[NAFEX] flowering quince

Donna &/or Kieran holycow at cookeville.com
Fri Apr 6 18:59:51 EDT 2007

I have admired Toyo Nishiki for years, and discovered that TTU had several quinces that I'm sure they got from Hidden Springs.  Toyo makes apple sized fruit that were very handy for making hot pepper jam and blending with pear to make pear butter.  The other 3 varieties made low arching bushes and small fruit.  If I remember correctly, the lovely cantalope colored one is called 'Cameo'.  They had a white and a red.  We got both Toyo Nishiki and Spitfire from Hidden springs about 3 years ago.  (TTU has pulled theirs out and put something else there now)  Spitfire tends to bloom earlier, this year it was lured into blooming in the hot spell in January, so that was the end of any fruit and after a few glorious days it was frosted out, as usual.  Toyo Nishiki is in bloom now, so if temps drop as low as they expect, I guess there will be no fruit.  This is a disappointment, as I don't know anywhere else to pick those lovely fragrant fruits.  
    I get the impression that there really are two species or subspecies of flowering quince.  The low ones do have a lovely arching form and you can kind of rake the small fallen fruit out from under them or carefully pick it from between the branches.  The large types will also spread sideways if allowed too, but people tend to whack them and leave the more upright stems in the middle.  I don't know why we don't see more fruit on the common red quinces in yards around town (anyone have any ideas on this?)  I don't know if the plants require cross pollination because the books never treat them as fruit bearing plants, only as flowering plants.  Maybe they are all self sterile and having the 4 varieties there together allowed lots of cross pollination, followed by frost protection provided by all the buildings and concrete around them.  Our plants were young and a good 50 ft apart, plus the Spitfire tended to bloom a bit earlier every year.  Also, we are on a fairly open hill top and the blooms always get it when freezes blow in.  So the 1-3 fruit set by each bush their first couple of years probably don't bode so well for their production under our conditions.  Do keep this in mind in siting these plants.  Also since they are thorny and spreading, be sure to give them plenty of room to let them develop their natural form.  DO NOT, as I did, put them near a place where you frequently walk.  We dug up the Sptifire this winter after it's very brief spell of glory and I forgot to save a few peices to plant in a more sheltered spot.(I have various seedlings so will have to see what I get.)   Hidden Springs quinces are on their own roots, (I'd think most of these would be anywhere else too) so you do have that option should you want to move them.  
    If you have a lot of cedars, keep in mind that they get cedar quince rust.  This does not affect the leaves, only the fruit, which is another frustration.  Ours didn't do too badly, lost some fruit to rust, others seemed fine.  Juneberries and mayhaws, by contrast, have their fruit badly infected at our place.  
    Don't think I am trying to put you off quinces.  Just keep in mind that they need cross pollination, enough room, and some protection from frost if you are in a changeable climate like Tennessee.  The latter could consist of a wall, an evergreen, or a hillside on the northwest side, or pavement nearby.     Donna    
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