"Pay attention to the world." -- Susan Sontag
Red Quince (1 of 2)

Red Quince (1 of 2)

From “Winter Flowering Quince” by Clara Sargent Mainwaring in A Time For Poetry: An Anthology by the North Carolina Poetry Society:

How sudden-brightly primrose pink!
sun-touched outside my windowpane
sturdy on your thorny stems
glistening after winter rain,
resting robins fresh from snow,
promising that leaves will grow

From “Chaenomeles (February 4, 1962)” in Through the Garden Gate by Elizabeth Lawrence:

“I have been making a list of flowering shrubs (those that drop their leaves), one for each month of the year. The list begins with the Chinese witch hazel, and ends with wintersweet. For February I have in mind the flowering quince; though the height of its bloom is often a month later, there are other shrubs for March, and I can think of none so colorful in February.

“The cultivated quinces are forms of two species,
Chaenomeles japonica, and C. lagenaria [a synonym for Chaenomeles speciosa]; and of C. x superba, a hybrid between these two. As C. japonica is dwarf, and C. lagenaria is tall there is a great variety in habit. The flowers are white, spectrum red, and tones between red and orange. They bloom between Thanksgiving and Easter….

“C. japonica is a prostrate shrub that spreads very slowly to three or four feet. I used to have it in Raleigh in the shady rock garden, where the small coral flowers appeared freely in March, with a few at almost any time of the year….

“There are any number of good red-flowering quinces in all sizes and shapes…. Many of the red ones are English hybrids.”


On the same day I photographed freshly blooming white quince (see White Quince (1 of 2) and White Quince (2 of 2)), I also encountered several newly flowering red quince plants, who posed for the images you see below. As with white quince, these are a mix of Chaenomeles japonica and Chaenomeles speciosa — with some stretching along stone structures and walls, and others growing as compact shrubs. I waited for clouds to move in before taking these photos — something that works well with red flowers, as red in bright sunlight can be over-saturated, leading to a loss of detail.

My previous post White Quince (2 of 2) includes an excerpt from the book Japanese Gardens by Wendy B. Murphy — where the author mentions that the quince flowers appear before the plant’s leaves. That subtle characteristic is also reflected in the poem at the top of this post, where the poet observes that the flowering quince is “promising that leaves will grow.” How cool is that!

Thanks for taking a look!

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