Summer starts in the spring

The urban fuchsias live in the City. In a small garden. In a small apartment garden. With no greenhouse and precious little space to overwinter plants indoors, lots of them have to be sacrificed to reality at the close of the growing season. Many do deserve another season, of course, but space is space and hard decisions have to be made. With the loss, though, comes the opportunity to try many new and different plants in the spring again for the next season.

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Fuchsias aren’t uncommon in local nurseries but the real selections in the United States all lie with specialty nurseries in the Pacific Northwest states of Washington and Oregon or in California. Luckily for me, a handful of those fuchsia specialists will send plants by mail (see  Buying Fuchsias). Usually the winter weather in the City breaks sometime in the middle of March, when the overnight lows stop falling below freezing, and start resting in the mid thirties. So I’ll time the first of my new starts to arrive about then. This year, however, March was a lot colder and snowier than normal so the first of the annual spring migrants were timed to get here at the end of the month.

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Those first starts from the  Earthworks have arrived in short order and it’s always exciting to free them of their confinement. Packed carefully to withstand the rough and tumble of transit on their trans-continental journey, they still need to be inspected for any branches broken or leaves lost. Once that’s done, they also need to get used to being in this garden and out of the pampered comfort of their former greenhouse home. I’ve grouped them all into a recycled black-mesh nursery flat over which I’ve placed a high plastic dome to create a mini-greenhouse. The mesh on the bottom of the tray is open and the dome has a couple of adjustable vents to allow for good air circulation.

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Out of any direct sun except in the early morning, they’ll acclimate to their new home at Hortulus Fuchsiarum under the dome for a few days, slowly being uncovered and recovered, until they’re finally uncovered for good. A couple of nights last week, the cold I thought we had left behind in March just wouldn’t take no for an answer and threatened to send the low temps tumbling back down to thirty-two again. Although it didn’t drop below thirty-five in the garden, I just picked up the whole mini-greenhouse and brought it inside as a precaution. Small does has its practicalities!

Now, on to the next task soon... Potting up.


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