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Japanese Quince

Chaenomeles japonica

This is my favorite shrub in the back garden, and also that of the previous owner who planted it nearly 30 years ago.  It blooms, along with the Lenten roses in late winter or early spring and the blooms are spectacular.  They can range from white, to pink, to tri color to bright red.  These trees are usually grown as ornamentals and are highly prized for their showy flowers. While you can eat the fruit, it is very bitter and would likely be best in a jam or jelly or other sweet recipe.  The only downside to this shrub is that the blooms are too short lived.  We would enjoy having them for several more weeks every year.


The Japanese quince is a member of the family Rosacea, which also includes fruits such as apples, pears, quinces and almonds and has over 90 total species.  The Japanese quince is a member of the Chaenomeles genus and is closely related to the other two members, the traditional quince or Cydonia oblonga and the Chinese quince or Pseudocydonia sinenis.  All three are spiny deciduous shrubs, the Japanese having the most prevalent thorns, and bear an edible fruit called a pome.  They are native to eastern Asia and grow in zones 4 to 8 in the United States.

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Witch Hazel Shrub

Hamamelis virginiana

Witch-hazels or witch hazels are a genus of flowering plants in the family Hamamelidaceae, with three species in North America, and one each in Japan and China. The North American species are occasionally called “winter bloom”.  The North American species are highly prized for their medicinal uses.  The bark and leaves are used to brew teas and make medicines that are used to sooth skin ailments, treat hemorrhoids, cleanse scalp, and contains potent anti-inflammatory properties that have anti-viral properties.  Witch Hazel shrubs are not easy to grow and careful pruning is necessary.

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