Quince Wince

rambling ratz

As we head from winter into spring, the garden suddenly comes alive with colour, bird song and the buzzing of bees. One of the first shrubs to blossom in this garden is the quince.photo of quince blossom

Quinces belong to the family Rosaceae, as do apples and pears. The quince was cultivated by humans before apples and pears and it is thought that many historical and biblical references to apples are mistranslations of quince. photo of flowering quince

This particular quince is known as a flowering quince, a thorny shrub grown for decoration, although it still produces fruit. The fruit contains more vitamin C than lemons. Quinces originated in Asia, but seem able to grow anywhere. The first recorded planting of quince in England was in 1275 when Edward I grew them at the Tower of London.photo of caterpillar in quince

Quinces provide a food source for various species of Lepidoptera. Indeed in this photo you can see a…

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Mahonia Flower

rambling ratz

The Mahonia shrub growing in the middle of the garden path is starting to flower.Photo of yellow Mahonia flower

There are approximately 70 different species in the genus of Mahonia, in the Berberidaceae family. Indeed there is some argument as to whether they are actually Berberis and not Mahonia as the two are so closely related and hybridize. I think this one is most likely to be Mahonia aquifolium, or Oregon-grape. Please correct me if you know better.  It is native to North America, but seems quite content in the UK. The flowers give way to blue berries, eaten by birds. Plateau Indian tribes used Oregon-grape to treat dyspepsia, and the juice of the berries can apparently be fermented to make wine. The blue berries were also used to make dyes.

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Blooming Flowers

Beautiful ❤

rambling ratz

Vernalization – Whereby a prolonged period of cold (winter) induces plants to produce flowers in the spring. It’s all kicking off folks. It starts with the snowdrops.

Hello hellebore.Photo of Hellebore

The lawn has been covered with crocuses for a couple of weeks now.

However, they will only open up if there is sunshine. Photo of crocus

I blinked and nearly missed it.Photo of crocuses

There was even a yellow crocus this year.Photo of crocusPrimrose looking prim.Photo of primroseMahonia.Photo of mahoniaForsythia having a serious think about flowering.Photo of forsythiaQuince, looking fancy.

Finally, the lilac is coming into bud.Photo of lilac buds

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