Europe use to be the the hot bed of shrub breeding, but not any more. Sorry guys - but it's been relocated to Mills River in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Tom Ranney and his crew at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center, Darren Touchell, Tom Eaker, Joel Mowrey, Nathan Lynch, Jeremy Smith and Kevin Parrusfor are a well oiled breeding machine that continues to develop one great new plant after another.
This is the team that broke the color barrier with the introduction of the first ever pink flowered Annabelle Hydrangea - Invincibelle 'Spirit'.
Now they've developed a series of quince (Chaenomeles) that look a lot like Camellias, but much hardier, called the Double Take Series.
Double Take 'Orange Storm'
Double Take 'Pink Storm'
Double Take 'Scarlet Storm
As you can see from the images the flowers are very large and have lots of petals. The color range is blessed with deep hues of scarlet, pink and orange. To make life even better they're thornless! While quince is an old fashionrd shrub that is not as popular as it once was, I suspect these plants are going to reinvent this old time favorite, and make quince popular once again.
We have been trying to get them approved for Canada, but the at this time we have not had any luck with the Canadian government. Hopefully this will change soon.
What do you think?