Shortly before it began raining this afternoon, my husband called me to the garden to have a look see. Three male Ruby-throated Hummingbirds were zinging about, drinking nectar from the flowers and fearlessly whizzing by each other in territorial displays. The tiny boys were mostly interested in our beautiful old Japanese flowering quince ‘Toyo-nishiki’  (Chaenomoles speciosa).  They were also investigating the flowering pear tree and almost-ready to bloom crabapples, but not nearly as much so as the quince.

I hope to see them again on a brighter day, the male’s beautiful red gorget (throat patch) flashes much more brilliantly in the sunshine.

Providing a continuously blooming array of nectar rich flowers, from spring through late summer, will encourage RTHummingbirds to nest nearby and you may even see the fledglings later in the season. You will probably never see the nest as it is only as big as one half a walnut shell, and the eggs only pearl-sized 🙂

Japanese Flowering Quince ‘Toyo-Nishiki’

Please join me Wednesday, March 14,  at 10:30 for my lecture The Pollinator Garden presented by the Arlington Garden Club.

I am in the process of organizing photos for my upcoming season of garden design lectures and am enjoying looking over the past year in photos. This was my first year with the Fujifilm x100 and the photo of the flowering quince below was one of the first photos I took with the x100. I do love this camera!

Chaenomeles speciosa ‘Toyo-Nishiki’

Coaxing Winter Blooms

From mid-February on is the recommended time to prune members of the copious Roseaceae (Rose family) and their cut branches create stunning arrangements. The bare limbs dotted with five-petalled blossoms are particularly evocative juxtaposed against the cool, low light of winter. I am picturing the plum rose of Prunus cerasifera ‘Thundercloud,’ the vivid pink of peach blossoms, the elegant sparkling white blossoms of apricot trees (Prunus armeniaca), and the brilliant fiery red-orange ‘Texas Scarlet’ Japanese flowering quince illuminating the rooms in which they are placed. I have to say my favorite of favorites is Chaenomeles speciosa ‘Toyo-Nishiki,’ with buds swollen and ready to burst by mid-winter and flowering in multiple hues of white, rose, and apricot pink, the beauty of their blossoms emphasized by the sharply zigzagging branches.

Note: Flowering quince provides nectar for northward migrating hummingbirds. It is not too early to put out your hummingbird feeders.

More information about Chaenomoles ‘Toyo-Nishiki’ may be found in Chapter Three, “Planting in Harmony with Nature,” Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities!