I’ve just had a large ornamental cherry tree removed from my smallish back garden. I’ve been humming and hawing over this drastic surgery for a few years now, and although it has produced a lovely display of early white blossom every spring, it has also completely dominated the garden. Sapping moisture and nutrients from the soil, the tree has stopped most other plants from flourishing. So it had to go.
Now done, I’m absolutely delighted (if a bit in shock) that there’s so much more light and space. And this is where the quince tree comes in. I want to replace the ornamental cherry tree with another tree, something more productive, but a tree that will provide some privacy without dominating the garden again.
In spring, I went to hear Joy Larkcom talk at the Chelsea Physic Garden, and was completely charmed by their fan trained quince tree (and Joy’s talk of course!). This tree completely fits the bill. The blossom in May was huge and enchanting and I was equally smitten by its large leaves. The supports here are approximately 3m wide and the tree at the moment is maintained to about the same height too.
On a recent trip to Wisley, the fantastically knowledgeable Jim Arbury recommended ‘Meeches Prolific’ as a variety that has some resistance to Quince leaf blight, and growing on Quince C rootstock (similar to the semi-dwarfing M26) should keep the tree relatively small. Keepers Nursery in Kent also recommend ‘Ekmek’ as its fruits are less gritty than ‘Meeches Prolific’, making it good for all types of cooking and baking. Now is the perfect time to order my tree, so I need to get out in the garden and get supports ready before it arrives in the new year. Very exciting!