This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
"Where are the Quinsins?" asked the little son of El Medico, in our May number, after having examined the pictures of a bound volume of the Horticulturist. We promised you a picture of one, Frank, and here it is. As you are a dear little fellow, we looked about for a great big one for you, and have had it nicely colored. We hope you and all our readers will like it very much. It was grown by Mr. Cyrus Knapp, of Hackensack, N. J., who had a number of others like it. He ought to feel very proud of growing such fine specimens. But we must tell you, Frank, that all Quinces do not grow as large as this one. We hope, however, that you will grow some quite as large one of these days. The Quince, Frank, belongs to the genus Cydonia. There are several kinds, such as the Apple-shaped Quince, the Portugal Quince, the Chinese Quince, Rea's Seedling, and others, the best and largest of these being Rea's Seedling, which is probably the kind your father saw at the Fair. Then there is the Japan Quince, grown for the sake of its brilliant flowers; it is one of our best ornamental shrubs, and sometimes bears a fruit that will pucker your mouth all up. The kind that we have selected for you is the apple-shaped Quince, which grows on a tree some eight to ten feet high.
APPLE-SHAPED QUINCE, (Cydonia.) Drawn and Engraved for the Horticulturist.
Some people think it grows best on low, damp soils; but that is all nonsense, Frank, and you must get no such ideas in your head. It grows best on a rich, mellow, well-drained soil. In damp and wet places it becomes hard, gritty, and astringent, whereas on a well-drained soil it grows large and mellow. Some people grow it like a bush, letting suckers come up and grow as they will, and never taking the least pains to prune it. Such people are dreadful slovenly, Frank. You must not be so, with your Quinces, or any thing else. Your father must buy you one of Rea's Seedling, and prepare a piece of ground to put it in, digging it deep, and enriching it with some old manure and plenty of muck. After that is done, and the hole ready, spread out the roots carefully, and work in some nice fine soil all around them. Trim off all the branches within two feet of the ground, and as the tree grows, cut out such branches as interfere with each other. If you will only take a little pains in this way at the beginning, you will in time have a nice, round-headed tree, loaded with beautiful golden fruit. After the tree is once established, it will require little or no pruning. If you want large Quinces, Frank, you must break off a good many when they are quite small.
You will get quite as many pounds as though you left all on, with this advantage, that the fruit will not only be large, but very much better. You must look out for the borer, however, and punch him out if he gets in, or he will spoil all your hopes of big quinces.
Quinces are not eaten like Apples and Pears, Frank; they are made into jellies and preserves, which are very nice when well made, with the flavor of the quince preserved. They are profitable to raise for market, always bringing a good price. But we will tell you more about Quinces at another time, and give you some more pictures. So good-by, Frank, for the present.