BFS Snowfire


Wishing all members a happy and prosperous growing year in 2024
As I write this, we are officially a month into meteorological Spring and after a very wet but relatively mild late winter and early spring. The spring flowering shrubs and trees seem to be a bit confused about their timing with Magnolias starting to open in late February and our forsythia has taken about 3 weeks to come into full flower. The outside hardy fuchsias are coming back to life and this year I have cut most of mine back very hard and painted the bark with a slurry of multi-mite in water to kill off any overwintering fuchsia gall mite.
Next Saturday, the 23rd March the societies AGM will take place at the West Monkton Village Hall near Taunton.
From next month, those of you who ordered members plants for collection from a nursery need to collect your plants. If you cannot remember which nursery you selected, please contact either John Nicholass or Carol Gubler. For those of you who paid to have them posted, they will be sent out in April. I will confirm in a news item when they have been posted. Again, this year they are being sent out in clamshell cases which should fit through most standard letterboxes. Please remember that they will be in compartments labelled A to F and the labels will be loose in the clamshell case with the appropriate letter written on them.
There will be a roadshow in the Midlands at The Coronation Hall Portland Road Toton Nottingham NG 9 6EL on the 21st April. More details in the events diary.
I hope your plants are growing well and you have not lost too many over the winter. I have had to throw away a few older standards as they were not breaking into growth evenly.

Heated Greenhouse
  • Remove any old or yellowing leaves and treat any pests or disease as soon as seen. Aphids can be a difficult problem in the spring if they become established.
  • Keep plants as far apart as possible and avoid leaves touching. Ventilate the greenhouse as much as possible, espeacially if using gas or paraffin heaters.
  • Take cuttings from suitable shoots.
  • Pot up rooted cuttings and pot on plants as the roots part fill the pot. Ensure show plants are in their final pots and quite pot bound at the penultimate stop.
  • Turn plants through 90° every few days.
  • Apply a thin coat of shading to the glass in April as the conditions warrants.
  • Keep whips growing. When they have reached the desired height remove the growing tip leaving 3 to 5 sets of side shoots 3 for a small standard and 5 for a large. Stop the side shoots at 2 pairs of leaves for the bottom sets and one pair for the top set. Continue to stop at one to 2 pairs of stops to build up the shape of the head.
  • Keep an eye out for any pests and treat as soon as seen. Remove any yellowing or fallen leaves promptly.
  • A regular spray of the plants with SB Plant Invigorator will also help to discourage Whitefly, Red Spider Mite and Aphids.
  • Check plants for any signs of vine weevils (Plant loose in compost or fine dust on surface). Repot in fresh compost and destroy any weevils found.
  • Stop show plants at every one to two pairs of leaves building up the shape. Move them outside on suitable days to harden up the growth.
  • Any plants for outside containers and decoration, don't stop them any more after late March or you will delay the flowering. Plant up any containers.
Cold Greenhouse
  • Plants should be coming back to life in the warming greenhouse, encourage shoots to break by misting plants with warm water on sunny mornings.
  • Be prepared to protect plants protected from frost by covering with fleece on frosty nights. Each layer gives 1-2°C frost protection.
  • Acclimatise any new brought in plants to your conditions. As they have probably been in a warmer environment they may receive a check to their growth
  • Get plants out of storage and remove any long white shoots. Stand plants outside on suitable days to encourage new growth.
  • Garden hardy fuchsias should be cut back hard to the ground in March in the South and early April in the North.
  • Most Important! Continue to enjoy your fuchsias