Quince Charming: a fairy tale

It seems that some malevolent witch or wizard has decreed that it shall be winter forever. We have not had a frost-free week since November (I’m keeping count: it’s how long I’ve been waiting to finish cementing my maze), and this weekend saw the garden buried by blizzards once again. It was as though the wicked Beast from the East had given one last flick of his spiny tail as he departed for mythical lands. I stubbornly tried not to let the weather stop me from gardening. I put on all my clothes, all of them, went outside, watered a few pots, and gave up, my fingers frozen beneath two pairs of gloves after just ten minutes. This weekend was made for reading gardening books (or indeed fairy tales, whatever took the fancy).

Several loose branches of the Chaenomeles (Japanese quince) had been burnt to cinders by the previous freeze, its leaves shrivelled and brown on the blackened stems. However, a few charming (and some might say optimistic) little pink buds could be seen dotted here and there on some of the lower, more sheltered stems, and I decided to rescue them from the approaching storm by bringing them inside. Since spring is so late this year and I have been desperately short of anything decent to put in a vase for Cathy’s In a Vase on Monday for several weeks now, you could just as easily say that it was the quince that rescued me.

The bottle once contained some noxious Chinese alcoholic spirit, which I shared with new friends on a night train to Xian many moons ago. The topiary is a fairy tale about my future garden that I tell myself at night when falling asleep.

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36 thoughts on “Quince Charming: a fairy tale

  1. This is such a lovely staging for your branches of quince blossom. I love all the greens! Lovely books too. Would you recommend ‘Dear Friend and Gardener?” (eagle eyes)!

  2. I’m sorry you are having such a cold spring. We are having summer today at 88f (31c). It may be too hot to garden. Your bottle is really cool and a really interesting conversation piece. I’m glad you found something to bring in with blooms.

  3. The quince is a great fit for that bottle. I like your bedtime story routine. Hope temperatures rise to a comfortable level soon. Ours have been up and down, but now snow is back in our forecast for Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. I vote no.

  4. Your title made me chuckle. Ah, our poor spring plants don’t know what on earth is going on. I’m just going to forget about it all until the weather warms up and then see what is still alive. Then head for the nurseries… 🙂

    1. Me too … but at this rate I will have forgotten I even have a garden. Those nurseries are going to have a cracking trade once the weather warms up. I’ve lost gazillions of plants and I bet everyone else has too.

  5. After my vase last week I am sold on using twigs in vases and in fact I picked some quince at the same time as the plum, but the buds show no sign of wanting to open so it is clearly no relation of your Quince Charming. I really enjoyed the tale you fashioned and your twig bottle is so elegant, as is the topiary that you are going to stuff under your jumper the next time you go to Levens Hall. Thanks for sharing, Joanna

  6. Like you we are under the demon of winter….still buried in snow, I am not able to get anything from my garden….how lovely to find a few flowers to bring in and save for spring. Wishing you some spring warmth soon too!

  7. I think you did a great job making the best of things in the face of the gruesome weather you’ve been experiencing. Spring is even a bit late in my part of the world, although I doubt you or many of the IaVoM contributors would see it as such. Our spring usually is off and running in February but it didn’t really feel like spring here until this past weekend. I hope spring finds you soon, Joanna!

    1. Ah dear, what a shame! And what a shame I can’t send you a cutting of mine, but I fear it would not travel (and would be confiscated by customs). I would if I could. Wouldn’t it be nice to do a post about ‘plants we have lost’. People could write in with photos of their once-loved-never-forgotten favourites…

  8. It’s a lovely vase Joanna. And with fun memories tied in too. 😉 I am waiting in vain for spring too – icy cold but at least sunny today. But there seems to be no end to the snow and frost. By the time it warms up enough to sow seeds it will be mid summer I think! LOL!

  9. Hopefully the witch of endless winter will soon be ousted! I love your rescued quince branches, not to mention the title of the post 🙂 Am off checking on ‘Botany for Gardeners’ as it sounds like a good read when weather is too cold (or in my case, too hot) for gardening!

  10. Such times are these are to be cherished…when else can the lure the garden be anticipated? We have wonderful books to read in the meantime, perhaps whilst having a little tipple and admiring twigs burgeoning indoors.

  11. Spring was nearly non-existent on the East Coast of the U.S. For me, snow still at the end of March, further north got snow in April. Was sure I lost the daffodils and hyacinths for the year. April temps were far below normal (still needed heat for the overnights) and then it hit 90 degrees on the second of May. Lucky you to the rescue.

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