Fabulous fuchsias will perk up your garden

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SOUTHSEA GREEN: Planning for the new season

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Fuchsias are just wonderful and there are types for every garden, yet I didn’t see any on the television coverage from the Chelsea Flower Show.

Wasn’t it great to see the programmes without adverts?

Did you think some of the show gardens were boring?

I agree with you. Many of the designers were more interested in reason, interpretations and theories with an almost obligatory addition of cow parsley so that they could include wild flowers.

You may have heard that wild flowers attract bees, butterflies and friendly insects.

Fuchsias attract all kinds of friendly creatures, including the elephant moth caterpillar, and bees just adore the nectar and pollen on the single-flowering varieties.

In a well-drained border we can grow hardy fuchsias and they flower from early June right up until the hard frosts arrive in November.

They are pruned at this time of year and all we have to do is cut out any branches which are dead and then snip off any side shoots without leaves.

Upright fuchsias are wonderful in tubs and in the centre of hanging baskets. Have a look at the varieties at your garden centre. There are hundreds.

Look at the flowers and choose the ones you love best and keep in mind that the small blooms provide lots of flowers over a very long time, whereas the huge flowering types produce massive blooms but not in such great numbers

Trailing fuchsias are ideal to cover the sides of containers and smother the fronts of wall baskets.

Fuchsias are easy to grow – they adore the sunshine for the greater part of the day. The compost needs to be well-drained and feeding is done using a quarter strength feed every time they are watered.

A liquid feed formulated for tomatoes is ideal because fuchsias love a high potash feed.

The main concern is a pest called fuchsia gall mite. This was a real problem two years ago and the advice at that time was to dig out the plants and burn them.

The symptoms were shrivelled shoots and miniature cauliflower growths at the top of the stems.

If this problem is seen in your garden, cut the plant right down to soil level 
and put all the prunings straight into a bucket to 
prevent the problem spreading.

After this spray the plant, the soil underneath the plant and the fence at the back with Plant Rescue for Ornamentals and repeat the spray three weeks afterwards.