Thursday, 28 February 2008

Gardening - A Nice Green Leaf: Plants/Shagbags of the week


Spent some useful time yesterday wondering who would win a general naughtiness head-to-head between Ashley Cole and George Steiner. One's a Premier League footballer, the other's a seventy-seven-year-old intellectual, but the betting's not as much as of a sure thing as you might think.

Pondering such weighty matters while walking in the last light of a nice sunny day, I ground to a halt and took this phone picture of what is definitely my plant of the week.

The attractively fiery-looking flower is the first signs of a quince tree coming back to life after winter. Chaenomeles x superba
is the latin name, the variety is probably "Crimson and Gold" (though I
can't be sure because it's somebody else's garden). But it's one of
those plants that once you start noticing it, you'll see it again and
again. The blossoms are this amazing colour and have these gorgeous
tassled-looking insides.

Best of all, the fruit is actually edible. In this annoying
and selfish world of ours, really pretty blossoms usually only seem to
occur on varieties you can't eat. But this quince is an exception,
managing to be both beautiful and edible. (I have John Cushnie and
Monty Don's authorities on that, in books on my bookshelf - I just
checked.) And see this blog for a wonderful-sounding Estonian recipe.

And if you don't fancy quinces Estonian stylie, you could always try Nigella on the subject. She will go on and on about quinces in her sexy way, putting them in everything from jelly to brandy to "quincemeat". Bringing me neatly back to general naughtiness.

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