Welcome Back Meeting

What a great “Welcome Back” meeting!

 

     

Members had the chance to reconnect and also to inspect the new location. It was such a cheerful and uplifting atmosphere, with early attendees all helping to get the room set up! There were 3+ tables absolutely FULL of plants, so the “green thumbs” in the group have definitely been busy in the last few months!  Lorna brought her large display of the many magazines and pamphlets she collects from related societies and clubs. Lynne brought her wonderful posters and display from the “Burnaby Blooms” show, which highlighted our Club activities.

After a short introduction to the meeting by Lynne F., we were treated to several presentations by members Ron K., Melanie G., and Lorna H.

Ron K. told us about some of his favorite fuchsias.

Some of the large double varieties are Dark Eyes, Blue Eyes, and Swingtime. New Millennium is a very dark fuchsia with a trailing habit; Blacky is similar but upright.

Double Otto and Winston Churchill are good choices.

Fuchsia ‘Gartenmeister Bonstedt’ (one of the Triphylla fuchsias) is an upright shrub with single red flowers and dark red leaves and stems.
A smaller fuchsia is the fuchsia Magellanica Genii.
Fuchsia ‘Checkerboard’ is nice but is not available everywhere.
Fuchsia La Campanella has single flowers.
Fuchsia ‘Autumnale’ has attractive golden-orange leaves, but needs a sunny location.

Some fuchsias are hardy in our area, although this past year’s uncustomary cold still resulted in some losses. Some of the hardier fuchsias are Winston Churchill, Delta Sara, Blacky, Dollar Princess, Paula Jane, Magellanica, and Genii.

Melanie G. gave us valuable information about growing fuchsia standards. She brought in three fuchsia trees, of varying heights, which had overwintered in her unheated garage, to demonstrate. These had been cut back a little in the fall so that they were more compact for storing. It was very helpful to see how “lifeless” they appear at this time of the year!

Melanie has trained many fuchsias as standards, including green leaved plants such as Delta Song, Mrs. J.D. Frederick’s, Waltz Jubelteen (upright), and Eden, as well as variegated plants such as Tom West and Golden Treasure.

Both the “Bush” and the “Standard” forms have single stems. The Bush is a shorter stem and the Standard is taller. The side shoots on the stem are removed and the leaves are not removed but are kept until they fall off naturally up from the bottom of the stem until the desired height is achieved. This can take a year or so depending on the height! Melanie demonstrated how she would cut the branches on the head (top) back to new growth in the spring. She trimmed back any dead parts and any lower leaves. Even an experienced grower can have set-backs! She noted that it is important to use a weak fertilizer fairly often and to keep trimming your plants to achieve a round shape. If one side is thinner, put that side towards the sun.  Training a fuchsia to be a standard needs some dedication, but the result can be spectacular!

Lorna H. brought in a large Streptocarpus, in need of some TLC, to initiate conversation about trimming and propagating. Lynne F. mentioned 2 popular methods.  One is to cut the long leaf into 2inch (square) sections, and insert these into perlite, vermiculite, or a very light soilless mix. Another method is to slice the middle rib out, make two little trenches in the substrate, and then gently push in the two long sides.  The substrate should be damp but not soggy. Daily misting is helpful. Keep it in a bright area out of direct sun. Regular checking of the substrate is needed to be sure it doesn’t dry out.  Ron K. likes using clay pots so that the plants don’t get too wet. African Violet soils are also a good choice.

Wick watering was also mentioned.  One member uses the cotton strings cut from a mop bought at the Dollar Store! (It’s always good to be thrifty!)

Lorna informed us that most gardeners only need to be aware of 4 general types of fuchsias:  hanging fuchsias, bush fuchsias, shrub fuchsias, and standard (tree) fuchsias.  The basic flowers are Hybrids, Triphyllas, Encliandras, and Species. She brought an Encliandra “Lottie Hobby” to show us how tiny the pink flowers are!  (Lorna noted that many plants sold as “Lottie Hobby” are actually not the original plant!)

Lorna also demonstrated repotting Triphylla fuchsias.  (Lorna does not recommend “chopping off” the bottom roots with other fuchsias.) Afterwards, you place the plant back in the pot and refill the top with new soil.

Seeing as a friend had given her a Trailing African Violet, also in need of TLC, Lorna (and Lynne) talked about propagating this type of plant.  In this case, the entire leaf is cut off.  The leaf will root in water, or it can be put into a light mix.  The trailing end can also be cut off and rooted in water. (Remove the bottom few leaves.)

Fun Fact: Lorna heard of this tip from a expert gardener overseas (in England I think).
To encourage your fuchsias in baskets to “grow down” attractively, you should “pet them” daily!  That idea is definitely more fun than attaching clothespegs to weigh the branches down!

After the presentations we moved on to that delicious “Welcome Back” chocolate cake!  Yum!  When we sat back down for some business items, we certainly had sweet smiles on our faces!  The venue at St. Timothy’s was deemed to be a very good choice and meetings will be held there once a month.  Members were encouraged to put forth their ideas for activities. Items such as opportunities to meet for “socials” or to participate with other groups for “shows” will be ongoing topics for discussion, as will the dissolving of the “library” (which has shown increasingly minimal borrowing due to the ease of using the Internet).  Melanie explained the process of obtaining speakers (it’s not that easy!) and asked for feedback regarding speaker topics and member interests.

Thank you to Directors and members for helping out with this first-time setting-up at St. Timothy’s, and for handling the more traditional activities such as the 50/50 draw, the “Garden Shop” draw, cake serving, tea making, “Best Plant” award, and anything else I missed! Thanks to Lynne F. for leading the meeting and to Lidy K. for taking the minutes.  Thank you to ALL the members for staying afterwards to help transport plants back to cars, and to store away the extra tables and chairs after the meeting completed. A very special thanks to Melanie G. for not only acquiring our new venue, but for organizing all the set-up, taking care of the alarm system, and staying to the very last to make sure that all was left in pristine condition! (No, I didn’t let her stay all by herself! 😊) I hear that we received compliments on our clean-up from the church afterwards!

 

2022 will be a year of “revitalization” and “rebuilding” of the BC Fuchsia and Begonia Society, after such a long break due to Covid.  Tonight was a great start, and it looks like the members, especially the new ones, are excited about growing, learning, sharing, and exploring lots of options!

 

 

 

 

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