South East Scotland Fuchsia Society

South East Scotland Fuchsia Society

A friendly group of fuchsia enthusiasts

NEWSLETTER February 2020

14 February 2020

Irene Birse Secretary

NEWSLETTER February 2020

Welcome everyone to our first Society Newsletter for quite some time. Your Committee have considered reintroducing this for a few reasons, including keeping everyone up to date with the goings on within our group and to give growers of Fuchsias some helpful tips to create even more beautiful plants, whether you grow to show or just to enjoy the super colours in pots, containers and baskets throughout the summer.

Let me introduce myself to you though. I was elected as your President at the AGM last year and I must admit I’m still trying to remember everyone’s name. I was brought up a farmer’s son in the West of Scotland and have a real passion for the land and what it can produce. I’ve always been interested in nature and how it seldom if ever lets us down. Just think how year after year it brings to fruition our fuchsia plants with their outstanding colourful blooms. I’m a keen gardener but freely admit I have a lot to learn whether in the greenhouse or in the vegetable patches. I love the element of exhibiting, loving the buzz you get, the information you glean from fellow exhibitors and that first prize just makes it all worthwhile. I live in the village of Douglas just outside Lanark. It’s an old mining village and to this day still has a very good Flower Show which is confined to members of the surrounding areas. Of course that is how many village shows started, miners bragging about the quality of their produce and flowers whilst down the pits and deciding to put their goods to the test in front of an independent judge.

I became involved in our society whilst visiting Gardening Scotland and observing a demonstration on fuchsia care by our Secretary, Irene Birse. My partner Robert and I were hooked and soon thereafter another greenhouse was built to house the plants. We have learned so much from the members of our group, many who are keen to pass on their information and wisdom to help us become better growers. We have still much to learn!!

I’m sitting in the office at home typing this letter looking out on about 2 inches of snow, the first real blitz of the winter and thinking to myself should I continue typing or get to the allotment to make sure that all the heaters are still going! We don’t have electricity at our allotment which means we have to constantly remember to buy gas and paraffin and not to run out. We have had disasters in the past. Costly ones at that!

Robert is the grafter of the partnership and is much happier building, digging, weeding and carrying than me.  I much prefer the growing work! Give me the cuttings or young plants and I’ll do the rest whether it’s in the greenhouse or out in the garden. We grow a bit of everything in order that we can support in particular our local flower show and keep our friends supplied with fresh vegetables. I started my gardening show career about five years ago after a triple heart by- pass, to keep me off the settee and get me out and about.

 I started with pelargoniums (that’s a swear word to some fuchsia growers) and just like joining our society I joined a Club and was fortunate enough to have a mentor who has guided me all the way. So far along the way that Robert and I were delighted last year to have the Best in Show at the National Pelargonium show in Pebworth.

I’m going to be penning the Newsletter together for the foreseeable future but I really do need your input. The more items I receive from members the better the reading for everyone. You don’t just want my ideas!

Here are my initial items we could include each month :

A monthly section on what we should be doing with our fuchsias.

Each month I will be inviting one of our members to write a few words as to what tasks we should be undertaking. March will be the turn of Past Presidents Ian Gillon and Dougie Neill.

A question and answer section, so if you have a question please drop me an email or give me a call and I will get in touch with our experts and get the answer. Remember no question is silly…..I’ll probably be wondering the same thing!

Reporting on our previous monthly meeting and keeping you up to date with all that is coming up in the near future.

Everyone enjoyed our last meeting when Mr. Jim Williams, President of the Scottish Branch of the National Vegetable Society delivered a very interesting talk on growing vegetables. Jim has scooped many awards for growing vegetables at both local and national level. He started with the basics and worked up to what is expected if you decide to put some exhibits on the show bench. Cleanliness in the greenhouse, correct propagation, potting on and hardening off are all of importance to get the best from your crops. I certainly took away a good few points to put into practice.

This is the 40th Anniversary of our society and a celebration lunch is being held on Sunday 8th March in West Linton Golf Club. Tickets are £20 each and this is open to members and partners. If you would like to join us please let Irene know. It would be great to see you at this very special event.

Meanwhile keep checking those plants you are overwintering. Like me you will probably be noticing those little green shoots starting to appear! Spring is indeed just around the corner, let’s hope it’s not a long corner! It won’t be long until we are bringing them back to life, ready to take cuttings and start the growing season again.

Who will take the top prize at our show on 12th September?

Our next meeting will be held on Sunday 23rd February in Fairmilehead Church Hall at 2pm. Our guest speaker is Mr. Keith Brand who will be advising us on how to grow Gladioli. He is a master at this so please put the date in your diary and pop along to join us.

We have now reset our Facebook page so have a look and get involved in the chat there. Next month some exciting news about our Website!

Well that’s all from me this month. It was mainly an introduction to what your Committee would like to see in the Newsletter but I am sure you have many ideas or items you would like included.

Please don’t be shy, let me know!

Yours in gardening

Tom Kirkland


Tele: 07538784940