You may be thinking, “are you writing about a quince?” And “aren’t those the plants my grandmother had growing out back with the thorns?”
Yes, I am talking about that quince, but please do a double take as this is not your grandmother’s quince. This is a new series of quince or Chaenomeles, called the Double Take trademarked series. They come in three colors, aptly described by their cultivar names: ‘Orange Storm,’ ‘Pink Storm,’ and ‘Scarlet Storm.’
There are several things that set these plants apart from the quinces of old. First of all, the flowers are double in form and size. The flowers are large enough to be compared to Camellia blossoms. This is great news for those of us who cannot grow Camellia plants too well due to winter cold. Secondly, they do not bear fruit. That may not be good news if you are an aficionado of quince jelly but for the rest of us who can do without the often gnarly, tennis ball colored fruit, this is a good thing. Lastly, they are thornless which makes them easier to jump in and prune.
The Double Take quince series is the result of the breeding program from Dr. Tom Ranney and his team at the Mountain Crop Improvement Lab of North Carolina State University (my alma mater who beat #1 Duke in basketball this weekend). Dr. Ranney has been talking about these plants for a couple of years so I am very excited to see them on the market and look forward to trying them in the gardens of Coastal Maine. He is pleased with this group of plants and is working on even more selections of Chaenomeles for the future.
What about you? Do you think that you’ll give these Double Take quinces a second shot in your garden? – Rodney
Photos: provenwinners.com, whatgrowsthere.com