Just went for a walk on the Wodonga TAFE grounds and spied this gorgeous flowering peach, Prunus persica looking divine in the afternoon sun..
Growing fruit in your own garden is a delightful experience and it’s twice as good when the plant has ornamental value as well. I get immense joy from my Fruiting Quince tree all year round. Botanically known as Cydonia oblonga , which refers to its unusual fruit shape. It originates from both Turkey and Iran and is rich in history. This fruit was once known as ‘the Golden Apple’ of the ancients and looked upon as the emblem of love and happiness.
The season starts in spring as the fresh new lime green leaves appear, so soft and velvety. By October it’s flowering with gorgeous delicate white flowers that have a blush of pink to them. Early November, you will notice the fruit already developing. The fruit develops on the current season’s growth and is ready for harvest early to mid-April. The fruit are large and quite tasteless when eaten fresh off the tree. Cooking is the key to enjoying this fruit, preserving takes time but this task is well worth it. Each year will give you many jars of quince paste or preserved fruit for baking that you can use all year round. Eating in season reduces our environmental impact, it’s an old concept and people may feel time poor to get into the kitchen but a lot of money can be saved producing your own food and a real sense of accomplishment.
Pruning is important due to where the fruit develops from. To increase the current seasons growth lateral branches should be pruned back in May after fruiting has ceased. The tree habit is vigorous and can be grown as a multi-stemmed shrub or tree for screening or feature. The quince can grow 3-5 meters high and 3metres wide.
The large gnarly fruit of the quince tree can be susceptible to fruit fly. I recommend hanging homemade fruit fly traps in your tree. Male fruit fly traps are set in August and female bait in October. Keep them going throughout the season until you harvest the fruit, refreshing your baits every 1-2 months. Keep your tree healthy by feeding it with a complete slow release fertilizer twice a year or a natural alternative would be to top dress your soil with a lovely homemade compost enriched with cow manure in early spring.
Quince trees are a member of the Rosacea family and the genus Chaenomeles , are flowering quinces which do not produce fruit.( This is what is pictured here above.)They are a highly attractive deciduous shrub, commonly known as flowering japonicas. The flowers are borne in mid-winter on the bare branches . Some well-known varieties are ‘Columbia’ which is a vibrant red and ‘Apple blossom’, which is a beautiful soft pink. These quinces are quite old fashioned and very pretty. They are also very hardy to drought and frosts. They have a small barb on the branches which makes them a terrific haven for birds to take shelter in. Fruiting or not the Quince tree is a great addition to any garden.