This was my fuschia buying weekend.  I love those blousy flowers, in small doses.  I therefore have just three pots of them.  I used to add other bedding plants into the mix, but over the years I realised that it was the fuschias that I really appreciated most so decided to concentrate on them.

I know I should over-winter my plants each year to save having to buy each spring, but although I have tried, I really haven’t had much success.  So now I don’t bother and have the pleasure of visiting my favourite fuschia nursery on an annual basis.  They can have the worry of keeping the temperature at 50ºF during the winter, and I can have the pleasure of choosing new plants each year.  Like many of its type, the nursery is a small one family affair.  The owner used to exhibit at flower shows, but as he gets older has decided just to sell from the nursery.  Each year, I phone up to check opening times, hoping that they are still in business and so far, they are :).

I always try to buy plants that are not yet in flower – why should the nursery have the benefit of the flower that I am paying for?  Of course this means that I need to rely on the nursery for information, but he labels them well so it is not a problem.  As with the rest of my gardening I leave out the yellow (or in the case of fuschias, the orange) section of the colour wheel, and then it really doesn’t matter which colours I put in the same pot, as they will all work well together.  I find that buying larger plants is much better value for money.  They are only slightly more expensive than the smaller ones and you get much more, both flower and leaf, for your money.

The lovely thing about planting in pots is that it is much less work that digging up earth.  The compost stays in the pots over winter, and all that I have to do is top up the levels, making sure that there is still about an inch between the top of the compost and the top of the pot for watering.  Then I make the planting hole with my hands by pushing the compost to one side, the plant goes into the hole and then the compost is pushed back and job done.  One trick the grower told me is that if you have hardy fuschias, you should plant them about an inch below the level at which they grew in the pot.  This will give them better protection against the winter weather.  Another trick that you may find useful if you want an imposing pot and don’t want to pay out for a very big one (or have to fill it with compost and / or filler such as polystyrene) is to place your pot on top of an identical inverted one as is shown in my picture.  This way you can see the flowers much more easily and they are less vulnerable to canine encounters.