Friday, September 25, 2009

'Texas Scarlet' Flowering Quince Bears Fruit and Plant Sale

Talk about pleasant and unexpected surprises-look at what I found in the garden! Can you recognize it? Surely it is easy right? Okay, maybe not so easy. The fruit pictured above is a 'Texas Scarlet' quince. I know it looks an awful lot like an apple but take my word for it, it is a quince.

I had no idea when I planted two quince (Chaenomeles speciosa 'Texas Scarlet' and Chaenomeles japonica 'Rubra') three years ago that they would actually bear fruit. Well, one of them did anyhow. The real shocker is this plant is only about two feet tall and grows in an out of the way spot that is somewhat shaded. I bet it does not receive more than two-three hours of direct sun so the fact it bore fruit is a real treat.

I liked these plants because they have such red flowers at a time in early spring when no other red blooming shrub is around. You simply cannot miss the red flowers. I never knew fruit would actually come from them-well duh me. Now I am wondering if all those huge specimens I see around town are loaded with fruit and I think I'll be checking this out soon.
I really was not sure if the fruit was ripe since I've never grown these and did not expect any fruit, but that fact did not stop me from picking the fruit and cutting it open and tasting it. I must say the fruit is very hard and a quite tart-extremely tart. I do think it would make a good jelly but quince are not good eating fruits in my opinion. I did find out later that ripe quince fruits are yellow-so I think I picked mine at the perfect time. It still amazes me I never saw it before.

I saved the seeds and may try to start some more 'Texas Scarlet' from the seeds. I hope next year my 'Rubra' will add to the mix by producing fruit too. Just this past year I added a white flowering quince to the garden as well. It is 'Jet Trail' and I believe it is a species type quince so I expect it will set fruit at some point in time as well-I hope so.

Any experiences with quince fruiting?

in the garden....

Public Service Announcement: Everyone in the local area please make time to visit the Montgomery County Master Gardeners Plant Sale tomorrow from 8 am-? at Veteran's Plaza on Madison Street. It is a sale you DO NOT want to miss-take it from me, a passionate plant collector this is a must see sale for some of the best plants for our area at low prices.

45 comments:

  1. I need some of that up here, I'm thinking of going to the automatic fuel pumping station down the street to raid the apple tree! I want some homemade jam!

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  2. Wow Tina, you are an inquiring mind, cutting open that fruit and tasting it! We have noticed one or two on our three plants but I never thought to even try them. Food for critters, but they seem untouched, maybe not ripe enough? I have grown these from ordered seeds, trying to get a light pink one but have yet to see any flowers on the babies, maybe next year. Planted outside in the fall, you will have germination come spring. You might want to check to see if the seeds need any special treatment too. Good luck! :-)
    Frances

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  3. Huh, every inch an apple, but the taste is Quince... Miracles do happen in gardens, the least expected to do well, come out as the first to bloom and bear fruit.
    Cheers,
    ~bangchik

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  4. Hi Tina, I've never seen the ornamental 'flowering quince' with fruit. You are lucky to get a decorative shrub that produces.
    Marnie

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  5. Interesting! I had no clue what a Quince even looked like! Now I see why they only thing I made from remotely heard of was quince jelly. Marvelous! What a surprise.

    I wish I could go to the plant sale!! I googled the directions, but it's an hour and a half away!! Have a great time, it looks like a lot of fun!

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  6. Dawn, Go raid those apples! Save me a jar.

    Frances, The fruit are so cool aren't they? I wonder why the critters don't eat them-because honestly they can't be worse than acorns and they eat those all the time.

    Bangchik and Kakdah, Yes! It sure looks like an apple but not. A neat thing.

    Marnie, I had no idea it would grow fruit. I am ecstatic. Check them out around your place.

    Lzyjo, What better do you have to do than hang out in the garden on a Saturday? Why not visit a good plant sale? I tell you it would be worth it to drive up here. It's not so far and is a nice drive. I drive to Nashville weekly for school and while it does take time, it is okay so I speak from experience. I will unfortunately not be able to make the sale and I am pretty unhappy about it, but I have a good friend who knows what I like and she'll be there. Plus, hubby's 20 year class reunion trumps it-that is a big deal too. Never been to one so we are looking forward to it even more than the plant sale.

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  7. Tina,

    I've had quince jelly, but didn't really think of it coming from the ornamentals that we know of as quince. I love the early spring blooms!

    Cameron

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  8. PS. Yes, thanks for leaving the comment about Charm. She's doing better as it looks as though it was a bacterial infection. Still on bland foods, but she's eating and drinking water. She'll be on meds for a few weeks.

    Tell Jimster that Charm said hello to him.

    Cameron

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  9. It kind of looks like an apple. I wonder if there is a pie or jelly you could make it into.

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  10. Hi Tina, My grandmother used to talk of Quince jelly, but I never made it. I do love the Texas Scarlet bloom color...what a bonus to have fruit. I wonder if the seeds will be true to the plant?

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  11. I am totally clueless about this fruit! The buds on the low growing plant, that's a mum. I grabbed a piece from my mother's garden after she passed and it continues to spread every year. Soon you will be sick of seeing the flowers of the mum on my blog! I have never had a correct ID of it, so far, I call it My Mom's Mum.

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  12. Interesting article, but I read the headline wrong and thought I was going to find out about flowering quince bears--like maybe some kind of bear who likes flowering quince. Sorry. I'll move it along!

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  13. We had some sort of dwarf Quince plants in a Texas house. They had reddish/pink blooms and a tiny fruit but never got bigger then grape size. I did not know they were edible so never tried them but since I dont like tart taste, I would not try them now knowing they are edible. We had a huge Quince in the backyard of my old childhood home but it never bore fruit. Sad to say it was no longer there when I stopped by the house recently. Sigh…

    What a great surprise for you and my new learned thing today!

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  14. Cameron, So glad Charm is doing well and I'll pass along to the Jimster.

    Dave, Quince jelly is a popular old fashioned food-so I've heard. It must be good too.

    Janet, I'm not sure if they cross pollinate but I bet they do. I actually just tossed the seeds-too busy to do seeds. Did the gall come back yet? I am finding the oak leaves covered with gals but not so big.

    Darla, It looks really pretty! Can't wait to see your Mom's mum bloom.

    Monica, I can see that and I think it would be much more interesting if I could do that kind of post!:)

    Skeeter, Small fruits would work well. I just steam mine and put in jelly bags and let the juice run out. I bet it would've been good. You must be brave sometimes. I can't tell you all the yucky ole things I've tasted in the garden but I'm still here:)

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  15. Hi Tina, I'm glad your quince gave you some fruit. I've heard of quince all my life & knew it was a bit tart. It does make good jelly. I've googled it & there are other things you can make. Some sounded rather good. If I had room in my garden I sure would plant a couple.
    When I was a kid our neighbor had one & it was quite large. It had lots of fruit on it. Don't remember them doing anything with the fruit. Maybe they were too old.

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  16. Tina,
    Nope, no exp. with Quince. But I am so excited you got a fruit off your shrub/tree. And if it's tart, then maybe you can mix with other fruit? I have no clue, that is obvious in this comment.
    Have a great weekend, and hope you get some good plant deals at the sale.
    Rosey

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  17. I had no idea that the flowering quinces produced fruit. I did notice some quince on plants at the nursery, but I thought they were a different type of quince grown for the fruit. It does make you wonder how many of the quince we see blooming in spring have fruit on them now. Maybe next year you'll have enough to make jelly :) It's good to know that it can produce fruit in the shade too.

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  18. I don't grow Flowering quince- yet:)- but a local bank that I visit everyday has a few planted as formal foundation shrubs(of all things- go figure) and even though they get butchered they still bear fruit every year.

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  19. Tina~
    What a nice surprise from your garden! Too bad it doesn't taste good.
    Congratulations on the many Blotanical award nominations! I am thrilled to be nominated next to you!
    Good luck! :)
    Have a great weekend!
    ~Karrita

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  20. Lola, I bet it tastes great!

    Rosey, it was most exciting for sure.

    Catherine, I'm checking all the shrubs I see in town now for fruits.

    Littlewing, Hello and welcome! I can see quince being used as foundation plants-they are easy to prune and keep smaller-plus keep out burglars due to thorns.

    Karrita, I am thrilled to be nominated with you too and consider you a winner already!

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  21. Good for you tasting that fruit! LOL Although I tasted one of my Blue Huckleberries and a bit to early I think - wasn't near as tasty as the red wild ones that grow out of my old growth stumps. I'm pretty sure my Grandmother use to make Quince Jelly - it sounds so familiar.
    The neighbor has a flowering Quince that I get to enjoy by the property line - I'll have to keep an eye on it for fruit!

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  22. I also found one on my texas quince. The plant was given to me by a friend for my birthday years ago. Last week I noticed this yellow apple looking thing growing on it. I sent a picture to the friend that gave it to me and her reply was "Why are you sending me a picture of a tennis ball in a bush" I have anoth quince that has never had anything grow on it.

    Thanks, Tabby in Tennessee

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  23. I have seen quince fruit, and knew that it was made into jellies, into which a lot of sugar is added. lol

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  24. Hi Tina- I have heard that quince makes wonderful jelly! haven't tried it myself but could be yummy!

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  25. Don't believe I've ever had quince. However, I think Michelle over at From Seed to Table might have done something with quince once. I may be mis-remembering that, though.

    Good for you giving it a try. I'm suspicious of fruit in general, so I probably would have passed. ;-)

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  26. I thought the Owl and the Pussycat "dined on mince and slices of quince"? Maybe they were in that boat so long that they didn't mind tart fruit. I'm going out to check my quince bushes!

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  27. I don't know if quince grows here in Nebraska. I hope your different ones produce after they bloom real pretty.

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  28. That's pretty amazing, Tina. I have a quince bush, too, one that was here before we moved in. But I've never seen any fruit on it; of course, there's only one plant, so that could be the reason. I always wondered what you could do with quince besides making jam:)

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  29. Hi all! I am out of town this weekend so I will be back to check in on blogging once I return by Monday. Just wanted to say a quick note and hello!

    Tabby, Welcome! Isn't it exciting on the fruit? It must've been a really good year for these fruits here and I am hoping for more 'tennis balls' next year.:)

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  30. It's like a little tiny surprise present in the garden, this fruit showing up unexpected. Even if they're no good for eating, they're fun to look at.

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  31. Never tasted the fruit...looks like local pears. We do get products on personal care with quince as one of the ingredients. Your post reminded me of this. Talk about serendipity...in the garden:) Have a good trip!

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  32. At first sight, I was thinking it was an asian pear-apple..which are delicious! I would grow a quince just for it's pretty flowers though ;)

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  33. i really don't know anything about quinces. so glad yours is producing fruit though.
    happy september.

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  34. I figured when you said it was hard it was not ripe. Hope next you get one that is ripe and good luck with the seeds.

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  35. I'm from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia - and I've had the same experience this year -- on not one but two ornamental quinces -- which is what brought me on this online search today. I'm not sure of the variety of the shrubs but they sound like yours. Both are in sunny locations but poor (acidic in our area) soil. One has only 2 or 3 fruit -- but the one in a more sheltered spot that holds the heat has 15-20! I brought one fruit in 2 weeks ago and couldn't get a knife through it at all. And another one yesterday which I haven't tried to cut yet. We had an unusually cold spring into early summer, with lots of rain, which was terrible for gardeners. But then an unusually long hot spell (2-3 weeks) in August (our climate here is more temperate) and, as usual, a wonderful, pleasant September with no night-time frost so far. (But soon...)

    Donna from Sydney, Nova Scotia

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  36. Hi Donna, You are the only other one who has also had this experience with the quince fruit. It is most neat for sure. It sounds like you have enough fruit to make some quince jelly. That is what I'd do if I had enough as I hear it is most good. Your weather sounds like ours and I am wondering if that has something to do with it? I checked the other ornamental quince in town and I have not seen one single fruit on them. Perhaps it is this variety? Please let us know how the second fruit feels when you cut it and if you do use your other fruit what you do with them all. I think you are most lucky to have so many fruit and wish you fun eating them.

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  37. If you get more fruit this year and you are up to it, you should definitely make jelly. I was the crazy lady picking the ornamental flowering quince from our neighborhood in the Netherlands. The jelly was wonderful.

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  38. MJ, Not the crazy lady, just the smartest lady on the block. I bet your jelly was delish!

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  39. great information on quinces! Happy to have discovered your gardening site! I have become the owner of a Texas scarlet quince, which flowered extensively in spring. I am hoping for at least one fruit this summer! Though with one plant...some say it does not need another one to produce a fruit. I do live in the North, that could be a drawback. Will keep reading this thread and following the results of all!

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  40. Silverdunes, Thanks for dropping by the garden. Those quince are really quite neat. Good luck on getting fruit this summer-they were quite interesting indeed. P.S. Never thought of these posts as threads but that is indeed what they are. Too neat!

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  41. Last year, we harvested 80 lbs. of the fruit. I made Quince Marmalade, Ginger Quince Jam, Pear & Quince Butter, and Quince Liquour.

    When cooked, the Quince turns red. It has a citrus taste to it.

    Here's a link to our blog where I have pics posted:
    http://nan-tom-blog.blogspot.com/search/label/Quince

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  42. Nancy and Tom, 80 pounds of quince is like awesome! Your jelly looks so good. I wish I had enough to do something like that.

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  43. Im from Chile and I've eaten these my whole life! I loved them with salt... i know weird but I find it delicious. We also sell it as jelly you might say and spread it on toast or bread =)

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  44. Hi Anonymous from Chile, Salt on quince sounds good! Hubby eats salt on cantaloupe so I can see it on quince too. I must give it a try soon. I hope to have enough quince to make jelly this year. I bet it is delish!

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