We had a real treat at our April meeting with a talk from our old friend Sid Garcia, who was visiting Cornwall with his wife Vera. He is a British Fuchsia Society (BFS) Committee Member and Chairman of Windsor and Slough Chrysanthemum, Fuchsia and Pelargonium Society, and as well as being an expert grower and shower of Fuchsias, Sid is also an avid hybridiser. Several of his hybrids have been released through UK and European nurseries not least our own Silver Surfer (see picture below) that Sid kindly donated to us and allowed me to name to commemorate our 25th anniversary last year.
I no longer take the comprehensive notes during talks as I once did as the Society's newsletter editor, as I now assume if folk are interested enough they will come, listen and learn for themselves. However during Sid's talk I did jot down some snippets that you might find interesting, instructive or both:
§ Sid only buys the best compost he can, currently choosing Shamrock peat which he sifts to get rid of any lumps, etc and to which he adds Chempak compost mix, perlite, horticultural grit, some calcified seaweed and lastly some hoof and horn. Calcified seaweed is rich in trace elements and helps many plants with the uptake of nutrients, noting that it is slightly alkaline so not good with plants like azaleas and rhodies that like an acidic soil. Hoof and horn is a slow release organic source of nitrogen, slower in its release than dried blood.
§ For his cuttings Sid uses a 60%:40% mix of finely sifted compost and perlite, preferring tip cuttings which he propagates in trays of individual cells. This avoids the difficulty of trying to avoid damaging roots often a problem when multiple cuttings are grown in a single pot. I did note that Sid doesn't cover his cuttings which he finds reduces the risk of "damping off".
§ When potting up Sid moves up only one pot size at a time and in keeping with increasingly common practice he drops his plant to the bottom of the new pot not retaining the soil level which is still a widely recommended approach. I have taken up Sid's approach since listening to his instructive talks to the Reading & District Fuchsia Society in recent years, because I find it increases the number of points from which a plant will shoot below ground, particularly advantageous if you are planning to plant Fuchsias out in the garden.
§ Sid grows for the various shows he supports on a biennial rotation, taking cuttings one year for the year after next. He has a simple system to identify plants for showing in the current year and those for showing in the next by using black pots for the plants for showing in the next next year, and terracotta coloured pots for this year.
I am sure we are all going to look forward to seeing Sid and Vera in August when Sid will be judging our Annual Show on Sunday 2nd August at the Camborne Science and International Academy. In the meantime here are some more pictures from the evening:
The photographs for this report were taken and kindly provided by our President, Yvonne Barlow.
Am I a Plantaholic? - Martin Pope (Plympton F&GS)
The following report about our meeting on Thursday 5th March, complete with photographs, was provided by our President, Yvonne Barlow.
Martin from Plympton Fuchsia and Geranium Society gave us an entertaining slide show of his Regal pelargoniums and his garden. He started by showing us some of the ones he had crossed and registered himself, naming them after his family.
He went on to show us his garden and the many unusual plants he has grown in the past as well as the present, interesting to see how his garden has evolved over the years and is still doing so. A lesson to us all that we should take photos of our own gardens year by year to see how we alter and transform them!
Carol's Report on the Annual General Meeting (AGM)
It was the Annual General Meeting of the Camborne Redruth Fuchsia Society last Thursday (8th Jan) in the atrium of the Camborne Science and International Academy (by Rugby Club) with 25 members attending and with 15 apologies. They were welcomed by the President, Mrs Yvonne Barlow, who said another year has just flown by. On a sad note, they had lost Rosemary Stephens who was Show Manager for a number of years, but on a much happier note they had a Society wedding in December, of Mr and Mrs Rodney Hicks. Many congratulations to Rodney and Christine.
She thanked everyone for their attendance and declared the meeting open
There followed a report from the Chairman, Mr John Doyle, who said they had another excellent year and that thanks were due to the Committee and to the Show Sub-Committee who keep everything afloat and without who's hard work there would be no show or, indeed, any society. He especially thanked Mrs Janet Cohen, Show Secretary for the past five years, who is standing down. She has done a great job and their grateful thanks go to her; a remark that was met with a deserved round of applause.
Mr Doyle was delighted to advise that our Web site is still up and running in the hands their Webmaster, Mr Ric Reilly, and is packed full of information and Fuchsia 'know-how’ (see footnote for details). He closed by adding that if any members have a suggestion for a speaker please do let them know.
The Secretary, Mrs Carol Richards, was next up and wished everyone a happy new year and advised that the Society has been invited again to Cornwall Garden Society (CGS) Spring Flower Show at Boconnoc at the end of March.
Returning to 2014, Mrs Richards said the Society had had a table at the West Cornwall Orchid Society shows, both Spring and Autumn Shows, Stithians and Camborne Shows, and in addition Members had visited the British Fuchsia Society (BFS) shows at Portishead, Bristol and also the revived Far South West at Otter Nurseries, near Plymouth; all helping to spread the Fuchsia 'gospel'. Finally she detailed the programme for the coming year and wished everyone a happy growing season.
That financially the Society was in good health was reported by the Treasurer, Mrs Yvonne Barlow while summing up the accounts, but with ever rising costs they need to keep a watchful eye.
Mrs Janet Cohen, the Show Secretary, said despite the doom and gloom comments from membersbefore Show Day, the Society had enjoyed yet another great show day and her thanks went to all who participated. Also she gave thanks to the helpers who worked tirelessly behind the scenes – thank you to one and all. She was sorry she would be unable to continue but would give her full support to Mr David Hall, who would be taking over.
All officers and existing Committee Members, together with David Hall, Show Manager, were re-elected with a show of hands. Also, a welcome was given to Alan Trathen, who has volunteered and was duly co-opted.
Next meeting; Thursday 5th February, Alan & Ann Cox will present a slide show about Tresco and the gardens of the Isles of Scilly. All are welcome.