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Letter to the Editor: Quince blossoms display beauty at Eastertide

Wednesday, April 3, 2002

To the editor:

The bush bloomed before daffodils and tulips and continued after they had faded, a lovely peach-like blossom which brought lots of comments at the Easter dinner table.

One year the mystery bush produced a mystery fruit, an apple-like concoction that grew quickly but never ripened. It was, of course, a quince. But it remained mysterious even after it had been named.

After such praise for the mystery guest in our yard, I planned to buy another. But when I found the price, I decided I didn't have room for one. Thank Ann Stokes or Charley Armgart or the Mabry sisters for it, but I am forty years too late. Tina, the clerk at Sunny Hill, told me that there was such a bush on her father's farm which no one could identify until she started working at the nursery. The quince is a first cousin once removed from the pear and is often grafted to it. So I was drawn to the section on pears and to the German Birnbaum and recalled my old friend who bore that common German name. A thousand years ago, his forebear had lived under a pear tree.

Our city today is filled with Bradford pear blossoms, lovely in their whiteness, but neither the Bradford pear nor the quince will support my life. Quince jelly is OK. I'll save my money and buy quince bushes to make a hedge, and I'll eat tapioca pudding as I enjoy the pink blossoms. Happy Easter.

PETER HILTY

Cape Girardeau