2 May 2014

April 2014 meeting.

Before the meeting proper started, Peter gave out some notices, the main one being that next months meeting will be earlier than usual, as the last Monday in the month is a bank holiday. Therefore, the date is May 19th. He is hoping the weather is fine so we can have it outside, as Matthews' nursery is coming to bring plants for sale to us, instead of us having to travel there. There are contingency plans in place in case of it being wet.  It will also be an opportunity for all of us to have a chat to each other, and to get to know the new members, of which there are several.  He also reminded us that some members hadn't paid for the next outing, and the date was fast approaching.  We do get a little lie in on that day, as we do not meet until 9.30 am, later than usual.  It is the "Garden Centre" trip, starting off at Great Compton, the date is 10th May.
The competition fuchsias were available for sale, the variety this year is "Garden News", a hardy upright  plant with double salmon-pink and magenta flowers.

He then introduced  Dave and John , who are members of several Fuchsia societies and show their plants regularly. They have talked at Greenfingers' meetings several times before, and their talks are always entertaining. This was no exception, a lot of useful tips were given and it was as entertaining as ever. They bought several display fuchsias to illustrate the various ways of using the plants, bushes, standards and in hanging baskets, also a lot of small plants for sale. Dave has bred a hardy fuchsia called "My Grandchildren" which should be going into the garden centres soon. He has also won a prize for the largest flower head with this  one:
Fuchsia" Windhopper"
They bought a selection of flower heads to show some of the different ones that are available, varying from this huge one to the tiny single triphylla.
A selection of different flower heads.
Propagators were demonstrated, with different ways to make them, recycling where possible. The simplest one was made of a cutting in a small 2 inch pot, placed inside a clear plastic bag, and then another 2 inch pot on top.
A selection of recycled propagators.
They advised rooting several cuttings & growing them on together to make a good, large plant in one season. Typically, I had just rooted cuttings of "Autumnal" and "Tom West"together, which I don't usually do, but decided to try this time, and spent some considerable time separating them & potting them up individually, only a few days before the meeting!  I may put them back together when they need re-potting.  Composts, feeding and watering were discussed, also the use of moss added to the base of the pot when potting on, was advised. This maintains moisture, although they stressed that more fuchsias were lost to over-watering than under-watering, so not to overdo it. When they took cuttings, they only gave a short spray of water to each one. They feed with half strength feed at each watering, rather than feeding every week or so. Fuchsias are heavy feeders but are not fussy as to the type of feed they have, Tomorite or Miracle Grow were favoured by them.
While Dave was demonstrating how they took cuttings, I asked them about cutting off the netting of commercial plugs, this is an on-going debate in the club (see August blog or November newsletter).  They said they always cut theirs off, as they are sure it does inhibit the growth of the plants, but it needs to be done carefully so it does not cause any damage.
Dave selling the plants in the tea break.
Another tip they gave us, was how to get a trailing fuchsia that is not trailing, to do so. Quite simply, they advised adding a clothes peg to the lower leaves. Within a week, they should trail better.  I have tried this a few days ago on my hanging basket of hardy fuchsias, I'm sure you will recognise the varieties. Much to my surprise, nobody has commented on it yet, perhaps they think it should be like that!
Hilda's "Peg Fuchsias"?
I will report on its' progress in the next blog and newsletter.
Unfortunately, John was not feeling too well and needed to sit down for some of the time, although he and Dave still made a good team. We wish him better.
All too soon the meeting was over, although I am sure that Dave & John could have carried on, were it not for the time constraints of the hall. We all thoroughly enjoyed the evening.

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