Friday, March 9, 2012

Flowering Quince & TGIF!

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Flowering Quince is blooming all over town, so I had to stop and get some photos...It's another "old fashioned" shrub (like my mystery Spice Bush), and my grandmothers both had them ~ they called them "Japonicas", though.  Like a lot of shrubs that have fallen out of favor with modern landscapers, the form of the shrub itself isn't very pretty...but those coral-y flowers are a sure sign of spring!
 
I found this on Arkansas Garden and Home (University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture) about them; I thought it was interesting ~
 
The nation’s farm population peaked in the 1890s and has been declining ever since. In the spring, it's easy to spot these old homesteads because a few of the plants that adorned their dooryard gardens still remain. One of the most lasting is a shrub they called Japonica.
More sophisticated gardeners know this plant as Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles speciosa), but old timers still call it Japonica. It's a round-topped, deciduous shrub growing 6 feet tall and 10 feet across. These old plants become a tangle of branches, but they persist for years without benefit of pruning. Flowering quince produces stout thorns and, at one time, it was common to see hedges made from it.
In late winter, usually well before it's safe to do so, it begins opening a few blossoms to test the weather. Full bloom is in early March, about the time forsythia flowers. These abandoned shrubs almost always have single, pinkish-orange blossoms that are about the size of a quarter. Newer forms are often double flowered with blooms in shades of pink, red or white.
Flowering quince, provided the flowers are not killed by a late freeze, will produce a hard, ugly, pear-like fruit. These tart fruit can be used in jelly making, but are usually produced erratically and in small numbers so few jelly makers ever get good at perfecting their art.
Quince foliage emerges maroon-green in the spring just as the flowers are fading. A pair of prominent leaf-like stipules flare out from the base of the petiole. Quince foliage, though is often short lived. Leaf diseases cause defoliation, and oftentimes the shrubs retain only a few leaves at the ends of branches by August. But, even though early defoliation happens most years, the shrub is incredibly tough and persists without any particular problem.
Name changes have plagued this plant from the beginning when it was first described by Carl Thunberg in his 1784 Flora Japonica. Because of the many stamens and the showy blossoms, Thunberg first classified the plant as a kind of pear.
In 1796, a closely related Chinese species was introduced to England and thought to be the same as Thunberg’s Japanese plant. By the 1830s, this Chinese "Japonica" had become common in gardens throughout England and had been imported to the United States. The true Japanese "Japonica" was not introduced to England until 1869. Since then the two species have been hybridized to create the more than 150 cultivars known to exist.
Why Japonica should become so popular across rural parts of the United States requires a bit of speculation on my part. These hardscrabble farmers were, by necessity, very frugal; but the lady of the house still had an eye for adornment. A shrub that was beautiful, as well as held the promise of producing jelly for the table, would be easy to justify. Also, because it produced a thicket of branches from the ground, it became a popular pass-along plant.
 
Hope everyone has a wonderful Spring-like weekend!
(And "Spring forward"!)
 
♥ ♥ ♥
Anne

36 comments:

  1. Beautiful images! Bright, bold and gorgeous- xo Diana

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  2. Beautiful flowers! So colorful & vibrant.

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  3. Things are just beginning to burst open here. Not many blossoms are that color though. Gorgeous!

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  4. For a bush that is described as producing ugly pears, it sure does bloom beautifully! Hope your weekend is wonderful. Tammy

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  5. Hi Anne,
    Thanks for stopping by my blog and becoming a follower. It's so nice to meet you. I love the name of your blog and I've been looking around at all the loveliness that you share.
    I'm following you too. I'll be back to see you often.

    hugs
    Sissie

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  6. Absolutely beautiful!!
    Here in Pa., we will not be seeing any type of flowers for a while...

    Hugs,
    Debbie

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  7. Beautiful, bold images! Spring is just around the corner; my favourite time of year. Can't wait to see everything start to bloom.

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  8. So lovely! I hope our spring starts soon!
    xo Catherine

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  9. Where are you that your quince is already blooming? I love the sight of mine, but it's only got buds -- so far. :D

    I found your blog via a comment you left on Persolaise's perfume blog, and I'm glad I did!

    xoxo

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  10. You do take the nicest photos. As I am a gardener this article was very interesting to me. I don't think we get that bush, but maybe one of the hybids. For teltale signs of where a house was here, it is usually a Rhubarb patch or horseradish.
    Thanks for sharing, have a great weekend

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  11. I'm trunin' an ugly pea green over your beautiful bloomers there.

    I'm nestled down in a frost holler that'll get killin' frost 'till mid~May....Booger~bite.

    Hey sweetie, I just wanted to thank you for visitin' with your sweet comment and hoppin' on my blog. I sure hope ya enjoy the ride.

    God bless and in the words of that wacky old Granny Clampett, "ya'll come back now, ya hear!!!

    Have a wonderful weekend sweetie!!! :o)

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  12. Your photos are gorgeous! They make me anxious for spring...not too much longer now. We've had beautiful spring weather the last few days, but that will be changing by Monday.

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  13. Just gorgeous!!! I am now following you too :o) Have a great weekend!!!
    ~Des

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  14. Hi, Anne,
    I adore flowering quince. It is one of the first things to bloom here in Central Texas. When everything else is dormant, the quince brightens up our landscapes. Thank you for sharing these pretty pics of the quince in your area. Also, thank you for coming by to visit me at Bunny Cottage. I love to meet new friends. I am following along with you, too, now. Blessings always~ Vicki

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  15. These are beautiful photos here, so nice to meet you through another blog friend I'm now following you so we can keep in touch have really enjoyed looking over your blog posts. I hope you have a great weekend.

    Always Wendy

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  16. Love your beautiful blog...I'm a new follower too! Thanks for your visit!
    Coralie

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  17. Thank you so much for stopping by at my blog ! I am now following your blog also ! Your photos are wonderful , I love to garden , but where I live we dont have much of a growing season :(
    And I love kitties also , I have two lazy overweight one's !
    Your art work is amazing ! Have a fabulous weekend !!
    Eunice

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  18. beautiful flowers, but i kinda sorta stalled when the header came up. i kid you not, i sat and stared at that photo for at least a minute, absorbing the details. gorgeous cat and love that photo.

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  19. Hello and thank you for stopping over to visit me. The flowers are beautiful and so are your cats, so fluffy.

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  20. A very enjoyable informative post and a beautiful plant.

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  21. can't believe it's that time already. i've noticed some blooms too. beautiful pics. good thing i popped over. completely forgot about changing our clocks;)

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  22. I can't wait to see flowers blooming around here in Pa. I checked yesterday and they are poking up thur the ground love seeing the colors!
    Thanks for taking the time to stop by with your sweet comment, I'm now following you on Linky Follower and GFC!

    Rondell

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  23. I can't wait to see flowers blooming around here in Pa. I checked yesterday and they are poking up thur the ground love seeing the colors!
    Thanks for taking the time to stop by with your sweet comment, I'm now following you on Linky Follower and GFC!

    Rondell

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  24. Anne, hermosas flores!, gracoas por tu visita y por seguirme.

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  25. Hi! I just discovered your blog! So cute! I'm now following. I just started my own blog a few weeks ago. It seems as though you're an animal lover and I post on animals here and there too! I'd love for you to take a look at it and follow back if you like it!

    xx
    Kecia


    http://www.couturezooblog.com/

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  26. Oh I would be so tempted to cut a few branches and hang my easter eggs off of them. :)

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  27. Thank you for stopping by for a visit so I could find your lovely blog. I too love flowering quince. We have one on our business property...well the old house actually. Hubby cut it back last Fall...errr! I wanted to force the branches ...oh well next year! Ours is not as vibrant as the one you show. I love that color.
    You are right it is not a popular plant...too bad!
    x
    Carole

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  28. I love Quince!!! There is a bush down the street. Do you think they would mind if I snipped a branch??? Thanks for coming by my blog :)

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  29. OH MY!!! Your Bloggy is Stunning! Such beautiful photography and so many interesting sidebar places to explore.

    Thank-you so much for the visit to CITexas Gal, so I could return the favor. We have a great deal in common...Pink Saturday, Photography, Vintage Intersts and more. I have the January Angel like your October one. I'm following you now, and adding you to my Blog List. I don't want to miss a single post....Sue

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  30. I have a wonderful Japonica at my front gate and it produces masses of fruit every year, a friend makes jelly out of it for me. It is the prettiest thing in bloom but I won't see it again now until September!!!!

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  31. Hi Anne ~ Thanks so much for finding me & following along, I love to meet other bloggers... I love your photos, those flowers are incredible~ I have looked around a bit & just love your blog, Love the name ~ I have a Kitty too, Elliot Alex the Lion, named by my oldest Grand Memphys, she is 8... I also have an October Birthday, the 16th but 3 years earlier & my 1st born is Mandy (Amanda) I think I am really going to love your blog & visit often ~ Have a Beautiful & Blessed week!
    Cheryl

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  32. Love your blog. Thanks for stopping by and leaving such a nice comment!
    Gorgeous flowers. I can't believe that spring is right around the corner.
    Teresa
    xoxo

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  33. great post!
    it was really interesting to read :)
    xxx

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  34. Beautiful photos. I don't think I've ever seen one in person, but I would plant one just for the flowers in the spring! Gorgeous.

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  35. I'll have to look for Quince this year because I'm not sure if I've seen it before. The color of the blossom is amazing!

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