Tuesday, November 15, 2011
You can almost hear sighs of relief as the oppression of the summer’s heat and humidity fades away by the second half of September. It’s a respite that can play itself out for another several weeks. The fuchsias take this opportunity for a last flush of green and and a final flash of flowers until the reduced sunlight and, then, the first frosts of mid-November to early December bring on the inevitable. They’ll withstand a degree or two, some even more, but there will be that finality of a hard freeze that brings the curtain down on the garden year.
This is a small garden. Like most gardeners in a small garden, I’ve been collecting way too many potted plants over the growing season. We can’t help ourselves. “There’s always space for just one more,” we will think as we shepherd yet another little treasure from rack to counter at the nursery. And all bets are off for late season sales. However, this isn’t just a small garden. It’s a small garden apartment. There’s not the luxury of a glasshouse or a garage or even a porch. There’s an apartment. With a couple of windows and a tall rack by the back garden door. Plants in the ground can go their own way but, of course, the tender pots need to be brought into protection over the winter months.
With such limited space at the end, the cruelest and hardest part is deciding which fuchsia comes in and which goes away. I take it as a time to review how well each cultivar did over the summer. A few “heirloom” plants are exempted, of course, like the F. magellanica cultivar that’s followed me through thick and thin and several renewals of cuttings for a couple dozen years. Or my “non-fuchsias,” like an Himalayan Windmill Palm I had meant to plant out in a hardiness trial but just liked too much in a pot or my “collection” of three small clivias. The fuchsias themselves are divided into three groups: Yes, Maybe and No. I’ll expand a little more on my ratings scheme in another post.
In the meantime, this has been an extended year on a long, gentle slope and I’ll enjoy the respite of a golden fall along with the fuchsias.