Hello Fuchsia Friends!
Well, oh well, oh well! Who would have thought that I would be penning this article to you as I am in Day 4 of self isolation? Just when the weather decided to perk up too, however that can all change. Ironically as I’m typing in the office Jeremy Vine on BBC Radio 2 is playing Vera Lynn singing ‘We’ll meet again’ How poignant !!
Exhibitors of any kind whether it's fuchsias, pelargoniums, gladioli or vegetables must be wondering and asking themselves if it’s all worthwhile? So many of the early flower shows and exhibitions have already gone, Harrogate Spring Show, Chelsea and of course nearer to home Gardening Scotland has also fallen foul to this horrific virus we see sweeping the World.
Unfortunately our meetings for the rest of the season have had to be cancelled as is our trip to visit nurseries next week. However if we all dig deep things will surely return to normal, and oh what a party!
Our last meeting had “Mr. Gladioli” himself addressing us, Keith Brand gave a very interesting, informative and light hearted talk into the successful growing of these delightful flowers. I’m sure local garden centres sold out as many attending will be giving them a go. So much did Keith enjoy his time with us that he is now a member! I wonder if we will see some fuchsias with a card under the pot with his name on it at our Show?
We had a wonderful 40th Anniversary lunch at West Linton Golf Club earlier this month and it was a real get together. Lots of memories and stories of the Society since it was founded. Ron Tullock and Bonita Hesketh entertained us with lots of humour and wit and wished our Society well for the future.
My glass is always half full, just waiting for someone to refill it, so I’m going ahead growing as planned in the hope that some autumn shows including our own may survive.
Those of us in isolation have to think about things to do, we cannot vegetate, we have to get some form of exercise and fresh air and what better way to do it than in the garden or greenhouse?
I’m really lucky that I can travel from the house to our allotment by car and not be in contact with anyone. The only living things I see are the ewes with their newborn lambs in the fields around our allotment telling me that spring has arrived and that nature never lets us down.
Many thanks to Ian Gillon who has given us some tips on what we should be doing with our fuchsias in the greenhouse over the next few weeks.
It’s a prime time to be taking cuttings as the mother plants are now showing an adequate amount of growth. Here are four simple steps to increasing your number of plants for summer colour.
Step 1 Choose healthy stems and remove a 7cm long section from each with a sharp clean knife.
Step 2 Remove the lower leaves and side shoots, then cut clearly below the leaf joint. Cuttings should have one or two pairs of leaves.
Step 3 Fill a terracotta pot with seed and cuttings compost. Insert the cuttings around the edge of the pot. Water slightly and place (if possible) in a warm propagator. If not in a warm greenhouse or window ledge, covering with a plastic bag is another option if no greenhouse available.
Step 4 Move each cutting into its own small pot when fully rooted. Remember to label it as there is nothing more annoying as having a beautiful specimen and not knowing its name!
Many thanks to our team of experts who answered the following questions from members.
‘I have a small greenhouse and would like to try my hand at growing a few fuchsia plants for my local show. Which varieties would be good to start with?’
There are an abundance of varieties to choose from. Most popular ones on the show bench are Ernie, Lynne Patricia, Sophie Louise, Lyndon to name but a few. However you could look at the website of Roualeyn Fuchsia Specialists. They have a wonderful selection with pictures too! We do hope to see some of your entries in the Novice section of our Show. Good luck!
‘I have some fuchsia seeds. When should I sow them?’
This is an ideal time to sow them. Just take a small tray, fill with seed compost and water well. Sow the seeds on the top and cover lightly with fine crushed vermiculite. Keep the tray on a gentle bottom heat and they should come through in 2 – 3 weeks.
‘I don’t have the luxury of owning a greenhouse, is it still possible to grow fuchsias outside?’
Of course it is! Most fuchsias thrive outdoors whether in borders, tubs or hanging pots and baskets. However unless they are ‘Hardy’ varieties they are unlikely to survive real hard frost and would need some form of protection throughout the winter. Garden centres usually state on the label whether the variety is hardy or not. There are some real beauties of hardy varieties.
Keep your questions coming folks and we will endeavour to answer all of them.
Our first guest grower to tell us their favourite Fuchsia is our society Secretary Irene Birse.
My Favourite Fuchsia
This was a hard decision but I think Lambada would be my favourite. I received a cutting of it from my very dear friend Sam Sloan who was a founder member of the society. Sam is responsible for me growing and showing fuchsias. I grew on the cutting and with Sam’s knowledge and expertise I won my first prize with Lambada. After that I was hooked on showing fuchsias.
Lambada is a lovely plant to grow. Easy to shape, self branching and over the years has been classed a hardy fuchsia. I can concur as I had planted some fuchsias in my rockery one of them being Lambada. They were left there over winter and we had a very cold winter -24 degrees and two feet of snow for two weeks and in the spring Lambada was the only one to pop through.
Well folks that’s it for this month. I do hope that next time I write to you we are in a better situation.
Although we can’t meet up why not keep chatting on our Facebook page? Why not send me some pictures of what you are doing with your fuchsias?
Meanwhile please take care of yourselves, your family and friends. Please stay safe and follow to the letter all the recommendations put to us!
Yours in gardening
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Tele : 07538784940