Flowering quince, a shrub with lovely lipstick-pink blossoms, is not to be confused with the quince tree that bears fruit. The former you want to plant in front of a window; the latter produces fruit for jams, jellies, and marmalades.
The miracle that flowering quince performs is to make you believe in the spring. As our contributor Jeanne Rostaing writes, “One day recently I passed by and was surprised to notice that quince had already begun its early spring flower show. The shrub’s stark thicket of brown-black branches are now festooned with cup shaped flowers in an eye-popping shade of bright orangey pink. Seemingly overnight this Asian native had transformed itself from a bare, unremarkable shrub to a decorative ornament worthy of its place of honor at the entrance to an elegant home.”
Like forsythia, flowering quince (Chaenomeles speciosa) blooms early on bare wood and then gracefully retreats into the background for the rest of the growing season. When branches start to bud, cut them and bring them indoors to force them in a vase (you’ll get to enjoy the flowers longer). Beware of flowering quince’s thorns: keep this deciduous shrub away from high-traffic areas and instead consider planting it as a security hedge.