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Glorious in the Garden Now…Chaenomeles Japonica 
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Glorious in the Garden Now…Chaenomeles Japonica 

Laura Jones

 

Also known as Japanese quince this versatile plant, not to be confused with the quince tree, grows to approximately one and a half metres, and can be grown as a hedge, a shrub or trained as a climber.  

Its tangle of thorny branches produces invaluable spring colour in the form of delicate five-petalled flowers varying from pure white to reddish/pink hues. Later in the year, small yellow, perfumed fruits adorn their branches. Although too sour to enjoy straight from the plant they’re ideal for trying your hand at quince jelly ready to enjoy on a cheese board.

When and where to plant: 

Chaenomeles Japonica is a hardy, easy to grow plant that can be positioned on any aspect and suits the centre of the bed due to its height and it’s spread of up to two metres. 

To make the most of their spring display, plant them next to winter hazel, with its buttercream yellow, hanging bell shaped flowers they’ll both brighten up the March garden. 

Quince on the tree

Their knot of spiky branches make these adaptable shrubs also very useful as a low, virtually impenetrable hedge row, whilst providing spring interest and autumn sustenance. 

Tolerance and resistance:

These hardy plants can tolerate almost all soil types, as well as both full shade and direct sunlight. But, if it’s spring colour you’re looking for place them in direct sunlight and you’ll have the best chance of being charmed by their alluring blooms.

Wildlife:

Chaenomeles Japonica are a lifeline for bees, as they wake from hibernation their open-faced, nectar rich flowers unravel into the fresh spring air. 

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Chaenomeles japonica opening in the sunshine

Not only are they rabbit and deer resistant, their maze of prickly branches provides a safe and sheltered place for small garden birds to nest and although they are not known to be toxic to dogs or cats their spikes are likely to deter them. 

Curious cuttings:

Wonderful for flower arranging, brighten up your table this Easter with a branch of delicate blooms. Or maybe you fancy trying your hand at quince jelly? You won’t regret it, besides being delicious they are packed with vitamins and minerals, and are a rich supply of antioxidants. Why not try this recipe from BBC Good Food Quince recipe?

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