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Medlars and quinces

NorthernJoeNorthernJoe Posts: 660
A local garden centre was selling these trees for £45 & £38. They were a little taller than me say up to 2.5m at their highest tip when in the pot. How tall and wide will they grow?

We've got a potential spot in the wildlife garden section but not sure if  it'll grow with a few big conifers, a medium beech and Holly trees. Partial shade from those trees.

Are there any other less common fruit trees we could grow? I'm wondering if a wild service tree I think it's called will grow here. Bedrock is limestone and it can be quite near the surface in places I reckon, but the soil looks ok. That tree is rare in the wild and unusual, but possibly not easy to source and grow easily.


  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,336
    I don’t know about medlars but quinces are happiest with some moisture at their feet, so grow well in ditches and near ponds.

    Damson and bullace are good wildlife fruit trees and can take a little shade.

    Sloes occupy dry, rocky slopes here, in sun or shade, along with Euonymous Europeaeus, which has unusual pink/orange fruits and lovely autumn colour so those may be able to tough it out under the dry shade of your other trees.
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
  • Butterfly66Butterfly66 Posts: 920
    edited April 2021
    The height and spread will depend on the variety and rootstock.

    Quinces are quite small trees maybe 4m max height and spread. Very pretty blossom and the new leaves are a lovely silvery lime as they open - just starting now. Ours is probably at its mature size now, doesn’t fruit particularly well but is a lovely tree.

    Medlars are taller, and wider so 6m by 8m. Attractive trees but have never seen any birds take any interest in the fruit on ours and it has lots every year so not sure it has as much wildlife benefit as some other trees. Ours is planted very close to a large cherry and walnut tree (not by us) and this doesn’t seem to have hampered its growth. These cast shade on one side and it has grown outwards more towards the sunny south side - ours does sprawl but I don’t know how much of that is the shade issue or their natural form given that they are naturally wider than they are high- as it has also sprawled out on its northern side where it’s shaded by a nearby hawthorn and huge philadelphus.
     If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”—Marcus Tullius Cicero
    East facing, top of a hill clay-loam, cultivated for centuries (7 years by me). Birmingham
  • bertrand-mabelbertrand-mabel Posts: 2,533
    edited April 2021
    We have 2 quinces. One in the orchard and one in the garden. Neither are near water courses. Height depends on the rootstock. The one in the garden is underplanted with a selection of helebores which the bees love, potentilla, solomon seal and a hydrangea.
    The garden one is more like a tree whilst in the orchard this one has bushed out a lot.
    Both great fruiters and the flowers are lovely. Bees very interested in them.
    Our medlar is planted in a shady area and is a good leaf now with the flower buds starting to show. Again a great producer even though it does insist on trying to fall over. Ours is about 4ms high with likewise spread and underneath are narcissus in the spring and many different ferns later when it is full leaf. A conifer hedge is on the other side of the path from the medlar and on the other we have large bamboos.
    The wild service tree is another lovely one and does very well in again a shady area in our garden but tends to stay more like a bush than a tree. Being a woodland tree it will cope with the other trees being near it.
    Another lovely tree is the guelder rose (Viburnum opulus). Produces great brilliant red berries in the autumn/winter which the birds love and flowers in late spring are great for pollinators.
  • NorthernJoeNorthernJoe Posts: 660
    TBH I'm a little selfish, the fruit would be for us!!

    I did think of getting a Rowan, native species not the American versions you can buy. The thought of Rowan berry jellies with roast meats was my thinking. My partner made the valid points, who's going to make the jelly and when exactly do we cook roasted meat dinners? That's now out of the window

    My partner has lived and worked around Europe and South America so has encountered cultures with a more open attitude towards food. I've never come across medlars and only Booths supermarket near me once sold quince. She quite likes medlars which were commonly eaten where she once lived.I have no idea what quince and medlar taste like. Isn't bullace a type of Samson style fruit? Anyone ever tasted slow mistaking it for damson? You make that mistake once I reckon and never again. Astringent!!
  • bertrand-mabelbertrand-mabel Posts: 2,533
    You don't have to make just jelly from these fruits.
    We have had them for many years and yes we have done jelly (very time consuming) but beautiful colour and fragrance.
    We have made spiced quinces that can be eaten with salads/cold meats/cheese/on their own.
    Both make excellent jams to have with the morning toast.
    Both can also be made into wines and still retain the flavour of the fruit.
    You can also make membrillo cheese from quinces which will keep for many months if wrapped and kept in cool dark conditions.
    Medlars can also be eaten raw once they have bletted and you just scoop out the flesh. Tastes between an apple and a pear but also time consuming to get enough.
    Bullace to me is a wild version of our damson and yes it is more tart but again a very useful fruit for many purposes.
    Sloes are only used by us for sloe gin!
  • Butterfly66Butterfly66 Posts: 920
    I think the phrase often used about Medlars is that they have “an acquired taste”. We have made fruit cheese with ours and jam, lovely once or twice but nothing very exciting. It’s a very mild flavour in our experience. Ours produces so much fruit that even if we did loved the flavour we would have more than we could possibly use.

    Quince is lovely baked in puddings or cakes and also makes an excellent fruit cheese. Even though our quince doesn’t fruit particularly well we get enough to enjoy. Well worth growing as a lovely small garden tree even if you don’t like or want to use the fruit.
     If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”—Marcus Tullius Cicero
    East facing, top of a hill clay-loam, cultivated for centuries (7 years by me). Birmingham
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