Last winter I planted two quince trees in the orchyard. I had dug holes when I ordered the trees, and the plan had been to plant them in late autumn before winter arrived. Unfortunatly I ordered them from a nursery in the southeast and they had an unusually warm autumn which delayed the trees going into dormancy, so they were unable to ship until mid December.
The day the trees arrived was not optimum for planting as it was windy, well below freezing, and the ground was covered with 6 inches of snow. Forced to choose between planting then or keeping them in a relatively warm basement for a week or so until the weather might get better, I decided that the lowest risk option was to go ahead and get them in the ground. Fortunatly the holes were already ready and the ground was only frozen a couple of inches deep, but even so the act of planting was a hurried and sloppy affair aimed at minimizing the amount of time wet roots were exposed to cold air. The trees themselves were a concern to me as I did not see any evidence of buds on either one of them. Once they were in the ground, they looked more like survey stakes than actual trees.
As spring progressed and other trees broke bud and put out flowers and leaves, the quince trees both remained uninteresting sticks. At one point I thought I saw a tiny bud on one of them, but on closer inspection it was very hard to tell if it was or not. In the best gardening tradition, however, I decided to focus on other things and ignore the quince trees for a while.
A few days ago I had another look at them and was pleasantly surprised to find leaves on both trees. Small leaves, and not very many, but leaves just the same. The sticks had turned to trees, and I was reminded of the story of Aaron’s staff in the Bible (Numbers 17:8) . No almonds (or rather quince) yet, but confirmation of life.