Showing posts with label Gardening. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gardening. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

A Review Of Hardy Fuchsia In The Garden

 


I was wandering around the garden this morning taking stock of how the garden plants have come through this scorching summer with its drought and intense summer sun.

I noticed that most of the colour in the garden right now is coming from two mature hardy fuchsias, we have one white and one purple and white. 

In fact, they stand out as doing extremely well, with healthy green leaves, no pest damage and a bounty of flowers and I have not watered them once all summer.

I am not sure that I have ever looked at them so fondly. Many other flowers have gone over so quickly this year suffering from extreme summer weather conditions, but these beauties are looking healthy and gorgeous!

One is planted in our front garden and which is west facing and the other is in our east-facing back garden. Both are on heavy clay soil, though the one at the back is on a slope and the one at the front is very close to the gravel drive and path so they both get better drainage. 



In this article, the care of Fuchsia is related to the hardy Fuchsia planted in the ground. Tender Fuchsia and annual Fuchsia do require different care so do check what kind you own. 

In addition to growing Fuchsia, I do enjoy taking photographs of them and making them into products so I have included a couple for you.


Position Of Hardy Fuchsia In The Garden

Fuchsias like to grow in sunshine or a little partial or dappled shade. However, a full south-facing position where there is hot sun all day would be too much for them.

They do like to be in a sheltered spot. If they are not you may find that the delicate flowers will be blown away by strong winds which would be a shame. 

Personally, I have found east-west planting the best. 


Soil Conditions, Feeding And Watering Hardy Fuchsia

The care of this lovely plant is relatively straightforward. Fuchsia does like well-drained soil and I did wonder if they would survive on our very heavy clay.

However, with one being on a slope where drainage is better and the other being close to a gravel drive they have thrived. 

As long as drainage is good they can cope with most types of soil.

I don't feed my Fuchsias as our soil is very rich already but you can give a feed in Spring.

A mature plant in the ground should not need watering much and I never water ours. Even in this summer's drought and 40-degree Celcius heat conditions, I did not water them due to a hosepipe ban and they have not suffered.

This summer was an exception with the persistent heat and searing sun, so if there had not been a ban on using water, I would likely have watered them deeply about once a fortnight. 


Propagating Hardy Fuchsia

Hardy Fuchsia can have hardwood cuttings taken in the autumn. All we need to do is to take a cutting of woody stem a few inches long. Avoid any new green shots for these cuttings. 

Under a pair of leaves make a clean horizontal cut that is the base of the cutting. Across the top make a diagonal sloping cut at about 45 degrees, which is the top of the cutting. The sloping cut is so that any water will run off rather than sitting in the cutting and causing rot. 

Then simply gently insert the cuttings into a gritty compost around the edge of a pot.

They do need to be in a place where it is frost free over the winter and cool. They should not be allowed to dry out completely or become waterlogged. A cool greenhouse is perfect. If like me you do not have one then place in a cold frame or even on a potting table in a sheltered spot with some protection from heavy rain would be fine. If it is very cold some fleece protection may be wise. 

Once you see new shoots in the springtime we can then pot up each individual plant into its own pot. After that, in summer they can be planted in the garden or into a larger pot. 

Always plant out in early summer whether it is a cutting or a newly bought plant. This gives them the best start in life. Any later than that makes them more susceptible to cold and they may not thrive. Plant a few inches deeper than the base and keep well watered for the first season.


Pruning Hardy Fuchsia

Little pruning is required most of the year as most of the flowers will fall off naturally as they go over but you can deadhead flowers regularly if you wish. I tend not to bother with deadheading hardy Fuchsias. 

Once new growth starts to appear in spring we can start pruning. Use clean sharp tools like those Wolf secateurs. Old stems can be cut back to a pair of buds relatively low down on the plant.

 Do not worry if it appears much of the plant has been killed by frosts, this can happen in a cold winter or very cold areas. Most of the time it will grow back, simply cut away all the dead stems low down in Spring to allow for new growth and be patient. 

We should never ever prune in autumn or winter as this opens the plant up to disease and rot. Leave it be until the spring. 



Hardy Fuchsia Flowering Times

I love the abundance of exquisite flowers that hang down so gracefully and somewhat bashfully gently swaying in the breeze.

Our shrubs flower from May to October and are mainly pollinated here by bees. In their native central and south America, they are pollinated by the hummingbird. So we do gain a very long flowering time with a Hardy Fuchsia.

Many have purple flowers which attract the hummingbird but selective breeding has produced many variations of colours including red, violet, purple, pink and white ones and combinations of all those colours. 

Our purple and white one never flowers in winter, is often affected by frosts and needs cutting to the ground in spring. However, our white one near the house always remains and is now five feet high and does often in a milder winter flower most of the year, which is just lovely. 



Fuschia Winter Care

I do little with my hardy Fuchsias in the ground. They are both hardy and have always been planted into the soil.  

I do like to give them mulch to give some winter protection but they have always come through each year. 

I will only fleece the little cuttings I took this year that are in pots as they are rather more exposed to cold conditions. 

If I had hardy Fuchsias in pots then I would fleece over both pot and the plant to provide them with more protection. I would also move into the sunniest, most protected position I had in the garden for winter. 

Tender Fuchsia by contrast will certainly need protection over winter, at the very least a layer or two of fleece and mulch and may need bringing inside. 

Fuchsias can be troubled by a few pests and diseases but I have never found any to be a problem though I do garden organically and allow natural pest control. Slugs appear to ignore them as well which is a huge bonus in my garden.

To learn more about Fuchsia take a look at this informative and beautiful book.

 

 

So if you like a pretty, mainly trouble free plant, that is easy to care for and propagate and looks wonderful all summer and into Autumn you may love a hardy Fuchsia. She can be in the garden or a large pot and will give many months of joy with her gorgeous bountiful pretty flowers and visiting wildlife. I would never be without at least one Fuchsia in our garden. 


More Gardening Articles


















Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Reviewing Ten Ways To Keep Garden Plants Alive During A Drought

 




 We have been going through a period of heatwaves with 35-40 degrees Celsius and now have drought conditions that are unusual for where I live in the UK. 

I love our garden and have found that I need to change the way I garden under these conditions. Many of the plants I love to grow are not drought tolerant and while this may need to change if we have frequent droughts in the years to come, for now I want to try to keep them all alive.

However, it is also very important in a rough situation not to drain necessary water from the system so as to preserve as much as possible both inside and outside our homes. 

So here are a few tips I have picked up from other gardeners and my own experience


1. Water Plants Deeply Once A Week.

Doing this is a much better approach than watering a little every day. We need the water to reach the roots not just wet the top few inches which will just evaporate in the heat anyway. 

Always water either very early morning or late in the day when the sun is fading and there will be less moisture loss. Put your finger into the soil to check how far down the soil is wet. 




2. Use Shade For Plants.

For plants in containers move them into the shade wherever possible. Place plants in pots under the shade of a tree or by a north-facing wall of a house or garden shed or garage. That way they will be shaded for more of the day. Group plants in pots together. Sharing space will help each other stay cooler. Also if you can place smaller pots above bigger pots any water that drips through will help to water plants below, thus saving more water. 





3. Make Shade For Plants

If the containers cannot be moved into the shade try to provide them with shade. I like to use the shade of other plants, especially those who don't mind the sun so much but even an open umbrella over them, a patio umbrella or a cardbox box strategically placed will help. 


4. Use Large Drip Tray Containers.

For plants that do not mind being in standing water and are in pots, put any container that holds water under the pot.

I find that these drip trays that we often use for houseplants are good to hold some water underneath our garden plants in pots, but not so much that the plants then get waterlogged. I tend to use larger sizes to hold more water.



5. Prioritise Plants For Water.

Concentrate on the plants that you know need more water such as roses and also plants that look dry, dropping leaves or droopy. Prioritise plants in pots and perennials over annuals. Plants that are more suited to Mediterranean or hotter environments and those like Bottlebrush, Lavender, Thyme and Rosemary will cope better than roses and new cuttings or young plants. I rarely water any existing shrubs or trees in the ground, the hope is that their deep roots will seek water low down.  




6. Leave The Lawn.

Do not water the lawn- most lawns are robust and will recover once we start getting rain. Also, our lawn is now mainly brown and not growing at all so there is no point trying to mow it. When autumn comes we will feed it and take care of it but for now the best thing is to leave it. 


7. Use Watering Spikes.

Use some of these water spikes devices. They release water slowly into the pot. If you make a hole first deep into the pot. Connect a water bottle to the spike, turn upside down and very gently insert the spike into the hole so that you do not break it or injure any roots. The water will seep to where the roots are rather than wasting water at the top of the pot. I use them for when we go on holiday and I prefer the terracotta ones, although you do need to take more care of them being more fragile, they do a better job in my opinion. Now they are valuable for simply giving a gentle water source. A litre bottle should last about a week to ten days.



8. Stop Feeding Plants.

Do not feed plants as this encourages growth. I am finding that many of my plants are going to seed much more quickly and some are already adopting their autumn colours. I think this may be a way of ensuring their survival. If they are under stress they want to make seed quickly in case they die and by losing their leaves they need less energy.




9. Use Rain Barrels Or Water Butts.

Install a Water Butt or Rain Barrel to prepare for any future drought. The water butt will fill up when we do have rain in winter and then can be used in a summer heatwave or drought when water is in short supply.


 

10. Use "Grey Water" To Water Some Plants. 

Watering plants If there is a ban on using hosepipes or using house water can be difficult. Instead, we can use water from handwashing clothes or washing up water on our plants. Always allow the water to cool down first though.

However, never use this kind of "grey water" on fruit, vegetable or herb plants. Do be careful though as some plants may be sensitive to chemicals in your grey water. This is another reason a water butt will be useful.




People say you can always replace plants but they are expensive and this is not always possible when a plant has a special memory or was gifted to you by a loved one.

It breaks my heart to see them suffering in the heat and drought so if I can do these small things to help them I certainly will. So far I have to say they are doing remarkably well and I do feel while I have had one or two losses that most will come through this and recover once we get some good rain.


It may be in the future that we will have to adapt our gardens even further and grow more drought-resistant plants but we will see. So for now I will do what I can to keep them alive while keeping the drain on the water systems to a minimum.

In addition, while caring for our plants never forget the wildlife and do leave out a shallow bowl with a few pebbles and water in it to help hedgehogs, bees and other insects get through the drought and a birdbath to help the birds care for their feathers, bathe and drink

As a final thought and this may be unpopular among people who love the sunshine and hot weather, I am hoping for lots of gentle steady rain very soon!! 


More Gardening Articles






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Review Of Wolf Garten Shears For The Garden


Good quality tools are necessary when working in the garden. I prefer to use manual tools whenever possible in our garden. I find it more peaceful to use manual tools, better for wildlife and much quieter for ourselves and our neighbours. I also feel more connected somehow to our garden plants. 

Sometimes power tools are necessary for the garden, but using manual tools rather than electric ones is an even greater consideration now for us that electricity prices are so high. 

We find these Wolf Garten Shears easy to use with no energy costs at all, apart from your own physical power. 

We do like tools that are easy to use and do not require too much effort. I would also rather buy quality tools that suit our needs and aim to buy tools that are longer lasting.  



Wolf Garten Shears

Wolf is one of the brands I trust for gardening tools and are one of the brand of tools I use on a regular basis to keep our garden looking at its best. We also have secateurs of the Wolf brand and you can read my Review Of Wolf Garden By Pass Secateurs here. They have also proved a really great purchase. 

The shears are used in our garden for cutting back shrubs, perennials and herbs such as lavender and geraniums where we need to cut a larger area of foliage. We use them to cut back annual flowers and any straggly growth as well. 

Important aspects of garden shears are that they are sharp and cut cleanly. That it is easy to use with an ergonomic grip, a buffer to reduce jarring and pressure on our hands and wrists and it has a smooth action. In my experience, the Wolf Garten shears excel in all these areas. 




I do think for the price and the quality that Wolf Garten Shears are excellent shears.


Cutting Back And Pruning Plants With Shears

 Perennials require cutting back in late autumn after flowering has finished and when they are dying back. Equally, we can leave them until the following Spring. A Spring cutting back means that we leave the hollow stems and cover for our wildlife.

 


 Lavender is best cut back after flowering but it is important to not cut back into old wood as it may not regrow. We need to cut so you can still see green shoots. This cutting back ensures a more compact shrub that will have the best chance of flowering well the following year and we can also use the cut flower stems as decoration in the home. 

Hebes can be cut back lightly or some can be shaped into topiary-like balls as you prefer. 

Our Laurel hedge gets cut back a few times a year to keep it looking neat and manageable. 

Geraniums need cutting back after flowering. If we do this it tidies it up and also there is an opportunity that it may flower again. It will look bare for a week or two but the new regrowth is fresh green and lovely. 

 


 For any perennial you are cutting back it is important to cut close to the crown of the plant but above any new growth. We need a tool that will cut cleanly and not tear the plant.  

I love the way that these shears cleanly and easily slice through our thick lavender borders and cut our small conifers cleanly. In my experience, they do not pull or injure the plants. We do not want to be tearing or pulling on plants that need cutting back and these shears just make this job so much easier and quicker to complete. 




For a long time, I used my Grandads shears for these cutting jobs. While I love them because they were my Grandad's and are a link to a wonderful man I never knew as he died shortly after I was born, they are not easy shears to use for a long time. 

I will always love and treasure my Grandad's shears, when I hold them I feel a part of history and closeness to my Grandad. In addition, all these decades on they are still in great working order. However, I do believe these Wolf Garten shears offer an added level of comfort and features that I do appreciate these days! 

 


Good Qualities Of Wolf Garten Shears

  • When I use my Wolf Garten Shears I find they are so much easier on my hands and arms and are of good solid quality. I find they are the nearest shears to the robust, quality and feel of my Grandad's shears but with the added level of modern comfort!

  • Nonstick coated blades mean they rust a lot less and are much better when using them to cut plants with sticky sap. I clean them with a damp cloth and sometimes WD40 and a cloth. 

  • In my experience, they cut stems cleanly and sharply which is much better for the plants. 

  • Comfortable handles make the task of cutting back so much easier. They are simple to use and not hard on the hands or arms. 

  • They have a solid quality comfortable feel to the product which is important to me.  

  •  Good bright points of orange-red colour mean they are not easily lost in the garden. This is essential for me as I am always putting down tools in the garden, getting distracted and forgetting where I left them! 




There is a range of Wolf Garten shears, some normal sized for general cutting jobs, others about half the size developed for topiary hedging and smaller work, it all depends on your garden and what you need your shears for. 


Here Is A Selection Of Wolf Garten Shears




I personally would not attempt to cut a very large hedge with these shears but for tasks such as cutting back herbs and perennials, smaller hedges, smaller conifers, some topiary, annual flowers and general everyday pruning these manual Wolf Garten Shears are a great tool to purchase and wonderful quality addition to a useful garden tool collection.  

 

More Gardening Articles





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

The Asparagus Fern As A Houseplant Reviewed.


 

We have an asparagus fern that was my Mums and it must be over 30 years old now. I love its gorgeous ferny delicate leaves which arch very gracefully. It has a versatile habit where it can be trained up supports or hung down from a high level to cascade. I also like that despite not always being pampered, it survives and thrives. 

It can grow to be a large houseplant but can also be pruned easily to keep it a smaller size if required. Personally, I like to see it grow to its full potential and to be a really lovely graceful delicate looking yet strong plant. 

We do however need some knowledge of its needs and care to keep it happy.


What Is The Asparagus Fern?

Ours is the large ferny arching Asparagus densiflorus ‘Sprengeri Group’with long thorny stems carrying delicate feathery leaves on long flexible stems. Often known as asparagus fern or lace fern. The other ones are the upright fox tail type fern or the sickle fern.  

Well despite its name it is not an asparagus though it shares the look of asparagus. You certainly cannot eat it as it is mildly toxic to humans and animals when ingested.

Also, it is not part of the fern family despite looking like a fern. It is in fact part of the Lily family and originates in South Africa in the dense tropical forests found there. 


Asparagus fern growing on supports


How To Care For An Asparagus Fern

As with all houseplants, it is important to know the conditions where they grow in the wild. As this plant comes from a warm humid semi-shaded environment we need to try to replicate that as far as we can in our own homes.

So it is best to keep this plant somewhere out of direct sunlight as the sun will burn the leaves. It needs some light through or the leaves will turn yellow. Semi shade is best. 

It must be watered regularly in the spring and summer just to keep it moist. Be careful not to waterlog it as that will rot the plant and may be the one thing this plant will not survive. 

I also find it likes a misting every so often in the warmer weather to simulate the tropical forest environment. I use a specific plant mister to do this with lukewarm water. I also keep ours in a pot inside another larger pot part filled with pebbles and keep the pebbles wet to increase the humidity. 

These houseplants do not like being in a draught or close to a radiator as it is too drying for them. 

If the leaves go yellow at the base this is quite normal and you can just snip them off. However, if leaves that are higher up go pale or yellow it is most likely a lack of water. 

These houseplants can grow large, though due to their habit do not seem to dominate a room. They can however easily be cut back with Secateurs or maybe a strong pair of scissors. I have cut ours back several times and it comes to no harm. 


Delicate soft ferny leaves on Asparagus fern house plant


I only repot when it seems to be getting potbound so perhaps once every three to four years in a good quality houseplant or general purpose compost.

Do wear a thick long sleeved top and sturdy gloves when handling this plant as the thorns are sharp and hard to avoid when repotting. I also tend to loosely tie up the plant with a soft twine when repotting to prevent stray tendrils from touching me.  

The leaves may go brown if touched too much so best to avoid the chances of doing that. 

If you make mistakes though in my experience it does bounce back which is a good thing in a houseplant. We are going through a heatwave with temperatures of around 40 degrees Celsius and no air conditioning and no matter what we cannot keep the house at optimal conditions for this plant and it is developing pale leaves as you can see from the photographs. However, with a little care and attention when the heatwave dissipates it will recover.  


Green healthy leaves and pale dry leaves on Asparagus fern

Asparagus Fern Pests and Diseases

It is generally a pretty healthy resilient plant as long as it has the right conditions and care. 

Spider mite is the only bug that really affects this houseplant and it is usually when it is too dry. You will see like a white spider's web over the plant. It is best to use a spider mite-specific insecticide in this case. 

If you have waterlogged the plant with overwatering then it may rot from the roots and this is hard to come back from. You can only try repotting in a good quality compost and hope the plant will survive. 

Pale coloured leaves usually mean it is too hot or too dry or both. In the recent heatwave when the house was hot, even in usually cool rooms no matter what we did,  ours has developed a few pale leaves and I am attempting to help by watering and misting. 

If the leaves go brown really all we can do is snip them off. The plant will generally survive as long as not all leaves are brown but may take a while to thrive. However, it is a sign you need to step up the watering and misting. 

 

Where To Display Asparagus Fern

This houseplant can grow very large up to about 1 meter or just over 3 feet tall and wide. It is a beautiful and showy plant but needs placing with care

I have found over the years living with this plant that it likes it best when either placed so that it can hang down from the top of a high cupboard or shelf or as we have it now so that it can climb upwards on supports. It has very long whippy stems carrying both sharp thorns and graceful delicate ferny leaves. These can easily be trained onto a support or allowed to hang down. 

Left without these options it tends to flop and sprawl all over the ground which is not so pretty or practical in a house. 


Long flexible stems on Asparagus Fern


It does not like direct sun either, bearing in mind it lives in a forest in the wild we need to offer it semi-shade and as high humidity as possible. 

Another point to bear in mind is that although the leaves are so soft and beautiful it also has extremely sharp thorns that from first-hand experience can really hurt! So it is best for everyone especially children and pets if we keep it so that you cannot easily touch it. 

The other rather strange reason for not touching this plant is that if you handle it too much the leaves can easily go brown.

It is often suggested to place it in a bathroom which would be ideal regarding indirect sunlight and humidity but we do need to be careful of the fact it is mildly toxic and thorns in an environment where we are showering or bathing! So if it is in a bathroom make sure no one can touch it. 

In my parent's house, it lived happily in our dining room on a large support on a stool behind a cabinet. There as a child I could not reach it but we could all admire it and it makes quite a statement.  

 We also have it in the corner of our dining room behind a furniture piece where it gets light but not direct sun, where we can enjoy it safely.

 You can display this plant as a standalone or it looks great in a group of plants with contrasting leaves and colours. 

It is unlikely to flower in most homes so you need to enjoy it for its leaf colour and form primarily. 


Beautiful ferny leaves
 

 Asparagus fern makes for a very beautiful large houseplant that with some knowledge can be kept happy as a long-lived plant in most homes. We love ours and will keep it as long as possible. While probably not a beginner plant, with just a little knowledge it is easy to be successful with this gorgeous houseplant.

 

 More House Plant Reviews

 Reviewing How To Take Care Of Your House Plants On Vacation

Swiss Cheese Plant Or Monstera Reviewed As A House Plant And Fashion Trend




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:
Review This Reviews Quick View Home Page

The Review This Contributors



Cynthia SylvestermouseCynthia SylvestermouseDawn Rae BDawn Rae BMary Beth - mbgphotoMary Beth - mbgphotoBrite-IdeasBrite-IdeasWednesday ElfWednesday ElfOlivia MorrisOlivia MorrisRenaissanceWoman2010RenaissanceWomanLou16Lou16The Savvy AgeThe Savvy AgeMargaret SchindelMargaret SchindelRaintree AnnieRaintree AnnieTreasures by BrendaTreasures by BrendaSam MonacoSam MonacoTracey BoyerTracey BoyerBarbRadBarbRadBev OwensBev OwensBuckHawkBuckHawkDecoratingforEventsDecoratingforEventsHeather426Heather426Coletta TeskeColetta TeskeMissMerFaeryMissMerFaeryMickie_GMickie_G



Review This is Dedicated to the
Memory of Our Beloved Friend and Fellow Contributor

Susan DeppnerSusan Deppner


We may be apart, but
You Are Not Forgotten





“As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from purchases.” Disclosure Statement

X