10th January 2014

These very early Daffodils have been out out at my friends farm in Sussex for a couple of weeks. Unseasonably early they will be welcomed by insects, especially bees, needing an early feed on the pollen. The Chaenomeles, or Flowering (Japanese) Quince is often out this early and can also help insects top up on their energy reserves. Very easy to grow in part shade or sun, the flowers can be orange, red, pink or white and are produced on bare stems so give a great burst of colour at this time of year. The fruit are tough and bitter so don’t do much to help the wildlife in autumn. They soften a little when bletted by frost. However, in years where they get lots of sun they are

The mild weather in the south has brought some Daffodils out early.

The mild weather in the south has brought some Daffodils out early.

Flowering (Japanese) Quince (Chaenomeles) out at this time of year, providing pollen for bees.

Flowering (Japanese) Quince (Chaenomeles) out at this time of year, providing pollen for bees.

great, before the frost, for making jellies, for liqueurs or for mixing with seville oranges for marmalade. Tough to peel because they are so hard, they are still worth it- they have a higher pectin level than apples and a higher vitamin c level than lemons! Train the thorny bushes up a wall,  incorporate into a hedge or plant as a shrub. Conditions: High winds and sunny intervals. Temperature: Max 10- Min 1C

The Fruits of Chaenomeles can be used to make Quince Jelly but are too bitter for birds

The Fruits of Chaenomeles can be used to make Quince Jelly but are too bitter for birds

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