As autumn slowly crept forward the summer months seemed as strong as the golden corn that had recently been cut. We raced to our grandmothers to relish in her sumptuous warm cakes and endless love. I was the youngest of our group, two cousins and me. Only 6 years old I understood fully the importance of how to properly adventure in my grandmothers garden. The delightful cooling landscaped pond sat bubbling away, its waterfall an endless delight for the myriad of insects and birds that visited its splendour.
The neatly trimmed flower beds, the swaying rich scent of the lavender bushes wafting their fragrance over us all added to our pleasure. Clearly defined borders marked the areas that were off limits to us. We understood fully because we had seen the sumptuous colour and life of the flowers over the previous summer. To venture into this area was sacrosanct to us as children.
The central focus of my grandmother’s garden remained a Victorian plum (Prunus domestica 'Victoria') tree growing in puzzles of twisting weaving branches just high enough, yet mature as a tree, to provide adequate room for a young boy or two. As me and my cousins ran jumping over the white ceramic hexagonal tiles that clearly indicated the footpath amongst the lush green grass we approached, what would seem the dizzying heights of the plum tree with reckless abandon.
“Look they’re ready!” cried my oldest cousin pointing to the tree, an obvious authority on the ripeness of the Victorian plum. We gazed up and saw the lush purple fruits covering the tree.
“Wow so many” I whispered. The hot sun blazoned down upon our upturned faces. Two dragonflies raced past us, their wings beating loudly as they scooted off to the coolness of the garden pond.
My middle cousin shouted “Let’s tell the adults!” and off he ran. Presumably gong to fetch our parents and grandmother. Shortly after they arrived at the plum tree carrying empty pots and baskets, we eagerly jumped for joy running around the tree swooning over the Marguerite Daisies with our arms as wings; the bees looked shocked but carried on regardless with their busy hectic work schedule.
Once we had all gathered around the fruit-laden tree I began to climb the outstretched branches. My light weight and agility made reaching the top branches extremely easy. My parents seemed concerned but I was an adventurer, even my cousins cheered as I continued to climb.
“Be careful John watch your step” the kind protective words flew up from the ground 7 feet below. My father was always the continual guardian.
“Hold on tight” my mother echoed.
My middle cousin joined me; my older cousin too old to climb seemed more interested in studying the wasps that had gathered on the fallen fruit below. I recall many years later he told me the wasp was in fact a natural pest control eating many other forms of insects. He always was a font of knowledge.
As I climbed I noticed the sticky sap from the tree had captured a careless fly it looked frozen in the golden solid sap. But I had no time to delay; I began to pick the fruits gently passing them to my grandmother below. I knew in time she would turn the delightful plums into the most delicious plum pies and jams, handpicked by her loving grandson.