Atlanta Fruitman’s Blog


A Quince of a Different Name
March 24, 2009, 12:51 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

This is another old blog that I enjoyed. I hope you will too.

Last weekend we had a great plant swap by our neighborhood garden club. I look forward to these events every spring and fall. It..s a time that I really get to meet with other plant lovers from around the area and talk about stuff in there yard. It..s also a time to share with others my interests and help them if they have problems. This time was really special because I found yet another treasure right under my feet.

I was in for very special treat after the event. I went by a new friends house to tour her yard. This is a girl that pops up from time to time at some of the shows I go to. She inevitably asks me to dance Salsa with her, which I know nothing about and feel very awkward on the floor. She seems to love to dance with me anyway. She shows up randomly and after a song or two she vanishes in crowd never to be seen again. It was a surprise to see one day on the street at a movie preview and get an invite to tour her yard. She was having a yard sale that same day and her house was right across the street.

I arrived at the plant swap location a little early and I saw her setting up for the yard sale so of course I helped a little till the others arrived, then after the event I came back over to get the tour. Of course her house and yard was wonderful! She had some hardy white 4 o’clocks that left seeds everywhere. We chatted as we snatched up some seeds. When we bumped into each other earlier that we she had mentioned something about a Quince tree in here yard. She was unsure of it and I thought she was mistaken; after all, I was told that quince trees would most die off from Fireblight and Quince Rust in the southeast. So the last spot of the tour almost floored me! She had a huge mature quince tree in her yard full of Mango sized fruit. She was not impressed with the large ..rocks.. on the tree or the ground. The hard fruits got in the way of her yard mowing. She asked me if I wanted some and I greedily took all on the ground and within arms reach. The tree was about 30 feet tall with little if any sign of disease. The bark was smooth and mottled like crepe mertle. I thought I have found a real unfound gem. I know a few people would love to have such a specimen in their yard, and dreams of propagating and offering this to other fruit hobbyist researching resistance was running through my mind.

Let me stop here say that I understand why some people would find this real odd. Why would I get so excited by a little liked obscure fruit that may be resistant for a few diseases? After all, it..s hardly a rare plant, though most people would know what it is anyway, nor would they care once they did find out. Well, I guess I have been looking for a project to sink my teeth in to; something that I can contribute to the fruit growing community at large. There is a plant explorer deep down inside of me that wants to express itself. I don..t have the money, land, time or just plain guts to go tramping through jungles of East Asia of the mountains of Kazakhstan looking for the next new fruit or variety of fruit, but at the same time I would like to put my little marker out there and offer something. A lot of what we (and others) are often looking for is right under out feet. Just like with my little adventure with mulberries at the Claremont, (see my earlier blog) or the large purple figs that found next to the Casbah restaurant, I hope I am ready and open for next little discovery in my path. I am always hopeful that it will be a big one too. Someone said that a very hardy a mature Grapefruit tree was discovered near Macon, Ga! (most commercial grapefruits die back in north Florida) I haven..t seen it yet, but apparently it exists.

I let my imagination get away with me in this case because I thought this was a Cydonia quince, which would have been extremely rare for reasons that I mentioned earlier, but it was a Chinese quince Psudocydonia. This is cousin of the much more desirable Cydonia, but still edible and pretty rare down here. It doesn..t have the disease pressures of the Cydonia, but it doesn..t have the intoxicating aroma or flavor either. I only found this out by doing some research at home. I still plan to make something with the fruit. I still might be surprised. It is a pretty tree all the same. I also still plan to get some cuttings and root them as well as plant the seeds from the fruit. My disappointment did not shadow the fact that this is still a tree worth exploring. The good thing about all the quinces are that they have along shelf life, I have then still in the bag in my kitchen, I will get around to making something with them. I guess the real moral of the story is the keep your eye open. One person..s trash(tree) is another..s treasure.

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