Wednesday, May 13, 2009

ABC Wednesday: Q . . . and a leftover P

This Wednesday we have reached the letter Q, which puts me in quite a quandary. Q's are not very common in the garden. I can't very well use my Quercus Macrocarpa once again, since it was the focal point of the last round through the alphabet and also showed up for O two weeks ago.

I do have another Quercus, much younger than the Bur Oak, though I don't know what specific type of oak it is. Like the grand old man at the end of our lane, it is one of the last trees to leaf out; now that it has, the front yard is full of shade once again.

For some time, however, I had planned to use the only other Q word in my garden--a flowering quince. But not everything in the garden works out the way you expect it to each year.

These are the lovely coral red blossoms that appeared for the first time last May on the quince. In fact, until last year I didn't even know what this plant was. As far as I was concerned, it was a shaggy, unsightly shrub that I was ready to dig out, so I gave it an extreme haircut in early spring. Apparently, that was just what it needed, because it was covered with these blooms last year. After it flowered, I took the advice of several garden bloggers and cut it back to half its size, thinking this would produce even more blooms this year.

Unfortunately, what I've had this spring is the same unkempt, boring shrub of past years.

Instead of a mass of blooms, a few appeared but hidden by the outside branches. I can only conclude that I should have trimmed this shrub again early in the spring to encourage its flowering. Perhaps someone more familiar with this plant can suggest another reason why it didn't bloom as prolifically as last year.

So I am rather disappointed with my Q's this week, and I'm also wishing we could turn back the clock one week, because I would have had some great additions to my P post. On Saturday my friend Beckie and I went on a day-long plant shopping expedition, starting with the local Herb Society's sale and ending at a favorite garden center, Prairie Gardens.

We managed to test the volume of my new crossover vehicle to see how the volume of the back compared to the old minivan's. I think we could have squeezed in a few more plants.

But this isn't the week for P's . . .

. . . so I won't even tell you about the local Prairie Plant Preservation Society's sale or how some of these plants made their way home with us. All this will have to wait for another day.

In the meantime for more creative and quirky representations for the letter Q, you can visit Mrs. Nesbitt or the ABC anthology.


  1. Wonderful selection of *Q* plants. Love the flowering Quince in particular.
    I just loved the photo of the plants in the back of the car! So inviting! I took one! Hope you didn't mind!

  2. The colour of the Quince is wonderful, I have always wanted one like that! :)

  3. Ah! Rose's ABCs! Isn't that the favorite post of this Indian Gardener? Never seen the quinces before and I wish you get more blooms this year. I see you did have fun shopping! Good luck with your new visitors. Hope they become Praire's natives soon.

  4. I really like the quince-a perfect choice. In school I learned it as the 'trashcan' shrub. It catches all sorts of blowing stuff and only looks good that one period when it blooms-but boy oh boy does it look great!

  5. The Quince is lovely Rose. Glad it bloomed.

    I know you and Beckie must of had a great time at the sale. Looks like you got some great looking plants.

  6. Rose, thanks for minding your Ps and Qs (HA!). You're lucky to have a grand old burr oak--I love their shape. "But not everything in the garden works out the way you expect it to each year." Word! I also love quince, but don't have one. I find most shrubs kind of shaggy when they're not in bloom or berries, LOL! Your trunk looked very similar to my friend Mary Helene's, when she and I did a nursery run last week. Lots to plant, though I have to make room for it all!

  7. No experience with quince so I can't even offer a guess.

    You got quite a hall there on your shopping expedition;) Hope you have some good weather there to get them planted. The local weathermen are scaring us with threats of tornadoes and high winds.


  8. Quince that's is what they are called. Thank you!
    They are beautiful/ Tyra

  9. I don't know what to tell you about your Quince Rose, sorry. Looks like you got some great finds at your plant sale, can't wait to hear all the details!

  10. Very nice,Rose! I think, don't be disappointed! I am like you mentioned many times, after a week is over I see some great things I wish I would have included in the previous week's (letter's) post. :) All those back hurts just thinking about planting them all.

  11. Well, I like your q's. Especially that lovely quince!

  12. Maggie May, You could have easily taken one of those plants, and I wouldn't have even noticed:)

    Suburbia, the flowers on the quince are beautiful, but the rest of the year, it's not very attractive.

    Chandramouli, Glad to see you're back! I'll do a post on some of the prairie plants as soon as I get caught up. Right now it's raining, so they may not get planted for awhile.

    Tina, A "trashcan" plant is the perfect way to describe it:) I really wanted to get rid of it until I saw it bloom last year.

    Susie, Beckie and I had a great time as always. She is my "enabler"--encouraging me to buy more when I have second thoughts:)

    Monica, I love my grand old bur oak. It's raining like crazy today, so I don't know when all these plants are going to get in the ground. Sometimes my eyes are bigger than my garden:)

    Marnie, I didn't plant anything here yesterday because the forecast was not only for thunderstorms, but also the possibility of hail. I do hope no tornadoes, though!

    Tyra, I have to thank my fellow bloggers for identifying this shrub for me last year. I had no idea what it was.

    Racquel, Pruning it in early spring last year seemed to do the trick; I'll have to remember that next year.

    Sistertex, These are just a "few" of the many yet to be planted:)

    Mara, Thanks; Q is not an easy letter!

  13. Q is difficult, isn't it? Your quince is lovely, though. I used to have one just like it, but it was elbowed out by the thug like shrubs planted each side of it.

  14. Now I'm craving toast smothered with quince jam:)

  15. I eny you your green fingers :-)

  16. That quince was a real beauty last year! I do hope someone can advise you, so you can have a glorious show again next May. I love the way you slotted in some extra P's...

    On behalf of the Team, thank you for participating.

  17. Quite clever post for spring !

  18. Great Q words! Thanks for sharing. Thanks for your visit! Sweden has a king and his daughter is going to be queen when he dies or abdicates. There are three queens in Europe and four kings.
    Have a great rest of the week!

  19. That flowering quince is gorgeous! Looks like you had a great shopping day...

  20. Hi Rose - I see you've already answered the question you gave me over at my place yourself! Here's the answer I've posted over there, just in case you haven't picked it up already:

    Ornamental quince flowers on wood from the previous season, so like all spring flowering shrubs (i.e. those flowering before June), it should be pruned straight after flowering. If you prune later than that, the new wood isn't mature enough to produce flowers. This does of course mean you don't get any of the fruit later on in the season. So if you still want your shrub to fruit, don't prune all of it back each season, just prune e.g. one third of it and you should get both fruit and flowers.

    New bit to add on here: from your post here it looks like you want flowers and are not that bothered about fruit on your quince? The fruit are a bit non-descript anyway, so you can cut back the whole thing hard after your few flowers this season have finished.

  21. I had no idea there was a plant called Quince! How cool is that? I will have to buy one for my friend Quince!

  22. Dear Rose......

    I had a quince in my last garden and I used to cut it back each always bloomed......they are beautiful flowers......

    You seem to have bought lots of plants this for your new butterfly and bee garden? It is always so exciting when you purchase new plants.....I have itchy fingers and need to get planting straight away....perhaps that is the child in me.......

  23. Minding your P's and Q's! Hope your quince decides to flower wildly...beautiful blossoms - and how nice it must be to haul an entire garden in one trip. Enjoyed your photos and post.

  24. Just catching up and saying hello.

    I recognise that garlic mustard!

    Where is illinois? I must look it up.

  25. Hi Rose ~ hang on a bit longer. I have a similar quince at the lake and I've sent you an e-mail about pruning ... BTW hummingbirds love quince! My Acadia was packed like yours after a trip to the Farmer's Market ~ don't you just love it ... hum ... now the Quandary ... where will everything go!

  26. Wonderful post - p's and q's! the blossoms of the quince tree are the prettiest color I've seen. Very nicely done, Rose.

  27. We had a quince in England – it was fun. I love all your photos this week.

  28. Sorry about your Quince. Follow VP's advice, they do bloom on old wood. I wish yours wanted to bloom as badly as mine. I cut it way back this year. On a couple of the little stumps, it opened a couple of blooms. Oh, I hope that doesn't sound like gloating.

  29. Dear Rose...Has anyone made a joke about minding your p's and q's? If not, let me be the first!
    I have a recommendation for an O next year if the quince fails can discuss oenotheras! They would love your garden! A gardening friend says she makes quince jelly? Sounds interesting to me. I am beginning to not make sense..good night! Gail

  30. Mean Mom, good to hear from you again! The quince is pretty only when it flowers:)

    Marie Reed, Thanks for visiting; I don't think I've ever had quince jam.

    RunE, I'm not sure I have green fingers; I'm still pretty much a greenhorn when it comes to gardening.

    Dragonstar, Lately I seem to come up with the perfect choice for a letter...the week after.

    Miss Yves, Thanks for stopping by!

    Reader Wil, I realized afterwards that I said that wrong--I was just surprised that Sweden had a monarchy.

    Carol, Thank you. Plant shopping is my favorite kind of shopping:)

  31. VP, I knew I could count on you for some good advice here! I will prune it hard soon, because I really don't care about the fruit. But I'm not sure it even produces fruit--could it be a sterile plant?

    Life with Kaishon, Or you could buy him some quince jelly:)

    Cheryl, The trees and shrubs seem to be on a different schedule this year, so perhaps that is part of the reason. The trunkload of plants is only a start:) I did buy some annuals for containers, but also quite a few seedlings for the butterfly garden. Now, if it would only stop raining so I can start planting!

    Tumblewords, This was just the second of many plant excursions to come...I don't spend much money on clothes or frivolous things; plants are my downfall, though:)

    Liz, Hope you had a great weekend! If you see that garlic mustard again, pull it immediately!! Illinois is in the middle of the US; I'm south of Chicago in the heart of corn and soybean fields:)

  32. Joey, Thanks for the tips; I'll check my e-mail. The birds do enjoy the quince, but I've yet to see a hummingbird around it. And yes, I have a quandary, too--I'm hoping it will stop raining so I can plant all of these!

    Nonizamboni, Thanks for dropping by; it's been a long time since I've visited with you.

    Sarah, Quince does sound very English, doesn't it? Isn't that the name of a literary character...James' The Turn of the Screw??

    MMD, You're welcome to gloat all you want:) But I'm more envious of your beautiful flowering crabapples.

    Gail, Last time around I almost skipped P altogether and posted a Q a week early, so I guess I'm minding my P's and Q's a little better this time:) I will have to check out the oenetheras; sounds like a character from mythology. Have a good night's rest:)

  33. Rose, good job with the Q's. And even though your qunce didn't bloom well this year, it was beautiful last year. Wonder if that frost had anything to do with it? Loved our plant shopping day-as always. Now if I can just get some of them in the ground. Will it ever stop raining!

  34. Dear Rose,
    I enjoyed your Q post!
    My Father planted quince when I was a teenager. I do not recall if he cut his back or not!
    Happy planting! You and Becky did very well.

  35. Hi Rose, you are a plant nursery owner's dream customer! HA Now about the quince, I keep mine small, about two feet by two feet. I prune them to that size in late winter, when the buds are showing as little round balls on the stems. I will cut everything off to the buds, and some of those stems if they stick out farther than I like. Every three years I take out the larger diameter stems to the ground. If they get messy looking during summer, I neaten them up with tip pruning, something I don't do to other shrubs. The quince actually responds so well to pruning, it is a good subject for bonsai.

  36. You and Beckie always have such fun! I love all the plants in the back of the car. This is really the best time of year, when we finally get our hands in the dirt.

    I don't think I've seen a quince shrub or plant. Will look it up. I liked the colour of the flower. Actually, there are not many plants I don't like. LOL!

  37. Your vehicle's load of plants is making me quiver with anticipation. I can't wait to see what you do with all of them in your flower beds and pots. Thanks for commenting on my latest post. I really appreciate it.


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