I've always wanted a quince tree, but my sensible head tells me one will never fit in our garden. However, reading Mark Diacono's book got me all a-wanting again and also struck a memory chord of seeing a flowering quince (aka Chaenomeles) ornamental hedge complete with similar fruit on my commuter walks into Chippenham. A little investigating at Malvern Autumn Show confirmed my memory was right. Not only that, but also the fruit are edible like their true quince cousins and can be used in the same way, as long as you grow enough of them.
That decided the next allotment project for me to get under way after the Future Fuchsias hedge I told you about last week. My plot will have not one, but two hedges and the second will comprise flowering quince. But which cultivar to buy? Asking Mark what he grows, a bit of googling plus leaving questions on both UK Veg Gardeners and Gardenersclick revealed a wealth of possibilities.
Luckily for me a half price plant offer last month then had me looking around my local garden centre for a suitable apricot to grow in a pot (another of my projects following in the trail of Mark's book) but with none to be found. However, there was an extensive range of Chaenomeles on display, all complete with glowing fruit owing to the time of year and something I hadn't been able to compare online. Most of them were a melting golden colour, but my heart was taken by the pleasing shape and red tinged fruit of the pictured 'Crimson and Gold' (which turns out to be a cultivar of Chaenomeles x superba). I've always like the deep red flowers and yellow anthers of this plant, so I'll be getting good spring colour too.
The plant I bought is a bit like a smaller version of the upright whip you get when buying fruit trees such as apple and pears. I was careful to choose one with plenty of tiny side shoots so I'm in the best position to start training it into the hedge I want next spring.