Whilst I spent the last few days enjoying the summer holidays with my grandchildren, I took a visit to a local garden centre and a chill ran down my spine. They have fully stocked their shelves with daffodil and narcissi bulbs! I know the early bird catches the worm, but no, I am not going to think now about those yellow flowers peeping through the snow bringing with them the first breath of spring, whilst I bask in the 23 degrees sunshine, during the middle of August. There is enough time to plant daffodils over the next few months and there is no shortage of them! Instead, let us go into the garden and choose a summer flower for the weekend. I found a bush that is now in full flower with long racemes of small trumpet shaped flowers called the cape fuchsia, it should be more common as it is very easy to grow, the trouble is, we love roses with all their diseases and insects, even though this plant will flower from July to October with total neglect and not show any signs of disease!
Flower of the week from YOUR garden to YOUR table: 22nd Aug – 28th Aug.
Botanical Name: Phygelius Capensis or Phygelis aequalis, Common Name: Cape Figwort or Cape Fuchsia
The plant originates from South Africa and is classed in the text books as not fully hardy but I think by now it has acclimatised in the U.K. I have had one for years and it has kept well over the winter with its semi evergreen leaves. I suppose it can also be explained with the mild winters we have been experiencing and the fact that my garden is quite well sheltered.
Buying and planting guide.
The fuchsia plant can be bought as a potted plant at any time of the year, in garden centres, and large mail order companies like Van Meuwen will sell them during the Autumn. It has a terrible suckering habit which needs to be kept in check but will work as an advantage to you if you don’t own this plant yet. Go and dig near a friends bush and you should find a long root like the one in the picture which has small feeding roots all over and will easily transplant. One plant of mine suckered through under a hedge and being a bit dark there it fought its way through the hedge and sent out flower shoots around 2m high! The normal height is around a metre and it can easily be trimmed shaped to the type of bush you desire.
Although the normal fuchsia colour is red it is also available in salmon, apricot and yellow. An exciting variety is Devils Tears which has dark red trumpets with yellow throats.
Cutting Guide: Cut the stems for internal decoration when the lower ones are open, the higher ones will continue to open in the vase. The fuchsia plant should quickly grow new shoots with new flowers.
Have an enjoyable gardening week!