I can hear my plum tree from 20 metres away and I can smell it even further away. The bees and butterflies can smell it as well and it is the sound of the bees foraging in the plum blossom that I can hear. It only lasts a few days but I love to go and stand under the tree at this time of year and listen to the bees.
The perfume fills the garden too; a bitter almond mixed with honey. The special perfume of a special tree that is the first to flower in our neighbourhood. It shares its beauty with everyone who passes by just as it shares its nectar with a variety of bees and butterflies.
In a few days the flowers will be over, leaving a thick carpet of petals under the tree as the leaves themselves unfold. Next comes the coy season when the leaves are fresh and green and the attention is displaced towards the other trees and plants flowering in the garden. Then one day, despite late frosts, I will see a tiny green plum, then another and another. The old plum tree never disappoints. Its plums are not the biggest but they are the first fruit in our garden and delicious eaten straight from the tree. The plums are small but what the tree loses by the size of its fruits it gives in the quantity that it produces. More than enough fruit to eat, to make into jam, to preserve and to share.
Even once we have harvested its fruit the tree is indispensable in the summer as it performs the function of an enormous parasol sheltering us from the sun. What more could you ask from one tree?
If you would like to listen to my bees and also the first cuckoo I have heard this year, click on the link below.