Double Take Quinces

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?”

Chaenomeles 'Scarlet Storm'

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.

Scarlet Storm flower

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

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rodney eason

Rodney Eason - Director of Horticulture and Plant Curator at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, father of 4, husband to a Renaissance woman. I spent the first part of my life in North Carolina, the middle in Pennsylvania, and now I am determined to become a Mainer  while keeping my southern drawl. I consider the rhetorical question, "you're not from around here, are you?" a compliment. I love great gardens, beautiful plants, and inspiring architecture. Because of this, I am on a lifelong quest to find a garden that artistically combines beautiful plants while being centered around an evocative building. For me, this would be Beatrix Farrand's Dumbarton Oaks, with the plants of Lotusland and Chanticleer, around Fay Jones' Thorncrown Chapel. My wife and I are now making our new home and garden in a 130 year old New England house with a farmer's porch near the Damariscotta River in coastal Maine. When our kids get into college, we want to hike the Appalachian Trail as a family over a summer break. My likes (in random order): the smell of fresh basil and rosemary, bold foliage, India Pale Ale, good running shoes, Top Gear, the smell of New England in the fall (it reminds me a bit of English Leather, which my grandfather wore), and the sound of our family laughing together around the dinner table. I dream of one day owning an old Toyota 4X4 pick-up and seeing the Avett Brothers in concert.

4 Comments

  1. Kathryn on January 15, 2013 at 9:48 am

    I wish I had the room – they’re gorgeous!

  2. Marian St.Clair on January 15, 2013 at 10:25 am

    Congrats on ripping Dook. Love this quince. Photo shows a nice, upright habit too.

  3. Eddie Cummings on January 15, 2013 at 11:16 am

    Flowers may be improved, but what do they look like after they finish blooming, hopefuly not like the old ones “YUK”

  4. Heino on January 16, 2013 at 6:16 am

    I like Chaenomeles. This new variety looks very good. I hope them also comes in Germany on the market.

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