Climbing fuchsias

Pop along to any garden centre and you’ll probably see the same few climbers; there’ll be some straggly honeysuckle, quite a few large-flowered, dull clematis, thugs like Virginia Creeper, and so on… Surely it’s about time there was a plant that’s a bit classier, a plant that’s easier to prune, a plant your garden hasn’t seen before? Step right up climbing fuchsias!

climbing fuchsias

Introducing our new bright spark, Fuchsia ‘Pink Fizz’, which is the best ‘climbing’ fuchsia we’ve ever seen. Before we go any further though, remember it isn’t a true climber and won’t produce sticky pads or tendrils. But, the growth is so vertical and upright that you’ll find it virtually hugs the wall, and plants will shoot up more than 5 feet in a single season.

climbing fuchsias

climbing fuchsias

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fuchsia ‘Lady Boothby’ is the predecessor to ‘Pink Fizz’, and was actually introduced back in the 1930’s, but was never very well-known, and didn’t have the flower power to back up its vigorous growth habit. New ‘Pink Fizz’ is English-bred, and the plant represents the ‘second generation’ of climbing fuchsia, with flowers appearing on almost every internode on the plant. As you can see in the photos above, the Fuchsia ‘Pink Fizz’ looks amazing when planted in one of  our Tower Pots™.

‘Pink Fizz’ isn’t just a flash in the pan though- plants will not only flower from June to September, but this hardy fuchsia variety will come back every year too, as they’re hardy down to -10C. Pruning Fuchsia ‘Pink Fizz’ is a doddle, wait until the spring and trim your plants back by a third.

So, if one of your New Year’s resolutions was to try something different in your garden, there’s no need to look any further…!

Fuchsia Festival at Driftwood

It’s like a fuchsia festival every summer in my garden! I have been collecting them since inheriting 2 standard specimens from family members, one from my Aunt, Margaret Grindrod, in 2004 (plant pictured in 2005 on left) and one from my father, Ron Stonebanks, in 2007, (plant pictured in  2007 on right).  My own enjoyment of fuchsias has clearly stemmed from these very first two. Dad and Auntie Margaret can be seen, sat together in my courtyard garden in North London, back in 2003 before we moved to Bishopstone, the following year.

fuchsias at driftwood

They had been very keen gardeners themselves, so after their deaths, I needed to make sure the plants did well and lived on in my new garden here on the south coast. Dad’s, I am led to believe is an Empress of Prussia and my Aunt’s a Geneii. My mother tells me that my Dad had bought the standard Empress for their ruby wedding anniversary back in 1990. Today, I still have both their original plants and have since propagated many specimens from them to either sell on when I open for the National Gardens Scheme every summer, or indeed to plant additional specimens in my own amazing garden, Driftwood.

fuchsia winston churchillIn addition to their original plants, I probably now have over 20  different fuchsias and maybe over 50 different plants, a mixture of trailing, standard and bushes both in the ground, in pots or raised beds! Some hardy and some not! They are the perfect addition to my coastal garden and one in particular, Winston Churchill. This variety thrives really well in my front garden, which directly faces the sea and takes the brunt of the salt laden winds we have here! You can see it protected by the upturned railway sleepers acting as wind breaks.

fuchsia festivalThe back garden has been described as an exuberant yet immaculate seaside garden, split into several garden rooms. It has an eclectic palette, creating a layered tapestry of coloured plantings, beautifully integrating wooden and rusted metal features with the landscape. The heavy, dense plantings (over 600 plants) with no lawn and no exposed soil create an illusion of a much bigger garden. Fuchsias delicate and intricate blooms have always drawn attention from the 10000 plus visitors to the garden in recent years. They love a story and to hear the provenance of the plants, so the one to tell of the Empress of Prussia and Geneii, go down very well. In the picture to the left, you can see one of the Geneii here on the left an Empress on the right with magellicana versicolour centre and Quasar and Pink Temptation in the foreground and Riccartonii in the background! To the right, a flower from Empress of Prussia.

 

In 2013 Thompson and Morgan sent me some Duke of Wellington plugs and 3 are doing really well in the garden now and are very easy to grow and seem to cope well with what the weather throws at them here. As is the stunning Quasar that were sent as a trial plant in 2014. Their enormous blooms making a real statement in any garden.  I also inherited some lovely terracotta wall pots from my Aunt as well and each summer I plant them up with two of my favourite fuchsias, Pink Temptation (a bushy, trailing and floriferous fuchsia with bright, fresh looking flowers) and  Lena ( a medium-sized deciduous shrub of open habit ) They seem to flower all summer long and look so dramatic tumbling out over the wall creating a stunning display of mini ballerinas!

fuchsia duke of wellington

That said, another pretty bloom that looks great in wall pots tumbling down is Ballet Girl which I have had in the garden for the last 3 years! It really is amazing the different colour palettes to be had with fuchsias. Another pretty one we’ve had for a few years is Miss California, another that does not seem to mind the weather conditions down here on the coast! A great coloured variety that looks great in any bed, mine are grown in a raised bed and large pot, are Lady in Black with stunning dark flower heads! No matter what the type, the bees seem to love fuchsias and flock to them in the garden each summer.

fuchsia variety

Last summer I decided to create a bed dominated by fuchsias as they just do not let you down with their beautiful, long lasting displays in the garden! The 2 images above are  Ballet Girl and Duke of Wellington. Other beds last summer had  mixes of Riccartonni,  Lady Boothby, Empress of Prussia, and Lady in Black, which looked amazing all through the summer.

fuchsia varietyLast year I bought a new hardy fuchsia, Versicolour Magellicana and put one in the front garden and one in a raised bed in the back garden and both have done really well flowering prolifically until the first frosts! Here you can see it dominate the raised bed with a Quasar and Pink Temptation in the foreground.

I would have no hesitation in recommending fuchsias to any garden owner wanting long lasting and interesting colour in their garden in 2015. There are so many to choose from that there can be no question of not being able to match the colour palette you want to create.

 

So come gardeners across the UK go out and plant some stunning fuchsias for the Thompson & Morgan Fuchsia Festival 2015!

Great British Garden Revival

I am not sure if it is a common perception but due to working within the horticultural industry, it is clear that here in Britain we are a nation of gardeners. With the development of the industrial sector and the new homes within our largest towns and city centres; space is now at a premium. However, new and innovative concepts such as an urban gardening, balcony growing, growing plants on your windowsill, and products such as our Tower Pot™, mean that space is no longer a required component to gardening.

Episode 1 of the Great British Garden Revival discussed the nation’s favourite flower, the rose. We live in a world that seeks new innovations, whether it is having the latest smart phone or fashion trend and I think this the same for our choice of flowers. We don’t like to feel that we are missing out on something and with our focus on new varieties, traditional varieties are taking a back-seat and we are at risk of losing them from our gardens forever.

Rose the one and onlySo, roses. I have to admit I fall in love with roses every time I see them. There are over 1,000 cultivars of rose, from trailing to shrubs there is a variety to suit most requirements. The first episode featured traditional climbing rose varieties such as Crimson Glory. With deep crimson blooms, this older variety is beautiful and the fragrance is simply divine! However, even though older roses tend to have amazing fragrance, they can lack in vigour and good disease resistance. This is when we see the newer varieties take centre stage with the best of best of both worlds. Hardy rose variety Rose ‘The One and Only’ has flowers rich with crimson-red petals that give the appearance of an old-fashioned English rose. They are renowned for their scent, as this hybrid tea rose is like no other – fruity and indulgent. That being said, every rose has something to offer to the garden and we all have our own favourites. Have you got a favourite rose?

narcissue tete-a-teteEpisode 2 of the Great British Garden Revival focused on daffodils, blossom trees and shrubs. The history of daffodils dates back before the First World War, where fields were coated in a blaze of yellow. They were then cut and packed for the consumer market. The big affect on daffodil growing came after the Second World War when fields were taken over for the production of food. However, now we often see daffodils in front gardens and scattered along countryside lanes where they bring a smile to our faces as they are seen to resemble one of the first signs of Spring and the growing season ahead. I love the all time favourite Narcissus ‘Tete-a-tete’. This delightfully small variety is the perfect variety for cutting. Undemanding an easy to grow, they will make a beautiful addition to cottage gardens. What is your favourite daffodil?

 

On tonight’s episode James Wong attempts to revive a plant that has disappeared from our gardens, the rhododendron. Christine Walkden puts the case forward for the carnation, as she heads to a specialist nursery to recover some important facts.

Have you been watching? We would love to get your thoughts. Tell us if you prefer traditional or modern varieties and why.

Fuchsias

It’s the beginning of Thompson & Morgan’s Fuchsia Festival; and we think you’re heading for a long, colourful and care-free summer!

In the UK, we know fuchsias quite well. Even if you’re a non-gardener, I bet you’ll have had a grandma or uncle who grew fuchsias of some kind in their garden. They are the quintessential English garden plant; for any area of the garden, sun or shade; they will sit quietly and do their thing, with minimum fuss, and often producing flowers up until the first signs frosts.

Fuchsia-Swingtime

Fuchsia ‘Swingtime’

Let me take you on a tour of the fuchsia garden, right now! First up, think about adorning the walls of your house, whether it’s with hanging baskets or window-boxes. The trailing fuchsias really come into their own for this; we have the traditional varieties such as Swingtime, Marinka and Dark Eyes, which are still much-loved and purchased in their 1000’s every year. But, the newer kids on the block are gaining momentum too. Our Giants Collection is UK-bred, so you know these plants will perform during any UK summer! The blooms are 4-6 inches across, unapologetically showy and they drip like expensive jewellery from the cascading plants.

fuchsia bella collection

Fuchsia ‘Bella Nora’

Window boxes shouldn’t be overlooked either, and our new Fuchsia ‘Bella’ range is ideal. The dinky blooms are produced in their hundreds, and are upward and outward facing, so aren’t nestled in the foliage. Pot some up into small pots and sit them onto outdoor tables. We expect this range of fuchsias to grow over the next few years; they’re naturally bushy, zero maintenance and there’s many more colours to come!

Fuchisa-hawkshead

Fuchsia Hawkshead

Don’t forget to dress the patio too; there’s a range of bushy fuchsias which are compact and adorned with jewel-like blooms throughout the summer; I love Hawkshead, which can also be grown in the garden as a mini hedge. The dainty blooms are pure white, and quite different to the loud basket fuchsias. The hardy fuchsias are also great for large patio pots, or the border. Shrimp Cocktail and Delta’s Sarah are the pick of the bunch, with fun, colourful blooms. They’re almost like miniature shrubs for the border too; easy to prune and lasting for years!

Fuchsia-Pink-Fizz

Fuchsia Pink Fizz

Lastly, and how could we forget, we have climbing fuchsias, which can fit in towards the back of the border, covering fences, walls, or even for growing over archways and up patio obelisks. Fuchsia ‘Pink Fizz’ is brand new, English-bred and grows up to 6 foot in a single season. Try something different to Clematis and Honeysuckle!

So, that’s our little fuchsia garden tour, what do you think? Will you be growing some this season?

Instant Gardening – new range of large, mature plants

There’s a certain sense of satisfaction and achievement that comes from raising our seed and plug plant varieties to maturity, but we know there are times when something a little more immediate is called for. If you lack the time or space to grow on our young plants, our new mature large plant range is just for you.

Common Box

Common Box

With 160 years of horticultural and mail order know-how under our belts, we are now putting our skills and expertise into delivering instant-impact shrubs and herbaceous perennials.

We are proud to offer a new range of larger plants for 2015, all with a proven track record for hardiness, each of care and garden performance. When you spend a little more on our 2, 3, 3.5 and 4 litre potted shrubs you can be 100 per cent confident that they will perform as you would expect and that they will be tough enough to cope with whatever the UK weather can throw at them.

Shrubs form the backbone of your planting designs. Use them as a backdrop, screen, divider or for contrast with other plant groups. There is a flowering shrub for every season, helping bring your-round interest to the garden. We’ve focused on evergreen shrub varieties, many with seasonal blooms, to ensure a full display in your garden no matter the season.

No garden should be without hassle-free herbaceous perennials, they return each spring and require little help to put on a stunning show. As with our shrubs, our larger 1, 2, and 3 litre potted perennials have been established on the nursery and will be supplied, direct to your door, hardened off and ready to be planted in your garden.

To view our complete range of large, mature plants please click here.

A selection of larger pots for instant impact in your garden

The Fuchsia Festival

We will be celebrating all things fuchsia in 2015 with a filled fuchsia festival calendar of online activities running right through to autumn. We have top growing advice from our experts, exciting blogs from customers and staff and on top of that we are launching more than 20 new fuchsia varieties to inspire UK gardeners into using fuchsias more effectively in their summer garden.

We would love all our customers to be a part of the festival by sharing their passion and growing experiences throughout the growing season.

“We’re hoping to build an online community of fuchsia fanatics all eager to share their tips and show off their plants via our Facebook and Twitter feeds and our blogging community. The fuchsia has a firm place in the hearts, and gardens, of our customers thanks to endless summer flowering, ability to grow in sun or shade, and their relaxed attitude to whatever the UK weather throws at them! We’ve chosen to celebrate these garden favourites throughout 2015! We’ve got some fantastic new varieties to show off, growing tips to share, as well as some exciting give-aways and competitions”. New Product Development Manager, Michael Perry.

Our fuchsia range includes several exclusive varieties that can’t be found anywhere else. From window box to giant varieties, there’s something for every gardener. One of our favourite picks is Fuchsia ‘Bella Sophia’. This new variety is unlike any traditional fuchsia. The blooms of the innovative ‘Bella’ range have outward and upward facing flowers, meaning no more hidden blooms!

fuchsia bella sophia

Fuchsia ‘Bella Sophia’

Up next, we have a blog by expert Michael Perry where he will share with you his love for fuchsias. From January onwards we will be providing practical fuchsia articles, how-to videos from experts, customers and British Fuchsia Society members.

Five reasons fuchsias are fabulous:

1)     Great for hanging baskets and Tower Pots

2)     Weather-proof. They’ll perform come rain or shine

3)     Many shapes and sizes

4)     Long-lasting – they’ll keep going right through to the winter frosts

5)     Easy to grow – they’ll perform with minimal fuss and attention

 

Do you want to take part? Then get in touch web@thompson-morgan.com

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