Wednesday, 15 October 2014

October GBBD in London

It’s that time again, Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day, and I can’t understand it’s a whole month since last GBBD post! October so far has been chilly and the rain we didn’t get all September we certainly have got the last 2 weeks. I went outside yesterday to take some photos for this post, in pouring rain with an umbrella, realising that I had not been out in the garden for more than a week because it’s been raining every time I wanted to go outside.  The forecast is promising us some warmer weather the next 4-5 days, and possibly no rain during the day on Thursday, Friday and Saturday – but you never know, that might change again by the time we get to the end of the week.

If you thought my garden was a bit of a jungle last month then look at it now! This is the usual angle I take my monthly photo from and you can’t really see that I have started pruning and pulling up plants, and just sent off 4 rubbish bags to the council’s composting service.

The path down the middle is even narrower now, as I have started taking pots out of the beds and put them on the left side of the path.

The pots need to come out of the beds in preparation for the emerging spring bulbs. Yes, that’s right, spring bulbs! You see, in my garden, spring happens early, very early. The first crocuses and daffodils will start to emerge in December and the first hellebores are in flower in December. That’s only 2 months till. I have been too late before taking pots out of the beds, only to find some feeble, scrawny and pale crocus and daffodil shoots, trying desperately to find some light. So all the pots need to come out by end of October, and as you can see here, what I am left with is large empty areas in the flower beds, just waiting for the bulbs to wake up. Spring is just a few months away :-)

But this summer ended just 2 weeks ago, and September was really good here, so good that my chrysanthemum didn’t understand what time of year it was. This huge potted chrysanthemum is usually in full flower for my birthday every year, but my birthday was last week and it will be a few more weeks before this plant is in full glory. It just hasn’t been cold enough at night for it I guess.

I harvested all the tomatoes last Sunday, in pouring rain, it’s so cold at night now, and only 15-16 degrees C at daytime so I assume they won’t ripe outside. I have left the chillies though, hopefully they will continue to ripe.

All the tomatoes are in this box....

....together with 2 ripe bananas. I guess it will take a small miracle to ripen all these cherry tomatoes this way, I have never tried it before but I’ll have a go. Hopefully the pale pink ones will get properly red at least. The box is stored in a dark cupboard, I have no idea how long it will take but I assume the bananas will be off in a few days!

Back out in the rain again. And it was really raining hard, although you can’t see that on my photos, but I was worried for my camera getting wet. It is very difficult to take photos under an umbrella – with one crutch.

I cleared the bottom of the garden about 10 days ago, all the pots are out on the path here too as here is where I have most of the spring bulbs. I have already found the first new hellebore shoot so things are on schedule there too.

That doesn’t mean my garden has given up for this year, far from it. The dahlias are still going strong and producing lots of new flowers. This is 'Striped Vulcan'.

And this is Dahlia Nuit D'Ete’.

Here is a project I haven’t showed off yet, my attempt to make Fuchsia standards. I have seen them in catalogues and on TV, and I have wanted to have a go myself for a long time, so last year I made two cuttings of Fuchsia 'Mrs Popple' and after a year of growing and pinching side shoots, this is the result. I am sorry the photos are not better, but at the moment the two pots are attached to one of the clematis obelisks for safety as I don’t want to risk them toppling over and breaking. The stems are about 160 cm tall, much taller than I planned, but they just grew and grew, so quickly! They were not meant to be topped until next spring, in year two, but with the climate I have in my garden they would probably have been 2m tall by then so I just had to cut off the top a few weeks ago to stop them from growing any taller. Now I just have to see if I can get them through the colder periods of the winter without dying....

Here is the second clematis obelisk in my garden, not with fuchsias, but with Clematis 'Ville de Lyon'. I cut it down in the beginning of August as it was suffering badly from mildew, and now it has grown 2m tall and has lots of new flower buds and a few flowers out already. I did wonder what such a late pruning would result in, and here is the answer, this clematis looks just like it usually does in May :-)

And now some more fuchsias, they are doing really well in the wet, cool weather we have now. This is ‘Bella Rosella’ a one year old cutting.

And here are two 'Perpetual Falls' with a rather wet and sorry looking Rose 'Susan Williams-Ellis' in front.

And this is the amazing Fuchsia 'Annabel' with 'Velvet Crush' in the container in the background. They have now all been flowering non-stop since July last year, so that means they are now flowering in their 16th month in a row!!

I do have some roses too, but they don’t like the wet windy weather much – this is ‘Rob Roy.

The aster doesn’t mind the wet so much, this white one is Aster ageratoides 'Ashvi', a fabulous aster for complete shade – it receives no sun at all and hardly any light to be honest, but seems happy enough. The purple is a chrysanthemum, a newcomer and still in the pot, I am not sure it will be equally happy in this position so it might end up on the opposite bed eventually. It is called chrysanthemum 'Ruby Mound' and the colour is even better than on this photo.            

There are more red flowers around, this gerbera has been dormant all summer but suddenly decided to put on a show again.

I tried to find some red roses in the garden to show you, but they had all gone with the hard rain or the wind, there are lots to come though, with buds everywhere, both red and yellow roses.

Here is another newcomer that has finally decided to grace me with some flowers, Alstromeria ‘Dandy Candy’, a beautiful colour. I hope this will be a lovely big plant this time next year.

And no flower in sight here, just a tapestry of lovely heuchera, they are all in pots, should have been planted long time ago really, so that’s a task for when we get some nicer days. I think they will be happier in the ground as they have all outgrown their pots.

Just a few photos from the front too, the water fall of flowers is still there, although one of the Calibrachoas has died, leaving a gap. I would have liked to plant the winter bedding soon, but I really don’t have the heart to rip out all these flowers when they look as good as this. I guess it will be late December this year too before I buy and plant my winter bedding – which means the availability of plants will be limited.

Oh well, perhaps I just leave them until spring this year, you never know, if we are lucky and get a winter like last year they would survive just fine. Can you see the bush in the red container to the left, next to my front door? It is a 10 year old Garrya elliptica 'James Roof' – if it had been growing in the ground it could have been 4m tall and wide!! I have root pruned it only once, when changing the compost, and otherwise left it to itself. The garrya receives no fertiliser but gets watered when the other plants in the front gets water. Every other year I am treated to an amazing display of catkins, long tassels of flowers that looks like pearls.

And although they won’t open until February or so, they have already started to develop. From the amount of tassels this time, I can already see it will be a great display.

One last fuchsia, this one had a hard prune about a month ago, so I could get some daylight into my living room again, the reward is lots of new flowers.

As I mentioned, last Thursday was my birthday, and here is one of my presents, a red rose I have wanted for years. It’s called ‘Ingrid Bergman’ and the roses are absolutely beautiful. I already have two other red roses in my garden, ‘Crimson Cascade’ and ‘Rob Roy’, but all three look different from each other both in shape, colour, size and how they grow. Besides, I can’t get enough of red roses :-)

Speaking of which, my aunt gave me 50 red roses for my birthday, one for each year! I know this post is supposed to be about what’s growing in my garden, but I just thought I would end today with showing off the roses I got, they are so beautiful, and will last for such a short time so I am trying to make the most of them while they last. They came in this basket, placed in oasis, and roses in oasis don’t last very long, 3-5 days usually....

....so after 3 days I took them all out and placed them in water around the house to try to make them last for as long as possible. I have now roses on my coffee table in the big glass bowl.

And on the side of my sofa in a vase, next to more flowers.

And even in my bathroom in a vase.

And in my kitchen in two more vases. I can assure you, the roses are even more beautiful than my camera can show.

That’s it for October’s GBBD, next post will be on the 31st October with a video from my garden for the ‘End of Month View’, hope to see you back here then. Thanks to Carol at May Dreams Garden for hosting the GBBD meme, If you head over to her blog you can see many more gardens in flower around the world right now. Until next time, take care.



UPDATE:

I had a look inside the box with the tomatoes today. There was a distinct musty smell and a few tomatoes had started to become a bit hairy. A closed plastic box was obviously not the thing….Although as you can see, a few tomatoes have gone red since I put them in 4 days ago. Well, on to Google for some more info.

Luckily Amazon delivered me something today in a nice cardboard box that just happened to be very suitable for my tomatoes - so I threw away the few tomatoes in one corner that had started growing fungus, the rest I rummaged through to get the few that had got nicely red and tipped the green ones into the box. Apparently there is no need for a lid, and no need for bananas or any other fruit either, all the tomatoes need is a warm, dark cupboard, a cardboard box and some patience. The cupboard under my stairs keeps around 23 degrees most of the time, a bit lower during the night but not much, I will keep the tomatoes there, take out the bananas when they have gone black, and see how it goes!


38 comments:

  1. Wow Helene....Dahlias and roses and tomatoes! Your gardens are so lush and full of blooms for this October's Bloom Day. Your Striped Vulcan' Dahlia is my favorite as well as all your vases of lovely roses...so beautiful!

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    1. Thanks Lee, I wish I had that many roses in my garden to take inside, but if I did, there would not be many left in the garden, not even in June! I treasure the roses while I have them, and got the photos to look at after they have gone.

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  2. Wow Helene, those are real parade of roses, they are elegant arrangements but i also love your garden. I specifically love the cascading blooms which you call water fall of flowers, haha! This is the height of your garden and i am sure you are happy with them. Lastly, belated happy birthday, the golden girl.

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    1. Thanks for your birthday wishes, and yes, the mix of plants I have in my front garden boxes this year have been quite successful, I will try to keep the begonias, but the rest will probably die if we get frost this winter.

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  3. Oh Helene, P.S. I am a postharvest physiologist, hehehe, so i should know how to force-ripen your tomatoes. Those 2 bananas are really not enough to hasten ripening of your tomatoes, and your box is so big for the ethylene to accumulate and induce ripening. I suggest you put them in smaller box, and put on top of the stove to absorb the dissipating heat. 15-20C is really low. Better yet include some more ripening fruits. Peelings of pumpkins or squash produce lots of ethylene too, might as well put them inside. Good luck.

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    1. Thanks, as you will see from my update, I am now onto plan B in regards to the tomatoes…. 15-20 degrees is the temperature outside, I keep a much higher temperature inside my house! It is usually 23 degrees here most of the day and evening, a bit colder at night – including in the cupboard where I keep the tomatoes. I read they had to be kept dark so I am not sure about putting them on my cooker. Besides, that would be rather inconvenient, moving them on and off every day when I need to use the cooker :-)
      I hope they will be fine in the cupboard, I will check every few days and pick out those that look fine enough to eat, it’s actually good they don’t all ripen at once as I would not be able to eat all of them right now anyway, this way I will have tomatoes long into November hopefully.

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  4. I'm guessing the garrya is kept small in the pit as ours is huge and grows at a breakneck pace.

    Must remember to trim the leaves from my hellebores.

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    1. Yes, I am surprised by how happy it is in that small pot, but garryas are ‘roadside trees’, they really don’t want much in terms of soil and fuss.

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  5. I just leave tomatoes in an open bowl on a sunny windowsill and that seems to work. I've just been given a huge bouquet of flowers with something very similar to Alstromeria ‘Dandy Candy’ in it, so thanks for naming it!

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    1. Thanks for the tip with the tomatoes, I have also now read that tomatoes don’t need to be in a closed container – see my update above. But with the amount I have it would be difficult to place them on a windowsill – I haven’t got any available anyway, they are all occupied by my orchids :-) I hope my cupboard will suit them fine.

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  6. A belated happy birthday, Helene. What lovely roses! The plants have certainly lapped up the rain, haven't they? It's all looking gorgeous. Very interested to see the fuchsia standards - I think standard plants generally are sadly neglected, and I look forward to seeing how you get these in shape. And love the Garrya - I saw one of these full size in the garden of one of the Inns of Court - had no idea it would take to a pot! But one thing I've been meaning to ask (didn't get to visit last month) - what did you think of Beechgrove?

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    1. Thanks for the birthday wishes, and yes, fuchsia standards might be my new craze – that is if I manage to get these two through the winter, I don’t have a greenhouse. But it’s very easy to make, at least so far!
      I have seen ‘full size’ garryas in Kew Gardens, they are absolutely stunning in full flower, I didn’t know either that it would be happy for this long in a container when I planted it 10 years ago, I thought I would have to give it away to someone with a garden big enough (someone with a park?!) after a few years, so you see, this is how I do most things in my garden, I just have a go :-)

      And yes, I have recorded Beechgrove every Sunday, thanks for the tip, I haven’t seen the last episode yet, too much to do, but I like the programs. They are a bit different than Gardeners’ World and I think they complement each other and I will continue to see both.

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  7. Happy belated birthday! It was about a year ago that we visited your garden, and it was definitely a highlight of our trip. I remember that your Dahlias and your Fuchsias were so, so healthy and fabulous, as they are this year. I think mine were done by this time last year, but we haven't had a frost yet so they're hanging in there. :) Your garden is a sweet little paradise. Happy GBBD!

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    1. Thank you Beth, I can’t believe it is over a year since you two were here, incredible huh? Well, my fuchsias have been flowering since you were here last year, they really need a break now, and I need to be allowed to cut them down soon, as they are all taking on monstrous sizes. I actually hope, for the fuchsias sake, that we get a colder winter this year, so things can get a bit more normal in the garden – although it is fun with a frost-free winter too!
      Happy GBBD to you too!

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  8. Helene I am bowled over by your garden again..and fuschia standards now. I wish I could grow them but alas they are annuals and do not like our colder weather.

    I forgot your spring bulbs come early so I can look at yours for a few months until mine come along. I have never ripened green tomatoes that way before. Usually we spread them out on brown paper bags in dark. Love to know how you make out with them. As always it is a delight to see your incredible garden. Happy GBBD!

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    1. Thanks Donna, I will give you all an update on my fuchsia standards next summer, first I need to get them through the winter without dying. As you can see from my update, I am now onto plan B with the tomatoes, more like what you do with yours, just spread out on sheets of paper in a cardboard box in a dark cupboard. I hope I have better luck this way.

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  9. Dear Helene, happy belated 50th birthday! That is a biggy :-) and I hope you had a wonderful day. The rose bouquet from your aunt is just marvelous. There is something very special about red roses and I can understand why you like them so much.
    'Ingrid Bergman' is a lovely rose here in California and I hope it will be as good for you in London and that you get tons of joy out of it.
    Your garden looks really amazing and I am in awe as always how many plants you are growing in your small space. When I read your posts I can feel the love that you put in your garden and it truly shows in how well your plants are growing! Wishing you a nice rest of the week!
    Christina

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    1. Thanks Christina, I had a great day and I still have all the red roses spread around my house :-) I have wanted ‘Ingrid Bergman’ for many years and I am so happy I finally got it - and I got a perfect place for it too as I have got rid of all my crocosmias, and the rose will go there instead. In such as small garden as mine, something has to go out when something new comes in, at least at this size! The info about growing ‘Ingrid Bergman’ here in UK is quite promising: ‘Vigorous, compact, Good disease resistance, Grows to 75-100cm in height’ – sounds like a perfect rose to me, but time will tell. I hope you have a good week too.

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  10. Happy belated Birthday, dear Helene! 50 roses for each year.. it's so romantic! I wish you to have all plants you have wanted for years and enjoy your garden every day, every season!
    Love your fuchsia project, I'm interested in a result, hope they won't grow tall having many side branches and flowers. Nice photo of the different colored leaved plants around the garden lamp, especially I love heuchera.

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    1. Thank you Nadezda, the roses are still alive, I hope they will keep for a few more days :-)
      I am also interested in how the fuchsia project will go, as I have never done it before, I hope they will look amazing next summer!

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  11. Looking very lush, Helene, despite or maybe because of the recent rain. The longer you can have interest in the garden at this time of year the shorter the winter seems.

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    1. Thanks John, my garden never stops really, it is about to shift into a different gear though, but whatever week of the year you come here there are LOTS of flowers. And only 2 months or so until the first hellebore flowers :-)

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  12. Your GBBD posts always make me green with envy. And you've done it again! Beautiful garden.

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    1. Thanks Dorothy, it is a labour of love, but I enjoy pottering around out there.

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  13. I continue to be amazed at how much you pack into your gardening space. You are a master at succession planting, it seems...including placing pots over your spring bulbs - brilliant!

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    1. Well, I have such a tiny space so I try to make the most of the space I have – I stack my plants and bulbs like sardines, sideways and on top of each other, and if there is an open space for a few weeks or months I make sure to have a few pots ready to plop into the space! It is a lot of work keeping all the pots over the summer though, especially with the kind of summer we had last year and this year – a lot of watering, but so worth it I think, it makes the garden look full most of the year, except right now when waiting for the spring bulbs.

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  14. Your garden looks beautiful, Helene. I love the fuchsias, and it's nice to see your front garden for a change. It looks so pretty.

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    1. Thanks Marisa, I have over 50 fuchsias and they seem to like the conditions I can offer them in my garden :-)

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  15. As usual, your garden is a credit to your dedication Helene. It all looks wonderful and I'd expect it to put on a right growth spurt following the rain.
    What a lovely new rose and of course, the roses from your Aunt are just stunning. They must make every room so cheery.
    I'm impressed with your attempt at standarding those Fuchsia. If anyone can be successful, it will be you, I'm sure.
    Your baby Fuchsia are now wonderful huge plants and Ihad cut back on watering and feeding at the end of last month but the recent rain and moisture in the air has really revived them. All I need now is find a home for them for winter. I had originally thought to keep them in the hall cupboard once they were dormant but no chance now, they are way too big. I'm going to have to risk them in my neighbours unheated greenhouse.
    Great post and images of your jungle :)

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    1. Thanks Angie, the garden is growing like mad, I think the council will have to get another load for their composting service soon! Good to hear the fuchsias are doing well, did I give you Fuchsia 'Perpetual Falls'? If so it’s supposed to be hardy so should not need to be taken inside, it will lose its leaves but they come back in the spring. Both ‘Annabelle’ and ‘Velvet Crush’ tolerate a few minus, so they will certainly be happy enough in an unheated greenhouse I should think. Perhaps place them on some bricks to get off the floor, or on a shelf.
      I am looking forward to first flush of ‘Ingrid Bergman’ next spring, although I am treated to a preview right now as the bush came with 3 buds just about to open.

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  16. Hi Helene, there is something to be said for your method of placing your tubs of perennial plants on top of the Spring bulbs which have died down. probably in late May I would suspect. Well anyway, its a great way to have succession of blooms in your garden. Fuchsia 'Annabel', considering its not even regarded as being fully hardy!16 months in bloom, surely this must be a record even for the London climate

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    1. My pots are a result of me wanting to squeeze as much as possible into my tiny garden, so whatever I can’t fit into the ground has to live in pots and I am forever moving pots around when there is an available gap! Right now most of them have to be lined up along the path though, but as soon as the first bulbs have finished flowering in February/March, I just push the leaves to the side and plop in a pot here and there. The leaves will then still get light enough to die back naturally whilst not look too horrible, and the pot have something more interesting to offer.

      I think ‘Annabelle’ has been labelled less hardy than it actually is, in my garden the 4 bushes have been through several cold winters with temperatures down to minus 7 at night for up to a week or more. I guess it helps that they are in the ground and not in pots though, and also that they all are growing between evergreen bushes which shelters them a bit against the wind. But I have not had any frost damage to any of them in all the years I have had them, and in the later years I also have had ‘Annabelle’ in containers through winters so I would say she is a rather hardy lady :-)
      I would love to hear from anyone else who has had fuchsias flowering for 16 months in a row – or more. Is it a record for UK perhaps?

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  17. It is my very first visit to your blog, so thank you for your post. Your garden looks to be crammed full of lovely plants, and you must have a very special micro climate to enable you to have such early spring bulbs. Annabelle is a very lovely fuchsia and I will look out for her - I hadn't realised how spectacular her blooms are !

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    1. Thanks, and welcome to my blog! Inner London gardening is quite rewarding with higher temperatures than the surrounding areas and my garden in particular is sheltered by a tall wall at the end which makes it quite shady but also keeps the ground frost-free most winters, even if we might have a day or two with snow. I just love all the plants I am able to keep outside during the winter – very good too, since I don‘t have a greenhouse :-)

      I can warmly recommend Fuchsia ‘Annabelle’, it is a much hardier fuchsia than given credit for, especially if grown in the ground, and if you don’t prune it hard, it can grow really tall.

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  18. A belated Happy Birthday to you, Helene! What a lovely bouquet of roses your aunt sent, and even better the way you have arranged them all around your home. We have had similar weather here, with so many rainy days it's been difficult to get too many fall chores done. I especially need to finish planting spring bulbs, but unlike you, I will have to wait much longer to see them bloom. I can't imagine daffodils and the like blooming in December already! I am envious, and then again I think I'm ready for a winter break from gardening:) The fuschia standards seem like a great idea; I hope they work for you.

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    1. Thanks for your birthday wishes Rose, the last of the roses are still on my coffee table but I think they will go tomorrow. We have had an amazing week-end here, with temperatures well over 20 degrees, almost summer! But this week it’s back to autumn weather again, so it didn’t last long. I really appreciate gardening in London where I can have flowers every week of the year, I am originally from Norway where I was used to 5 months of snow - so hellebores in December, snowdrops in January and crocuses in February still feels like amazing, after 15 years over here :-)

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  19. Happy Belated birthday! Your neighbors must enjoy walking past your waterfall wall. Everything is lovely. You are the Fuchsia queen! :)

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    1. Thank you – for both birthday wishes and the new title! I have tried to reduce the number of fuchsias a bit this summer, I am not quite sure how many I have now, but just under 50 I think. But I have started to take cuttings for next year and there are so many lovely other varieties I would like to have so I don’t know how many I will end up with next year :-)

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