Thursday, May 22, 2008

Damson Trees Come to Michigan

While we were visiting friends in Shropshire about a month ago, I met the damson. A lovely little fruit tree that produces lovely little plums that produce lovely jams and some most amazing gin, the damson is a new favorite. Our friends father had a small orchard with a few trees that he had just pruned. The jam was utterly delightful - similar to plum jam but with the seeds still present - and the gin was incredibly tasty. (I confess that I initially tried it to be polite as I usually find homemade liquor to be not so tasty, and I don't like gin.)

I came home and searched for damson trees to plant in our own yard. We'll have to wait about five years for fruit, but that's alright by me. It will be well worth the wait. The trees were a little difficult to find. No nursery near here carried them as far as I could tell, and I ended up ordering them from the Arbor Day Foundation.

The damson is a self-pollinator, although I purchased two just in case the deer decided they had to try one. The trees are hardy for Michigan, and if allowed to carry on will grow to be a maximum of 20 feet tall. They need little pruning, as I understand it, and they should give me an ample supply of damsons to make into jam, gin, and to simply enjoy.

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