January 2014

BFS Far South West Show to Return

I am pleased to start the new year by sharing with you some great news, and that is that the British Fuchsia Society (BFS) have confirmed that after a year of absence their Far South West show will return in August, on Tuesday 5th.

There was some controversy and a little indignation about the show being rested last year, but with no-one able or willing to propose an economically viable venue, the BFS were left with a little choice. The new venue is Otter Nurseries, near Plymouth (PL8 2BH) which could be the future for shows as it cost-effective and should put the show in front of the general public.

Definitely a date for the diary!  Meanwhile while I was looking for photographs from past Far South West shows, I came across this picture from 2007:

In the foreground is the Society's winning entry in the inter-society class (35) comprising two plants of Border Raider and one of Maria Landy.

And the CRFS team left right at the back are Pat James, Horace James, Alan Richards and Ric Reilly, while at the front are Alec Bond, Mary Bond, Carol Richards and Yvonne Barlow.

November 2013

Wheal Jane - Past, Present and Future

The following report about our meeting on Thursday 7th November, complete with photographs, was provided by our President, Yvonne Barlow.

Bernard Ballard, Wheal Jane's Marketing Director, gave us an extremely interesting talk about the Wheal Jane Mine, its past, present and future. Wheal Jane reopened in 1971 and stopped most tin production in 1992, finally closing in 1998. After agreement with the Canadian Company who owned it, Mr Ballard took over all outstanding debts and Wheel Jane Group was formed.

At the moment it consists of five interrelated businesses, under the control of Wheal Jane Ltd: Carnon Construction; Wheal Jane Laboratory which handles mine samples from across the world; Wheal Jane Consultancy; and South Crofty Collection, which makes when beautiful jewellery and gifts from the last tin collected and preserved when the Wheal Jane mine was closed. They also supplied the tin for the bronze medals at the Olympic Games.

The very old workings have been preserved and are now a sanctuary for wild life. Most of the old buildings have been demolished and are being replaced with new ones, mostly with money generated by the company, although they have just been allocated a grant too. Wheal Jane had the first planning permission in the UK for a solar panel farm and was the first in the South West to build one. They now have a number of businesses willing to come and rent space on the site. The future is seen in providing Earth Science businesses, especially they hope in the future to be self sufficient, generating their own power, water, etc from renewable sources on site. They are very keen on involving local communities having already at two clubs using their grounds at weekends.

October 2013

Celebrating Our Silver Anniversary

2014 will be the Society's twenty-fifth year and we plan to celebrate and mark the occasion in equal measure.

On the left is the first picture of the blooms of a new cultivar "Silver Surfer" hybridised by our friend Sid Garcia from Slough.  It is a single from a cross between Border Queen and Wigan Peer, two popular Fuchsias that are regularly exhibited at our annual shows, and with this parentage there are high hopes that Silver Surfer will also become a star at our shows.

The "stock plant" of Silver Surfer presented by Sid to the Society at the BBQ in September is being nurtured by Alan and Carol, and the Committee are planning how to distribute rooted cuttings to the Membership in the spring. It is a real privilege to have this plant for limited release to CRFS Members ahead of its commercial release in 2015.   

The Committee would welcome any suggestions you may have on how we can celebrate and mark the auspicious occasion of our twenty-fifth year.

Over-Wintering and Autumn Cuttings

The following report about our meeting on Thursday 3rd October, complete with photographs, was provided by our President, Yvonne Barlow.

Alan started the meeting with a demonstration of how to cut your pot plants back to get them through the winter, reminding us not to cut the ones growing in the garden back until spring.  Marie then took over and showed how she cuts her standards back.

Alec returned with gusto to cut back and take cuttings of a triphylla using ‘Firecracker’ as his example, we then of course had Carol with her bonsais.  Marie had brought some plug pots and said anyone was welcome to take cuttings and use them, Alan during the other demonstrations had been taking and potting cuttings for anyone who like to one or two away. The meeting was a great success with many Members joining in.

September 2013

Annual Barbecue

The following report about our barbecue on Sunday 22nd September, complete with photographs, was provided by our President, Yvonne Barlow.  

And onto the barbi, weren't we lucky with the weather, Great Chef Horace kept us in excellent food with Helen keeping us supplied with tea and coffee, and Ric wandering about entertaining us and making us very welcome as always.  I raided the garden for some flowers (with permission!) and scrumped an apple.  Ric and Helen's garden is a real treat and a lot of hard work has gone into it since I was there last.  I think we all enjoyed ourselves very much, thanks to Helen and Ric.  I really can't wait for the next one.

And perhaps the best news to round off memories of a great afternoon is that once again we made a surplus on the event, and £124 will go to charity split between the Alzheimer's Society and Truro Homeless Action Group (THAG).

Show Presentation Evening

The following report on our meeting on Thursday 5th September, complete with photographs, was provided by our President, Yvonne Barlow.  A selection of Yvonne's photographs can be found on the separate page Presentation Evening under the 2013 section, just click here.

The presentation evening was its usual success, all winners delighted to receive their trophies, many collecting more than one!

We were delighted to welcome Ron Scamp to present the prizes.  Ron is a renowned local daffodil grower and hybridiser, winner of all the major national daffodil prizes, has been a Chelsea judge and was Chairman of the RHS Judges for 10 years. He grows 3,000 different daffodil species and cultivars.

After the presentation of the trophies, he entertained us with some excellent slides of very different daffodils to my yellow and pheasant eye ones!  Alan Richards again won Best in Show with a lovely Paula Jane, but he must watch his back as Marie Hall is now galloping along at his heels!  Marie told us she first won an award, best basket, in 1990 then stopped growing fuchsias, started again, and was delighted to win it back this year.

As I took the photo’s every one seemed excited either waving their trophy around or smiling and moving so if you are a bit wobbly sorry!  Yvonne.

August 2013

British Fuchsia Society South-Western Show

The BFS' South-Western Show was held in Portishead, Bristol on Sunday 25th August and John Nicholass, the organiser and show manager, has kindly provided photographs of the most notable entries from CRFS Members.  These photographs can be found on the separate page BFS SW Show, as well as details of all the results and awards.  Just click here.

Here is a report on the day from Carol Richards, our Secretary which appears in September's newsletter -

The alarm went off at 4.30 am and just after 5 we were on our way, car loaded with our precious plants.  It was still dark and as we travelled up through Cornwall, a bright light appeared on the horizon which gradually lit up the whole sky and another day was born. Most places, we had the road to ourselves, and I was thinking how the city folk would have loved to see a clear road ahead. Arrived safely, parked the car. Dave and Marie Hall already there with plants on the show bench.  Trundled in with ours and found spaces, titivated them up a bit and left them in the capable hands of the judge, Mr John Porter, who had travelled from Lancashire.

Breakfast was next on the agenda and we were pre-booked into a nearby café.   Now fed and watered we wended our way down through Portishead.  They had recently won a ‘Britain in Bloom’ award and it was easy to see why.  Their hanging pots and pavement planters were awash with cascades of colour.  I asked someone about the watering of them and he said every morning at 5 am.   We made our way back to the venue where other fuchsia folk (and would be’s) were congregating.

David Hall was awarded Best Beginner and Best Novice; Alan Richards was awarded a trophy for the best plant in a 9cm pot with a new cultivar June Marie Shaw.  For her hanging pots, Marie Hall was awarded 2nd and 3rd, I was awarded 3rd for my bonsai of David in the class with ten entries.  We entered the three pot Society Class with a quarter standard of Jennifer Anne  and 15 cm pots of Fairy Blue  and Good Girl and were awarded First Prize.  We were, however the only Society which entered, think on!!

I then hovered around the bonsai class and talked to folk who took an interest, giving out literature about how I created bonsai plants to four people.  Meanwhile, Alan drank tea!

It was a good show with lots of beautiful plants, all of which, were to a high standard. Best in Show was awarded to a pot plant of David in the hardy class and the runner-up was a half standard of Frank Saunders.

What a day! I just love to be out and about talking Fuchsias.


Pictures of all the exhibits can be found on the BFS Facebook page.  Just Click here.

Pre-Show Preparation

The following report on our meeting on Thursday 1st August, complete with photographs, was provided by our President, Yvonne Barlow.

Our pre-show meeting was opened by Jan, reminding us to donate cakes, raffle and tombola prizes.

Liz gave us an excellent demonstration on how to make a corsage, generously offering any of her wire, tape, ribbon etc to anyone who would like to try one for the show. She then managed to 'press gang' some of us into 'helping' with Maggie taking the flowers off John's plant, and Sheila and Rodney wiring the blooms!. When wired together with the foliage and ribbon they looked superb, the foliage could be anything from the hedgerows, fern, or ivy leaves. Liz said we could make them the evening before, put them in a plastic box with lid and keep them in the fridge.

Rodney followed Liz with a demonstration of the bloom board class, explaining we must only use the boards belonging to the Society, he emphasised you must put water in the bloom boards and pick the blooms the last thing before leaving for the show not; the night before, yes you can use both single and double blooms on the same board. Carol gave her usual explicit demonstration on how to dress your plants, with a few helpful remarks from Alan - what would we do without this duo! John then went through the show schedule,answering; any queries that arose.

July 2013

Fowey & District F&GS 20th Annual Show

And off we went to Fowey, some of us showing and some of us just looking!  As you come through the door your is taken by a vista of colour and an array of beautiful plants, the college at Fowey is an excellent venue that is so suitable to the Fowey show, a really friendly and fun place to visit.

Congratulations go to one of our Members, Marie Hall. who had the best Fuchsia and the runner-up best Fuchsia at the show and also to Rhona Foster, who spoke to us recently, for her best Pelargonium at the show. Here are the two best plants Fuchsia Maria Landy in the hands of BFS judge and committee member, Derek Luther,  and Quantock Double Dymond (bred by Ken Dymond from Somerset).

These winners won against some tough competition and the show did F&D F&GS proud, particularly as two of the best growers were not there to show off their wares.  Mary Gladwin at a golden wedding celebration and our own Alec Bond who had had bad fall earlier in the week.  We wish Alec well and hope he'll be back up and running for our show next weekend, as our show without Alec would be like a scone without clotted cream.

Finally two more exhibits that caught my eye, hanging pots of Remembering Claire and Peachy:


Camborne Show

Close on the heels of Stithians we enjoyed excellent day at the Camborne Agrigultural Show, to give it its full title.  The sun shone, the winds blew a little, and we got to talk to more people about Fuchsias, the Society, and our Show.

There were some great Fuchsia exhibits, a few we'd seen at Stithians and a whole lot more, as well  obviously in the Fuchsia classes but also in some other classes.  It was a great display of our favourite plants and the skills of Tony Slack, Alan Richards, Alec Bond and Carol Richards in growing them (and Horace James who's procumbens were relegated to our table.  Congratulations go to Tony Slack for staging the best Fuchsia exhibit in the show, a miniature standard of Elma grown in a matter of months from a whip from our spring distribution.  Well done Tony!

We are grateful to Carol, Horace, Pat, Maggie, Janet, and Roy for representing the Society helping us to drum up interest in the plants and our show, and it was double credit for Horace and Roy who were also members of the show committee who did such an excellent job.

Finally we often jest about Carol and her talkativeness, but where would we be without her fantastic enthusiasm and her willingness to engage with anyone coming close to a Fuchsia to share her enthusiasm for Fuchsias, bonsai and our Society .


On the navigation list you will find links to two pages of pictures, one with all the Fuchsia class winners and the other with Fuchsias in other classes and maybe the odd other plant exhibited by Members (never thought I'd see the day when I would write Alan Richards, show, and pelargonium in the same sentence - what is the world coming to?).

Stithians Show

What an absolutely fabulous day we had or part of a day in my case.  The sun shone, I got to do a bit of judging, and we got to talk to hordes of people about Fuchsias, the Society, our Show and life in general, and maybe just maybe bonsais got mentioned once or twice.

There were some great Fuchsia exhibits, obviously in the Fuchsia classes but also infiltrating some other classes.  Stithians is truly our biggest "shop window" of the year for the Fuchsia and for our Society, so we are grateful to Alan, Horace and Carol for giving the public some spectacular plants to see and us something to start conversations with.  And talking of conversations thanks also go to Carol, Horace, Pat and Roy for representing the Society at the show, helping us recruit members and drum up interest in our Show that is in a couple of weeks time.

Congratulations go to Alan Richards for exhibiting the best Fuchsia in the show (Genii) as well as the best bloom exhibit, and to Horace for the best exhibit outside of the standards (F procumbens).

On the navigation list you will find links to two pages of pictures, one with all the Fuchsia class winners and the other with Fuchsias in other classes and maybe the odd other plant exhibited by Members.

Show Preparation with Ian Facey-Macleod

At our July meeting, Ian started with some of the universal principles for preparing plants for a show, almost any plants and any show, including using reading the schedule and if in doubt checking the meanings of the words (in our case don't hesitate to ask the stewards), using a clean pot in good condition, removing any dead bits and watch for pests (no-one worries about the odd whitefly, rust is a definite no-no you must be particularly vigilant for fuchsia gall mite).  There will be more along these lines on the Show 2013 page as we approach our show on 4th August.

Ian then gave us a good insight into showing his specialities cacti and succulents, opining that a good cacti exhibit demands admiration as it will be decades old and may have gone through two world wars compared with a Fuchsia that may only have seen two summers!  At the imminent shows at Stithians and Camborne, I may look at the cacti exhibits in a quite different way!  Next Ian gave us a bit of a reminder on carnivorous plants saying they need live food, rainwater and don't need conventional plant food, and a revelation to me is while they look delicate and a bit spooky they are in fact very hardy but must be kept in water, indoors or outdoors.

After saying a bit about orchids, including the need to sponge their leaves and those of other houseplants, Ian went on to demonstrate the art of flower arranging using a wide variety of flowers and foliage from his own garden.  The plants used included species and cultivars of Alchemilla, Fatsia, Santolina, Cotinus, Ilex, Hebe, Callistemon, Cryptomeria, Griselinia, Sarracenia, Dianthus, Lillium, Astilbe, Allium, Artemesia, and Matthiola.

And finally it's always good when a speaker brings some plants to sell, so I was tempted and will be able to find out if the couple of Sarracenia I purchased survive life in the pond.  An excellent evening and I for one hope Ian will be back soon to talk to us a bit more.

Ric Reilly

June 2013

New Contact Card

Ahead of a busy month we have taken delivery of a new contact card to hand out to people expressing an interest in the Society, to give them an easy way to remember us, and when and where we meet. The card was designed by local artist and illustrator Eve Bourrat who trained at Falmouth College of Arts, and it is intended to be a little humorous and quirky, something to make people smile and to keep it. 

Another Winner from Ernie

Here are the first pictures of Ernie Negus' new introduction Helen Glover, named after Cornwall's gold medal winning Olympian, who last week struck world cup gold with her new partner Polly Swann in the women's pair, returning to Eton Dorney, the scene of her olympic triumph.


The Sun Comes Out and the Society Visits Godolphin House

After the disappointment of last year's cancelled visit, Members of the Society enjoyed their guided tour of Godolphin House and the gardens.

For the full story and the pictures go to the Godolphin House page under News.

First Report This Year of Fuchsia Gall Mite

One of our Members has reported finding gall mite amongst his Fuchsias in Mylor, and he had already done the wise thing of jettisoning the effected plants which were in pots.  The mites are too small to see with the naked eye but the damage they cause is quite distinctive, and they are now endemic to Cornwall and Devon. As they are here to stay, our focus has to turn from eradication (as futile as King Canute's efforts with the tide) to living with them and minimising the damage to our fuchsias, similar in some ways to how we have become accustomed to rust.

Vigilance is the watchword, and all Members are advised to inspect their plants in the greenhouses and the garden every week, and then if you do find gall mite damage you must act immediately. If it is plants in pots that are effected the best thing to do is throw them out without hesitation, not onto the compost heap and not into a green bag.  For plants in the garden they can be cut back hard and the waste disposed off, again in a sealed black bag, or if it is a large plant or hedging the alternative is to micro-prune out the most damaged areas each week controlling both the pest and the damage.

May 2013

Yvonne Barlow Becomes Society President

Congratulations must go to Yvonne Barlow, our long serving Treasurer, who was elected at the EGM in May to be the Society's President for the next five years, a thoroughly well deserved accolade of her contributions to the Society over her many years of membership.  Yvonne will continue as Treasurer, while in the office of President.

Carol Richards Is Made a Life Vice-President

Congratulations must also go to Carol, our long serving Secretary and outgoing President, who was honoured at the EGM in May with the award of Life Vice-President completing a unique double with husband Alan.  With no disrespect to others that had been given this honour, I do not think that anyone deserves it more than Carol for her continuous hard work and endeavours for the Society.

Relaxation on Show Rule A2 about Time of Ownership

The Society has two standard rules about Membership of the Society and ownership of a plants covering Exhibitors and Exhibits for our Annual Show, and that is both must happen at least by the Thursday before the Sunday that is three months before the date of the show (i.e. Thursday 2nd May).

The Show Sub-Committee have considered the lousy spring we have had in Cornwall and the lateness of plants starting back into vigour and growth, and for this year only they have decided rule A2 on the Show Schedule should be relaxed allowing Members to exhibit plants obtained up until and including  Sunday 19th May. 

It may be worth all Exhibitors noting that as we get closer to the Show that plants may get one less "stop" than most other years and are likely to be smaller for everyone, so no-one should be put off exhibiting.