August is the month when we have the fuchsia competition, and this year was no exception. The only difference was, we had an external judge this time. Dominic Shields did the judging and gave us a potted history of his career. He has been a frequent visitor to Greenfingers Gardening Club in the past. After horticultural college he did various gardening related jobs before opening his own nursery, but it eventually failed due to the big companies undercutting prices. He did two jobs to keep his family fed , but eventually had to stop and take stock of where his life was going. His wife suggested he did gardening and landscaping, which he loved anyway, and it was a great success. In fact, it grew so much, he had to stop taking on new clients. His stepson joined him and they shared the work, then separated the estates where they worked into two, each with their own geographical area.
|Dominic examines a fuchsia.|
During the tea break he examined the plants carefully, before deciding on which were first, second and third place. As he announced them he gave the reasons why he had chosen them in that order.
First place went to Christine Cregan, second to Hazel Smith and third to Mary Tydeman .
|From Lt. to Rt: Mary Tydeman, Hazel Smith and Christine Cregan.|
One of the exhibits was a very dead plant which was just a dried twig (Peter did say to return them dead or alive!). The grower said it had just popped out of its pot one day, and on examination had no roots. This had happened to several of the other members too. Dominic examined it closely, looking for signs of Vine Weavel, but found none. Peter thought it may be due to the presence of the pot in which the cutting had been grown in. This is supposed to allow the roots to grow through it, but that may not have happened. Discussion followed as to whether it would be a good idea to cut the material away before planting, but Dominic said this would be risky, as it may damage the roots.
I have just had a thought, it may have been a squirrel which excavated it, looking for somewhere to bury his nuts (or to dig them up), destroying the roots in the process. I have found a few up-rooted plants in my garden, accompanied by a peanut in its shell sometimes. Anyway, that's my theory!
|A very dead Fuchsia!,|
Peter gave a brief report about his open garden, which had been the previous day. Not a good idea, they realised afterwards, much too tiring. Anyway, they had about 100 plus visitors and raised about £550 to £600 for charity. His lawn needed a "pick me up" and somebody recommended liquid Miracle Grow sprayed on with a hose-end applicator. He used it about three times, and the lawn was greatly improved as a result, much to his great relief. I must try it on mine.
He is going to trial some new plants over winter, especially a new Petunia called Zero Petunia, which is supposed to be winter hardy. We will see!