trees, so I could taste them. If you like dessert plums, I recommend growing Oullins Golden Gage - they were delicious - a lovely honeyed flavour & straight off the tree. Can't wait till next year!
my three year old plum produced nothing this year. I live in the north east of England what can I do to get good results
I love reading about growing things in different areas and would love to have a plum tree,I live in an older persons bungalow with only a small back patio area and a small patch of garden outside my front window. The front gets the morning sun and the sun is on the back late afternoon, can I grow a plum ree in a tub?, if yes, which would you recomend, I live in the midlands. Thank you.
Me again, I so agree about home grown fruit and try to buy it if available, I have noticed that an apple called Jonogold is always available and so much less expensive than any other, where does it come from and are there any british apples about in supermarkets?


I bought an Opal plum this year, it's potted at the moment, still very young so no fruit. Hopefully next year or the year after. It's going in the ground in the spring, the other side of the garden from a Bramley Seedling on dwarfing rootstock, which only had 6 apples this year, but the heaviest was nearly 2lbs in weight!...2 crumbles!
I object to not being able to buy English fruit & veg. I try to buy at farm shops . I will certainly be adding a plum tree to my garden.
all my friends also complain about not being able to buy English fruit from supermarkets, I have purchased several small fruit tree's as I also am fed up with everything being imported from abroad.
Í have two plum trees, a Victoria and a Czar. The Victoria is by far the best cropper and I use the plums to make jam. I would welcome some views on pruning as some schools of thought suggest that no pruning is required and others suggest April or July. I also have suckers coming up from my Victoria and wonder if I should remove these.