August 12, 2014


This summer I have been assembling and training a collection of about 25 upright fuchsia selections, some historical, others just curious, which I am training to be either standards ( topiary) or bush uprights, a method of growing fuchsias once popular in conservatory displays at botanic gardens and private estates were gardeners trained fuchsias for summer displays in greenhouses or on the porches of grand, summer cottages in Newport and Connecticut. If you are looking for true coral colored flowers, long, delicate clouds of bee-sized blossoms in shades of lavender-grey or peachy pink, with little skirts or magenta and raspberry looking more like those engravings from a nineteenth century fairy tale book than a floral display, than maybe these old-timey fuchsias are for you.

Upright fuchsia varieties have all types of blossoms. Some are very small, others quite large, but they all hang.

There are many reasons why good plants can't become commercial, and certainly, height is one of them - just try to find a perennial taller than 16 inches at a home center or big box store nursery - the reasons are more practical than one might think - they just don't fit on the shelves, so merchandising is out of the question. One is most likely to find small fuchsias, in bloom and in 4 inch pots for window boxes (treated with growth regulators) than any interesting species or selections known for their amazing floral color or display.  All this aside from those horrid hanging basket fuchsias (nothing wrong with them, ecxept that I find them revolting).

 Me? I just find upright fuchsias so much more interesting than weeping varieties often found at garden centers. Tall canes with a single stem trained upright, carefully pinched and trimmed until a woody stem  is formed, and then a bushy flower chandelier with pendant blossoms, some lifted to eye level where one can appreciate them more.

My Fuchsia's this year are just starting to bloom, here are some of my best trained varieties:

Click below for more!

I know, another crazy Matt project - as if I don't have enough to do. But hey, these all keep my life interesting as I become bored easily. I suppose if I had gardeners, or a staff, I would drive them crazy with more intensive projects, but until I win the lottery (if I played it!), the only gardener is me. And I think I can only handle about 30 fuchsias, which will winter over in the cold greenhouse and hopefully become more beautiful next summer, as these are plants which will need to build some woody age to them before they reach their potential. This year, I am lucky to have just a few blossoms to share with you. Above, are some of the varieties I have so far in the collection.

I love some of the coral tints that fuchsia can have. This one is called Machu Picchu'.

The World Dog Show held in Helsinki Finland this year, just ended, and our Weasley ( Irish Terrier) competed. It was a pretty fancy affair - many liken it to Europe's Westminster.

The World Dog Show is enormous, and with 38 Irish Terriers from many countries, we were not disappointed. It was a well organized affair, and no expense was spared.

I stayed home this week and a half because Joe and Weasley our Irish Terrier went to Helsinki, Finland where Weasley was entered into the World Dog Show. He did quite well, even for an American bred terrier with a docked tail ( Europe does not allow docked tails, but in this show, it's OK). He placed third in his class.

Weasley, or 'Red Devil Kennel's Lucifer's Fire' placed well at his first World Dog Show this weekend in Helsinki, Finland, where he and Joe have been for a week. Their absence gave me some free time to get some house work done.
It's hard to believe that this little guy is the same one who digs holes in the cabbage patch, and pees on our tomatoes.

I painted the back porch this week during my vacation as Joe was with Weasley at the World Dog Show in Helsinki ( Weasley came in 3rd in his class/breed, so that's not so bad. They are flying home tonight. Fergus here is enjoying not having the youngsters running around, as he is getting old. Nothing like a nap on a rainy afternoon.

The rest of the dogs needed a baby sitter, which comes down to me. I actually loved the time off, as it gave me some time to catch up, or sort-of catch up with chores and garden projects. Work still kept me busy as we have presentations coming up, but between computer time, photographing etc, I was able to clean off the back porch and paint it - even the floor. I also was able to sow 60 more species of Lithops for that collection, and catch up on weeding, repotting cyclamen and other random garden projects. Of course, I feel as if I got nothing accomplished, and yes - that is probably an illness many of us share!

Joe said that the opening ceremonies were like the Olympics. I suppose these are the Doggy Olympics. Here is some typical Euro weirdness or modernity, depending on your style. I sort of like it.
Maybe next year I will go the the World Dog Show because it is being held in Milan ( ahem, hey - if I have to go, I will force my self to tolerate it!). In a couple of weeks I will be traveling to the North American Rock Garden Society annual meeting in Sante Fe, New Mexico, so I am looking forward to that. More about that later.

Happy High Summer!

Now my fuchsia collection doesn't seem so crazy. Most of the other plants are not blooming year, so they are still outside on the deck display. Maybe they will bloom more heavily in September - if so, I will post an update.
All of my fuchsia cutting came from THE EARTHWORKS nursery, at Fuchsias.net


  1. Another good reason to wash your veggies! Congrats Weasley.

  2. Thanks for the nice posting and source information, Matt, good fuchsias are hard to find.

  3. Hello from Euro weirdness! Those fuchsias look great.


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