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2014 BFS Raffle Winners Drawn at the NFU Mutual Headquarters on 18th October 2014 Prize ...........Value ....Ticket No .....Winner ......From First Prize .....£250.00 ...12733 .....D Higgins ......Shotton Flintshire Second Prize ....£150.00 ....1550 .....L Moore ........Ramser Isle of Mull Third Prize .....£100.00 ...14572 .....Mrs R McIntosh..Gillingham Kent Fourth Prize .....£50.00 ...11825 ....M Pritchard .....Bourn Cambs Fifth Prize ......£50.00 ...27270 ....P Birchall ......Eastbourne East Sussex Sixth Prize ......£50.00 ... 1161 ....Curtis...........Corsham Wilts Seventh Prize ....£50.00....11288 ....J Keal ..........Louth Linconshire Eighth Prize .....£50.00.....4401 ....C Kealcy ........York Ninth Prize .....Free Memb..20716 ....R S Gidalings....Solihull Tenth Prize .....Free Memb...1160 ....Curtis...........Corsham Wilts Eleventh Prize ..Free Memb...7323.....Mr A Burgess.....Southport Merseyside Twelfth Prize ...Free Memb..19566 ....Mr K Riley.......Brighouse West Yorkshire Twelfth Prize ...Free Memb..16564 ....R Hunter ........Belfast
Thank you to everybody who bought tickets for your support
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GETTING READY FOR WINTER!
We cannot avoid this for too much longer!
Cutting back plants ready for the winter can be a bit traumatic as there seems to be the fear that the plants will die. In my experience, any plants that don’t start to grow again – it will not be due to the cutting back, but more likely due to the subsequent over-watering or under watering or even that the plant was struggling beforehand!
So let’s look at what to do
Firstly cut back your plants when they are on the dry side as they are less likely to drip sap, which can cause fungal problems. If they are outside turn them on their sides so that they won’t get any wetter. I prefer to cut back my plants in autumn as the leaves that have been on the plants all summer will fall off during the winter. Also they will take up far less room when they have been cut back! Remove any leaves that are left on after you have trimmed the plants, as they will only fall off anyway!
Next how far do you trim the plants, this will depend on where you will be keeping them during the winter. The amount of trimming, will depend on the temperature that they will over winter and how brave you are feeling, the following are my guidelines! You may well have your own ideas!
• A heated greenhouse – running at 3° to 5°C, you can, in my experience be as brutal as you like! This the sort of temperature range that I aim for my greenhouses to be during the cold months. Plants grown this warm during the winter are not really liable to suffer from die back as in this temperature range they will be growing slowly but steadily throughout the winter. Generally my plants will be cut down so that the woody bits are 2” or 3” tall with perhaps older plants a bit taller! • A frost-free greenhouse or equivalent – then you have to be a little less enthusiastic with the secateurs as there is more possibility of die back. A cold spell where the plants are perhaps just protected by fleece or minimally heated and the stems can suffer die back. For a stem that is very short this can give you problems, as there might not be much live wood left after you have cut away the dead! So cut the plant back to about half the size, and as ever, try to get a good shape for the following year, always cut just above a node with sharp secateurs that will not damage the wood.
When you cut the plants back, however much you cut away, then remove any leaves that are still on the plant, if they stay on and fall later to the soil the debris can harbor pests and diseases. A good tip is to lay the plants on their side for a few days, any sap that drips from the cut stems will then not drip down the stems but harmlessly on to the bench, also plants cut back when they are fairly dry are less likely to “bleed”.
One important fact that we need to consider is that fuchsias will have to be kept frost free for the winter – it is the cold catching the roots that kills the plant – they can to a great extent survive the tops being frosted but it is when the roots get frosted that the plant is least likely to survive the winter! There are various methods that we can use to help the plants – it all depends on what you have available as to what you will need to do for your plants to survive! I have learnt that if you keep them really quite dry and then the roots are less liable to freeze.
Here are some options
A heated greenhouse Fuchsias do not need vast amounts of heat to survive – but if they are given a bit of heat they will grow right through out the winter months - meaning that you will have bigger and better plants next year. With the ever-rising costs of heating – you may be put off by this method – but as long as your fuchsias are kept at about 2 or 3 degrees C they will grow slowly but surely.
A frost free greenhouse –Bubble plastic and horticultural fleece have revolutionised things! Bubble plastic around the inside of the greenhouse is a great form of insulation but make certain that you keep the greenhouse well ventilated so that condensation does not build up too much. Do not cover the plants with bubble – fleece is the better option as it allows the plant to ” breathe” . A single layer of fleece covering the plant will give it a couple of degrees of protection and a double layer even more! Fleece is thin enough that the light can get through, but light enough that when the plant is covered that no damage is done to any young growth. Although I call this a greenhouse – you could be using a shed with light or even a conservatory!
Spare bedroom –has always been a popular method of over wintering but as we all have central heating these days our houses tend to be a little too hot. However if you use the coolest room in the house then the fuchsias will grow and you will have to look after them perhaps more than usual – but it is an option that can work – but not necessarily for everyone – particularly if you have lots of fuchsias. The problem with houses is that the atmosphere can be too dry as well as too hot! So lots of care attention can be needed!
The final option! With fuel costs etc – this is an extreme measure and definitely not for everyone is to treat you fuchsias almost as annuals keep those that are most precious and dispose of the rest. Looking after a few is much easier than lots. Then next spring go and support your local specialist nursery and stock up again!
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Fuchsia Gall Mite
This autumn there have been more cases of Fuchsia Gall mite recorded and so we all need to keep being vigilant. They are still in the South and West and close to the coast – however this might not always be the case. So please keep an eye on your plants and those of your neighbours.
We are tracking where and when cases are found - please can you contact email@example.com with the post codes of any places where it is found.
Don’t forget if you have any questions on fuchsias – please ask us and we will do our best to help – we have a great team who will answer your emails.
Please see our fact-sheet on Fuchsia Gall Mite - click here