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Shalbourne & District Gardening Club

Join the Gardening Club and make friends while learning new skills

We meet in the village Hall at 7:30pm on the first Tuesday of most months - so why not put it in your diary? You can come on a one-off basis £3 a session for non-members), or join for only £10 a year.

We normally have 10 visiting speakers a year, giving talks, tips and presentations (usually very entertaining and well-illustrated) on a wide variety of topics.

The club holds an annual fund-raising plant sale - usually in late April/early May - to help keep the membership fees as low as possible.

For topical, practical advice, visit the RHS

Chairman Jenni Blake jennikewlogic@aol.com

For reports on previous Garden Club sessions, click here

 

 

SHALBOURNE & DISTRICT GARDENING CLUB

 

JUNE MEETING

Before you start to grow a standard fuchsia you need to know how tall you want it to be, said John Nicolass of the Bristol Fuchsia Society. John, who has been growing standards for 38 years, told us that the reason is simple - a small standard can be grown in one season, but a larger standard needs two or more to reach the height you want and to produce a good head of flowers.

To start from scratch you need a well rooted cutting – never take off the main leaves but pinch out the side shoots – three leaved plants are best for standards. (The other, far quicker alternative to growing your own large standard is to buy what is called a fuchsia "whip" from a garden centre in April or May.) Pot on as soon as the roots reach the bottom of the pot; rather like a set of Russian dolls you need to gradually increase the pot size.

The first decision is which variety of fuchsia to choose. For a small standard you want an upright bush type which produces single flowers which are not too large. Recommended varieties include Checkerboard, Celia Smedley, Heidi Ann and Pink Fantasia. Buy plug plants from your local garden centre, or visit a specialist fuchsia nursery_ most of them have rooted cuttings available for collection in mid-January.  If you buy your fuchsias in January to March you will need to provide a frost free environment for them. Alternatively, you may choose to buy more developed plants online for postal delivery in March from specialist fuchsia nurseries. Whichever method you use to source your fuchsias for standards it is essential that the growing tip has NOT been pinched out

John described how to look after your plants, how to pinch out the top growth to produce a good head, what compost to use, preferred fertiliser (Vitax Q4, you want flowers not too much foliage) and don’t over water because they don’t like wet feet. There is a lot of information for successful growing online from the RHS and various Fuchsia Society sites. For the more experienced grower John showed his examples of twisted stem, plaited stem and multi stem standards.

Other tips included:

·         Watch out for Vine Weevils – they love fuchsias.

·         Keep your standards from being blown over– use a double pot system with the outer pot well weighted.

·         Protect from frost.

·         Grow white flowered varieties in shade to prevent the flowers turning pink.

·         Look out for botrytis which is recognisable as a grey mould on the stems and foliage, and rustwhich shows as reddish brown ring markings on the upper leaf surface. The underside of the leaf will have what look like orangey brown spores. Treat immediately.

John concluded his talk with slides of superb standard specimens across the range of show class standards – mini 15-25cm, ¼ standards 25-46cm, ½standards 46-76cm and full standards 76-107cm.

After patiently answering many questions John was thanked by Lucy Walton on behalf of the members.

 

Our meeting on the 3rd July will be the Potato weigh-in with quiz, drinks and nibbles.

 

Jenni Blake