Quince Claire

It is entirely reasonable to name one’s chickens, entirely infeasible to name one’s bees, and entirely silly to name one’s trees. Nonetheless, today we planted a quince tree in the orchard site and named it. We have eighteen fruit trees ready for planting out, but a shortage of hard labour needed to remove turf and dig holes, break up the compacted ground, improve the soil, and so on, has delayed moving them to the orchard from their temporary location, where we heeled them in a few weeks ago. One would normally plant these whilst they are still dormant, typically between December and March. However, we are behind, and with the mild weather our quince had already started to shoot. Today, our neighbour, Claire, volunteered for gardening duty, so we set about getting this first tree moved to the orchard.

The location of each tree had already been planned and the planting positions marked with stakes. The orchard site is an area of uncultivated land, covered with thick turf and various weeds. The first task was to remove a broad area of turf around the planting position as the young trees will not appreciate competition from the grasses. For our semi-vigorous rootstocks, the mature trees will be fine with grass growing around them, but to start them off in the right way it is best to remove the turf. By the time nature has reclaimed the area, the trees will be able to cope with it. More dwarfing stocks may need grass and weed control, along with permanent staking of the trees. I am not at all fond of the more dwarfing stocks, preferring something more robust and controlling growth with appropriate summer and winter pruning.

Having removed a good area of turf, a hole was dug to a good spade’s depth in the marked position, rather more broad than needed for planting, to allow some of the compacted soil to be loosened. The base of the hole was loosened to a fork’s depth and a bucket full of horse manure and a hand full of bone meal mixed in. The bone meal is high in phosphorus, which supposedly helps support root growth. The young tree, which was not only shooting above ground, but had already grown a considerable amount of fine new root, was eased carefully from its temporary home and placed at the same depth in the new site. A suitable stake was hammered into the ground, carefully avoiding any of the existing root. Soil was carefully filled around the roots and just lightly firmed. A light dressing of further manure was spread around the tree, but avoiding touching the trunk so as not to encourage rots. We did not water the plant in as we normally would, as the forecast rain had already started. A rabbit guard was put around the trunk and a tree buckle used to fasten it securely to the stake.

Claire was a great help today, and thought the new tree ought to be named Claire. She even pondered whether a plaque would be in order. A little unusual, perhaps, but our quince is now so named.

Newly planted quince
Newly planted quince


  1. Hi JV,
    Thanks for the raspberry tips. I call them canes as they are sort of sticks (all in one pot) but they do have some leaves and shoots and other leaves coming up out of the soil. CTV has had to explain to me how a blog works (hence delayed response) and what boysenberries are! I have learnt a lot this morning and it is not even 10am!! Yes please to a boysenberry and loganberry. Bigger raspberry like fruit and less thorns, whats not to like?! Thanks very much. You do realise now I know how a blog works there could be a steady stream of “how do I” questions coming your way..

    1. Hi Claire,

      I was wondering whether to add a Q&A section!

      If you have new shoots coming up, get those canes in the ground soon – and be ever so gentle as those shoots break very easily… Assuming they are summer fruiting, one would normally cut the canes at ground level at the end of the season, but leave those short lengths of cane until the end of the year.

      I’ll get CT to deliver those plants 🙂


      1. Thanks very much JV. I will pot them on at the weekend. I have printed off your planting tips for the raspberries and will follow same for the boysenberry and loganberry too. I will go hunting for manure at the weekend, there is bound to be a local farm near us!
        A Q&A section would be great 🙂
        Best regards.
        CB (my Blog alias)

  2. Good morning Jonathan,
    What an excellent name for a tree! We have two apple trees in our new garden (no idea what sort they are yet) but that is about the extent of our orchard so far. I bought half a dozen raspberry canes yesterday (love raspberries) and will probably buy a few more once I have read up on planting/spacing them etc. Would you recommend adding bone meal? I am counting down the days until my little greenhouse (it is brown actually) arrives and then I will get some seeds sown. So far I have only done a few chilli seeds indoors but none of them have come up yet. Once the house is half way straight you and Christina will have to come over – Im sure we owe you several dinners 🙂 Although if you want something home grown you might have to wait a bit longer!

    1. Hi Claire,

      First, I would add plenty of organic matter – well rotted manure and/or compost; not mushroom compost, though, as that can be quite alkaline and raspberries prefer a slightly acidic soil. A spinkling of bone meal would be a good addition I think. Raspberry canes are not the most reliable in my experience – you might find that some do not develop. I had two varieties that failed to show up last spring so have replanted this winter.

      A new greenhouse is exciting – and a right pain to build!

      I have a boysenberry and a loganberry (both more or less thornless) looking for a new home, if you are interested. I just potted them up from where the ends of some of the longer stems had taken root.


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