Plant Profile #1: Stanley

Standing firm in the far southern section of the West College site, almost marking the eastern edge of the forest garden, is a six-foot high Prunus domestica, cultivar “Stanley.” Stanley was the first tree ever planted on the WestCo site, long ago in the early spring of 2012, and ze has been faring wonderfully since then.

Our buddy Stanley.

Actually a prune-plum cultivar, which gives it a comfortably long shelf-life when compared with regular plums, the Stanley plum has been described as “without a doubt, the most popular of all prune-plums” (“Prunus ‘Stanley,'” Sooner Plant Farm). Stanley is a late-blooming variety of plum: soft white flowers adorn the tree in late spring, followed by fine blue-violet fruits with yellow and orange flesh in late summer to early fall. The variety is self-fertile, but generally produces better with another variety around; therefore (and because most of us like plums a lot) there are actually two Stanley’s on site — the second just northwest of the first, nearer the northern edge of the Forest Garden.

Stanley is a delicious fruit for both fresh eating, drying, and canning. The tree’s bark can also be used for medicinal purposes, and dyes can be made from both its leaves (green) and roots (red) — although we hope it will be a long time before the time comes to use the latter.

In about two to three years, we’ll be getting our first yield of these delicious fruits, and we hope it will keep producing for many years after!

What fruit do you wait for each year, and/or when was the last time you practiced delayed gratification?

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