Gardening / Unloved, but lovely to grow

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Fuchsias… despite growing well in Canberra, fuchsias are out of fashion with gardeners, which is a pity.
Fuchsias… despite growing well in Canberra, fuchsias are out of fashion with gardeners, which is a pity.
UNLIKE today, fuchsias were all the rage in the late ‘60s and ‘70s and, like the large fuchsia nurseries abounding in NSW and Victoria, I used to grow thousands of fuchsias with more than 350 varieties for sale in Narrabundah.

Despite growing well in Canberra, fuchsias are out of fashion with gardeners, which is a pity.

As the plant loses its leaves in late autumn, gardeners see just bare sticks and pull them out, assuming they are dead. Unless in a very sheltered position, they will lose their leaves but come spring, as in our garden at present, leaves appear as the days warm.

Fuchsias originate in central and South America and tolerate a wide variety of climates. The ideal position is morning sun until about 10am, followed by filtered shade (70 per cent shadecloth is ideal) the rest of the day. However, too much shade will produce long, leggy plants with few flowers.

Fuchsias need well-drained soil to which organic matter is added and mulched with organic material such as lucerne.

They are ideal for hanging gardens, but must never be allowed to dry out. A gentle shower with a fine-mist spray is beneficial on very hot days.

When first potted up or in the ground, apply Maxicrop Seaweed Plant Nutrient to promote root growth. When established, apply liquid Neutrog Seamungus (a combination of seaweed and chook poo) every couple of weeks from now until April.

In spring, as the new shoots start appearing, prune out any dead stems. Pinching the ends off lanky growth will encourage more branches and flowers in the growing season.

The Geranium and Fuchsia Society Spring Display is at St James Church Hall, Curtin, 9.30pm-4pm, Saturday, November 22.

WITH sprinklers banned from 9am to 6pm, it’s good to water lawns in the cool of the evening, especially on days over 30C, when the evaporation rate can exceed 150-200mm.

If you notice sudden bare patches in the lawn at this time it may be lawn grubs, which kill grass by chewing the roots. Give the lawn a deep watering and then apply Multicrop Eco-Grub. Go over the lawn twice to ensure you have covered all areas.

APHIDS attacking flowers and veggies alike are the bane of every gardener. Here are a couple of certified organic products with one important feature in that there is no withholding period before applying and eating edible crops.

Multicrop Pyrethrum Long Life, made naturally from a variety of chrysanthemum, lasts up to 20 days and is effective against aphids, mites and a whole range of chewing/sucking insects, without killing the beneficial insects such as hover flies and ladybirds.

Organic Crop Protectants is an organisation pledged to promoting certified organic products under their “eco” label . Its Eco-Neem is a highly stable and effective product from extracts of the neem tree and will attack all the insects listed above.

A READER has written querying the organic certification status of Neutrog’s Go-Go Juice. I had reported that it was certified, but my correspondent says the product is not certified according to either the company’s website or at the Australian Organic Certification website. I have written to the manufacturer for clarification.

I always welcome readers’ comments and you can email me at cedricbryant@grapevine.com.au

Jottings…

  • Check fruit trees for dead, diseased or damaged branches, which can affect ripening fruit by allowing access to fruit fly and other pests.
  • With rising temperatures leave trimming of fine-leafed hedges such as Buxus or Box now until autumn. The sun will scorch the soft new growth at this time – and does it really matter if a few leaves are out of place?
  • Grass right up to the trunk of fruit trees can reduce the crop by up to 40 per cent. If possible, mulch out to the drip line with Sand and Gravel’s Canberra Organic Mulch.

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Cedric Bryant
Trained horticulturist and garden designer with over 30 years experience in the industry.

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