Chaenomeles - pink harbingers of spring

Glowing in the soft light of late afternoon, flowers that were very popular in Victorian gardens...

No longer fashionable but pretty and tough - Chaenomeles, still sometimes called "japonicas".  It is officially only late winter, but already flowers are clustered along the slender bare branches.  The shrubs generally have a rather tangled appearance, even when they leaf out.  In autumn they have large fruits that look a bit like quinces - so another name for these plants has been "Japanese quince".  Plants grown in gardens are generally hybrids, and the species are not only from Japan, despite the popular names. 

The clear pink of these pretty flowers is a foretaste of the bright light colours of spring.

The days are longer, the sunlight seems stronger.  Spring is definitely in the air - more happy days ahead!