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GARDEN SURROUNDINGS: Cherry Plum Tree And Fig Tree

Words and pictures by Francesca Filanc, for Let’s Talk Plants! September 2023.

Cherry Plum and Fig Trees

I hope everyone had a fabulous summer. Last month while my Santa Rosa plum was producing succulent, sweet fruit in the front garden, I saw small undeveloped plums in my back garden. I thought rodents and birds were moving them from the tree out front and making a mess on the back furniture and grass. Then one day I looked up and to my surprise and glee I saw small fruits all over a tree that I always thought was a Redbud.

I posted photos on social media and Sally wrote that it was a Cherry Plum tree! Delicious fruit!

Once I knew that it was safe to eat, I bit into the fruit that wasn’t damaged. OH, WOW absolutely delicious. First, I tasted cherry and then plum. I got so excited and couldn’t believe that I have lived here for almost eight years and never knew that I had a fruit tree in my back yard. In all the years that I have lived on this property I have never seen it bloom!

One of the most common causes of plum tree problems is the lack of a co-pollinator. Plums are not self-fruitful and need another of the same species nearby for pollen transfer. This is done with bees, moths, and other pollinator's help. Pruning at the wrong time removes the buds necessary for flower and then fruit.” ~ Plum Tree Problems: What To Do When A Plum Tree Fails To Bear Fruit (

All I can think of is that my plum tree in the front garden pollinated the cherry plum in the back garden, but they are not near one another. Another thought is that maybe the cherry plum got the right amount of water and cold enough temperatures at the right time of year to produce fruit? Or maybe it has produced fruit before but somehow, I missed it? Which does not seem possible to me because I am in my garden every day.

"More chill hours this winter than we've had in five years, and or, one of your neighbors probably planted the pollinator for it. Cherry plums have very specific pollinators.” ~ My friend Hudson at (insert link to nursery here) Armstrong Garden Center in Del Mar suggested.

Whatever the case, they were absolutely delicious!

A few years ago, a fig tree grew in the vegetable garden. It came from the compost that I make with kitchen scraps and seeds. The tree has grown very large and has many figs growing. We all shared one with breakfast. It was absolutely delicious.

Happy gardening!

~ Francesca


Artist, author, photographer, fly-fisher woman, Francesca Filanc grew up in old Del Mar and these days lives, paints and gardens in historic Olivenhain with two dogs.

Find her art and writings here:

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Have gardening questions or want to learn more about Francie’s art? Contact:


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