Appalachia Granny

Granny’s Plum Tree

plum tree with white blooms

Many years ago Granny planted a plum tree from seed right next to one of her and Pap’s little garden patches. It’s been the bane of our existence ever since it got to be a good size tree.

Pap tried to get Granny to cut it more than once but she wouldn’t even consider the idea 🙂

I remember one year he cut a big limb off the side of it and didn’t tell Granny. A few days later she told me she wished The Deer Hunter hadn’t cut the limb while he was trimming around the garden. I said “He didn’t Pap did!” She said “Well I’m going to get onto him about cutting my tree,” but of course it was too late by that point.

Even though it hangs over the beans every year and gets in our way as we till, plant, trellis, and harvest we leave it because it brings Granny such joy. Each spring she tells me to go make a picture of her plum tree because it’s the prettiest it’s ever been. On a really good year the tree produces about five to ten plums 🙂 Granny cherishes every last one of them.

Last night’s video: Dorie Woman of the Mountains 11.

Tipper

Subscribe for FREE and get a daily dose of Appalachia in your inbox

You Might Also Like

22 Comments

  • Reply
    Gigi
    April 16, 2022 at 8:48 pm

    O how we love plums. Their so good . Might have to try what Granny did.

  • Reply
    Dennis M Morgan
    April 11, 2022 at 6:04 pm

    That is a wonderful story about the plum tree. I am sure it brings happiness to all of you. Dennis Morgan

  • Reply
    Cynthia
    April 11, 2022 at 4:00 pm

    We had a plum tree when I was growing up, and I think it only produced one plum, and eventually Daddy cut it down. Granny’s tree is beautiful and I can see why she wants to keep it.

  • Reply
    Kathy Patterson
    April 10, 2022 at 1:04 am

    Hi Tipper,
    My immediate family had the Cherry tree. It was in the yard beside of the road. We never harvested cherries from it but we picked up and consumed fruit from the ground. :Our local fox, Foxy Locksy, would come and eat cherries. Yes, we would be really quiet in the house so we could watch her. The tree should have been cut down because one of the bottom limbs had died and the tree was starting to rot from the inside out. None of us had the heart to cut the tree. A windstorm came along and a one side to the tree fell. Daddy cut up the fallen pieces. Time went on the tree slowly died until it was a snag about 6 feet tall. We planted a clematis on it and “mountain laurel” around it. When she died mommy and I cried. Yes, it is possible to fall in love with a tree.

  • Reply
    Regina
    April 9, 2022 at 4:35 pm

    Tipper, I’d love it if you could get some video of Granny talking about what that plum tree means to her as well as other memories she has of other plants and things in God’s creation. Our elders have such a vast knowledge and appreciation for plants and things. If we knew all there is to know about plants, herbs, and the like we’d be a lot healthier and better off in more ways than one. Modern medicine has came along way, but most medicines have so many bad side effects and are really expensive. I hope you’re enjoying your day here in Kentucky. It was snowing when we were out earlier. 🙂

  • Reply
    JC
    April 9, 2022 at 1:47 pm

    We mountain folk can be sentimental in our ways. Bless dear Granny!

  • Reply
    Melissa P. (Misplaced Southerner)
    April 9, 2022 at 1:14 pm

    I think Granny needs another plum tree! When we were in Georgia we had one lovely plum tree that flowered and maybe gave us 3 or 4 plums (they were red plums and delicious). We went out and got her a friend (different variety of red). They liked each other so well they both produced bumper loads of fruit. Every year I got to make plum jam. It was sweet and tart at the same time. How I miss those trees. I wonder if the folks who bought our house appreciate them and didn’t cut them down like they did our black gum, azaleas, Japanese cherry, and camellias.

    • Reply
      Kim Smith
      April 9, 2022 at 8:28 pm

      Melissa is right about why Granny’s plum tree is not producing. They have to be pollinated with another plum tree’s pollen. I learned that the hard way. I think it would sure be nice if somebody planted another plum near Granny’s seeded plum.

  • Reply
    Cheryl Miller Brown
    April 9, 2022 at 12:56 pm

    I remember my now deceased husband telling me a story about his grandmother’s plum tree. His Granny had lived with my husband’s family for many years & had planted a plum tree in front of a window on the second floor. His granny was very protective of the tree since my husband & his siblings would “steal” the green plums from the tree. She would flog the grandchildren when she saw them picking her green plums, and even went as far as to put her rocker under the tree and sit there half a day to guard it. Being the little determined bulldog my husband was, he had the idea to get the maid, who babysat the kids, to hold his ankles while he leaned out the 2nd story window to pick green plums from the top of the tree. When his granny caught him doing this, she got so mad that she had the tree cut down. My husband loved green plums until the day he died, and told me his Granny was always mean as a yard dog. It is no wonder that this little determined bulldog became a great criminal lawyer like his dad. The only thing I would lean out of a 2 story window being held by my ankles would be for good quality chocolate

  • Reply
    dee
    April 9, 2022 at 11:07 am

    I can understand Granny’s love of the Plum tree! My Daddy planted a plum tree out by his pond and I’m not sure that it ever bore a lot of fruit but for some reason he and Mother loved it. It blooms early but it seems like they called it an Indian Plum and I think it was brought from the old home place. My Mother planted a row of peach trees from seed and they all grew but early cold snaps would kill them every year.
    Listening to your Dorie woman of the mountains brought back some memories too. I was told my Great-grandfather was a member of the Primitive Baptist or Hardshell Baptist and they did the feetwashing.

  • Reply
    PinnacleCreek===
    April 9, 2022 at 10:21 am

    I love this sweet story about Granny’s plum tree. It reminds me of my Mom and a Rhododendron that had become a problem, too big, too close to house and possibly becoming refuge for birds and place for snakes to hide. It was beautiful for a short time, and seeming to be worth saving. This Rhododendron was only cut down when my mom was no longer aware. We can give no greater gift to our parents than to let them enjoy what they love.

  • Reply
    wanda devers
    April 9, 2022 at 9:29 am

    My husband’s aunt had an apple tree from her mother’s tree. It was pretty scrawny, almost like a bush, but was full of apples every year. They weren’t lovely but canned up good. Our aunt is gone now and her home sold several years ago. The old apple tree is still flourishing! Wish I could get a start from it.

  • Reply
    Angelyn McLain
    April 9, 2022 at 9:05 am

    I love plums! We just planted another one because we lost one last winter. They have been hard to grow here and a strange glue like pest gets on them. It truly looks like clear glue coming out. The same thing gets our peach trees too. I did manage to can a few peaches last year but no plums. We have apples, peaches, plums and pears.
    I remember when I was a kid we always snacked on the fruit when we were playing outside. I especially loved the figs!
    It’s a pretty special thing to put a stone from fruit in the ground and watch it grow. We are so used to getting trees when they already look like a tree. I used to have a neighbor when we lived in Alabama and she did that with a peach when she was a young wife. It is still there and she is 96.

  • Reply
    Shirl
    April 9, 2022 at 9:01 am

    We don’t have good luck with plum trees producing much fruit here in Kentucky. They are one of the earliest bloomers and get hit with one of those ‘little winter’ freezes every year. When my area is expecting cold weather, I can be found standing on the bed of a truck as I throw a bedsheet over the trees hoping to save a few blooms. I understand why Granny protects her tree, the tree that bears the best fruit in the world.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    April 9, 2022 at 8:58 am

    I agree with AW. That plum bush is there to stay. It will never get so aggravating as to overcome its other values.

    Well, when one plants things some of them will prove to be in a troublesome place. Hard to plan and plant for their mature size when they are just little fellers. Even the nursery trade generally doesn’t help one decide about how things should be spaced. In planting garden seed you can plan for thinning but planting ones and twos doesn’t fit that idea.

    We get meaning attached to plants, especially those we grew from seed. It is hard to lose them for whatever reason. I planted a red bud at the church about 15 years ago. I planted it because it blooms around Easter and because another name for it is Judas tree. Next to it I planted a dogwood because of the Legend of the Dogwood. The redbud is blooming now. But it is in bad shape. The whole trunk got sun scald on its south side and now is rotten there. The ants have tunneled in the rot which has brought the woodpeckers. I expect someday a kid will swing on it and the whole tree will break. I try to keep my feelings out of it but I have not succeeded yet.

  • Reply
    Margie G
    April 9, 2022 at 7:45 am

    I like the idea of “Granny’s Plum Tree!” She really gets a thrill out of her little plum tree- it’s pretty, bright blooms, it’s shade leaves and of course her few delicious, juicy plums she harvests each year. I think I know how she feels myself. I found a little grape plant between a porch and wall so I rescued it. Last year it bore me several tiny bunches of Concord grapes exactly like I used to eat on as a child. To me, it was the single thing I enjoyed the most last year. I guess you could say I love that little grape vine! Lol. I have known of fellers to cut things down or kill sick things and somehow a feller who had no hand in such deeds gets the brunt of blame….it’s the oldest card in the book in my opinion and overplayed. Lol Pap knew he’d get in serious trouble if he told Granny he cut her precious limb…he’d have heard about it from then on he reckoned. Lol

  • Reply
    AWGRIFF
    April 9, 2022 at 7:39 am

    Sounds like Granny’s tree will be there for the life of the tree because when she passes on you won’t have the heart to cut it.

    That made me think of a wild plum dad transplanted to his place. Most years it produced an abundant crop of red plums that were smaller than a golf ball but were sweet except for the skin which had a little pucker power. Granny’s plum also made me think of mom’s cherry tree that she planted too close to the house and concrete driveway, It was some type of sweet cherry that grew to a huge size. The cherries were sweet but few and far between. After many years of it being in the way, mom finally agreed for dad to cut it down. She never did allow dad to cut her chestnut tree.

  • Reply
    Tom McFarland
    April 9, 2022 at 7:30 am

    There are a number of fruit orchards near us here in South Jersey. I see them trim the trees every year. They take off the branches that don’t produce because the tree will grow larger and more fruit. Just a thought.

  • Reply
    donna sue
    April 9, 2022 at 7:09 am

    I love plums. My parents had plum, peaches, pears, apples and apricot trees when I was growing up. There is nothing like fresh fruit off a tree. They taste as wonderful as fresh, sun hot tomatoes, straight from the vine to your mouth!

    Donna. : )

  • Reply
    Glenda G. Page
    April 9, 2022 at 6:53 am

    And this is why getting up in the morning, my cup of tea and the latest from that ‘ole Blind Pig’ starts my day off right. I did enjoy last nites partial chapter, can’t wait til next Friday. God Bless and good luck in Kentucky.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    April 9, 2022 at 6:11 am

    100% right, Granny, it is a beautiful tree and it feeds you.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    April 9, 2022 at 5:51 am

    I guess we’ve all got useless things we are attached to, there just must be something about that that tree that touches Granny’s heart, maybe a memory of some kind. I wonder what it is…..

  • Leave a Reply