We have two quince (Cydonia oblonga) trees, one in the front garden, one in the back. I did not know much about them before we moved here. Last year I didn’t even pick the fruit, unsure what to do with them.
The quince has been around for an incredible 3,000 years. They arrived in England during the 13th century but quickly lost out in popularity to apples and pears. The reason for their decline is probably because they take so long to ripen. However, in Britain, quince marmalade was being made up until 1790, when orange marmalade replaced it.
This autumn, I was a little more organised and picked the fruit from both trees. I stored the fruit in boxes; they need to be kept for about six weeks before they can be used and the fruit shouldn’t touch. The distinctive aroma from the quinces promised the taste would be worth waiting for. But, within a couple of weeks it was clear that the fruit was decaying; I guess I must have placed them too near each other. So much for turning the quince into something delectable. I guess the taste of this forgotten fruit will have to wait until next year.
It’s intriguing to see which alpines are doing best. Sedum makinoi (pictured left) is spreading with the enthusiasm of a triffid. It has draped itself somewhat languidly over the wall. It should continue to spread further but as it is frost sensitive I need to make sure I find out how to protect it and, some of the other succulents, during the colder months.
When I was at the garden centre recently purchasing bulbs, I decided it would be a prime opportunity to choose a new selection of succulents to add to the large alpine bed. The one I’m particularly keen on is the exotic-looking Lampranthus Orange. If all goes to plan, it will produce wonderfully bright flowers next year. I have also included: Campanula Blue Cups, Mentha requienii – for the scent- and Delosperma Rise and Shine which is another frost sensitive plant.
By next Summer I hope the alpines are established enough to create a strong and compelling display with their striking shapes and colours.
I have never planted a clematis before and was somewhat worried about it. There is an awful lot of information about these plants and, quite a bit of it seems rather complex! I left the plant, a clematis Multi Blue, in a sink of water before planting as I’d read this is the correct way to prepare it. The clematis is now in one of the borders right next to the house. Generally, this bed is used as a digging area for my children and there are a few geraniums here too. Fingers crossed that when it flowers, the blue of the clematis doesn’t clash alongside the fiery red geraniums; we’ll have to wait and see. Hopefully the position will suit the clematis as it’s south facing and gets plenty of sun; I guess the problem will be if it starts to dry out too much. If it thrives, it should look lovely, climbing up the wall, adding a dash of colour here.