Event Reports 2024

From ‘Lift the Latch’ to ‘Little Latch’

Pauline and David Wright took us through a personal and inspirational journey from their two acre garden near Chard to their recent, much smaller garden in Yeovil.

Although sad to leave their garden of over thirty years, a new garden certainly has its benefits - not least of which is now spending no time clearing wheelbarrow loads of blanket weed from a large pond!

Pauline certainly has an eye for colour and aims for all year round colour using, in particular, shrubs and trees. Many of these, for example Flamingo Willow, she prunes and raises the canopy thus allowing more planting underneath and opening up views within the garden and beyond. Acers also feature - many bought from local supermarkets. Although they have clearly invested in some more unusual plants e.g. a lovely weeping Cotoneaster from Triscombe Nursery at ‘Lift the Latch’, they are keen to show what can be done with plants which do not cost an arm and a leg!

Bringing 70 plants from their old garden to ‘Little Latch’ meant that what had been a blank canvas, could quickly be transformed. Clearly, the old plants are now establishing themselves but there is always room for a new addition or two!

Pauline and David, along with others in their road, are very keen to welcome gardening groups. I can confirm that the cakes offered are wonderful! All money raised goes to a cancer trust which helps those who have been affected by cancers to the face and neck.


We opened 2024 with a fascinating and lively talk by Derek Dexter. Derek clearly has a true passion for fuchsias and has placed first several times in Fuchsia Society competitions. He is nationally recognised as a leader in this field.

In March, remove from the pot and saw off 2” of root ball. When potting on fuchsias, brown roots confirm weevil attack. If white, all is well.

October -November put 6” hardwood cuttings into a 5” pot which will accommodate 6. These cuttings would have been cut above AND below the leaf node. Hardwood cuttings may seem dead  but spray with water so it leafs up and then take cuttings, expecting to see roots in 18-21 days.

To take leaf cuttings, cut below the third leaf node below the bud tip. Cut again to leave two pairs of leaves. Cut off 2/3rds of the lower leaves. No root hormone, place in multi compost and NOT into water. Non hardy ones are best protected with fleece inside a greenhouse over Winter or just put in a shed out of a draught.

I was particularly fascinated to hear that miniscule bud cuttings can be grown on in a 2” pot, using very fine compost. Place a sandwich bag over the top, secure with an elastic band, place on a sill but NOT South facing. Expect it to root in 18-21 days.

Best Peat free compost  is Sylvia Grow, about £8-9 a bag. Always sieve compost to remove the rubbish like plastic. The best feed is Chempak 3.

You can apply SB Plant Invigorating and a bug killer from March but NEVER water over the plant; just water the pot to avoid Botrytis and keep greenhouse floors damp to put off pesky Red Spider Mites.

‘Fuchsia Gall Mite’- nothing kills it so cut off the top 8” of an infected plant and do not compost it. Only add it to the black bin.

Shrivelled leaves tell you TOO MUCH WATER!!!

We then looked at hardiness. H1 being the least hardy and H3 pretty hardy. H3 being left out 12 months, put leaf mulch around the crown which you MUST NOT cut to ground level, just reduce the height. Expect 2 foot of growth in height a year so the level that you reduce to will depend on how high you want the plant but a foot is good as it prevents too much wind-rock.

Quite a few of us were inspired to buy some cuttings all of which looked bursting with health and vitality. When planting out, Fuchsias like dappled shade best.  

As an aside we learnt how to clean up secateurs, apply tomato or brown ketchup and leave overnight. Now have you ever heard of that?

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