My grandma had a plum tree that produced 7 different kinds of plums. My grandma's passion was gardening, specifically organic gardening, and she had 2 acres of the most amazing garden and orchard I've ever seen. But by far my favorite thing in the whole place was her 7 plum tree. Grandma would graft new varieties of plums onto branches of the old plum tree. Every spring when the sap was running through the cambium layer of the tree's bark, grandma would saw off a branch of the old tree. Then she'd carefully cut a notch in the flat surface remaining and insert a small branch from a new variety of plum into the notch. She'd be very careful to make sure that the tiny areas between the bark and the wood on each branch were touching. When the placement was perfect, she'd cover the whole area with tar and wrap rags around the new graft. If all went well, in a few weeks the new branch would start sprouting leaves, and the next year the plum tree would have one more kind of plum fruiting from it.

Grandma's plum tree bore fruit for most of the summer. There were tender yellowish green plums, tart prunes, tiny round red plums. There were plums so juicy that you could only eat them bent over so you didn't dribble down your shirt. One thing was for sure though. There would always be plums on grandma's plum tree.

Grandma's plum tree was really ugly. Most of the main branches had been cut off to make more grafting areas. These stumps were usually covered with a hodge podge of sprouts, failed grafts, and old tattered tar soaked rags. The leaves on grandma's plum tree didn't match. Part of the tree would have purplish curled leaves, and part would have big green flat leaves. Because grandma was an organic gardener, and didn't use pesticides, many of the leaves on grandma's tree would be gnawed and holey. To keep the birds away from the plums, grandma hung old aluminum pie tins from the branches. To keep down the population of yellowjackets and wasps that swarmed around the tree eating the fallen fruit, grandma hung 2 liter pop bottles with sugar water from the branches. The tree bore so much fruit some years that some of the branches were supported by long boards placed underneath them like pillars. It was a really ugly tree. But to a 10 year old girl on a hot summer day, grandma's plum tree was just right. (Actually it's still pretty just right).

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