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Fuchsia (named after Leonhard Fuchs, a 16th century German botanist) is a genus of over 100 species of shrubs and small trees. Although there are four New Zealand native species (colensoi, excorticata, perscandens and procumbens) and one from Tahiti, the vast bulk of the genus occurs in Central and South America.
Think of fuchsias and chances are the fancy garden hybrids come to mind first. Showy as they are, it is not difficult to see they are related to wild species such as Fuchsia magellanica, Fuchsia denticulata and Fuchsia triphylla.
Some species, however, are less easy to distinguish. Our common native tree fuchsia (Fuchsia excorticata) has fuchsia-like flowers, though it can be hard to see the connection with the garden plants when it is not in bloom. But the likes of Fuchsia arborescens from Central America, with its panicles of tiny flowers, scarcely matches the common idea of a fuchsia.
The most widely grown of New Zealand's native species is Fuchsia procumbens and it too is quite unlike the garden cultivars. It is a low spreading plant with small rounded leaves and can be very hard to pick as a fuchsia until it flowers. Indeed, my initial experience of the plant was with cultivated specimens and I have to admit that I didn't immediately recognise wild plants when I first saw them.
This species was discovered in Northland in 1834 by Richard Cunningham. (some authorities call him Robert; in any case he should not be confused with his better known brother Allan.) However, it wasn't introduced into Europe until 40 years later in 1874. It has at times also been known as Fuchsia prostrata and Fuchsia kirkii.
The species occurs naturally in the north of the North Island down to northern Coromandel, often in coastal areas, and is now endangered in the wild. Though wild specimens can spread to several metres wide, cultivated plants are usually quite compact.
The flowers, which appear from mid to late spring are sometimes hard to see among the dense, sprawling foliage. The blooms are not the usual fuchsia colours - green and yellow, not red and purple - and most unusually, they face upwards rather than being pendulous. The blue pollen-tipped anthers are also very distinctive.
Upward facing flowers are scarcely surprising in a plant that grows so close to the ground. Nevertheless it is a feature that hybridisers have long been trying, with limited success, to breed into garden hybrids.
The real feature, and the reason why Fuchsia procumbens is grown by enthusiasts world-wide, is the berries that follow the flower. All fuchsias bear berries, but none can match the fruit of Fuchsia procumbens. While the bright red berries of wild plants are scarcely larger than redcurrants, cultivated plants may have fruit the size of small plums. The fruit has a grape-or plum-like bloom and is particularly showy because it is carried on top the foliage, not hanging below it. Fuchsia procumbens is a plant that likes to show off its wares.
This little trailing plant makes a superb hanging basket specimen and is very easy to grow. Despite its northerly natural distribution, it tolerates frosts and even withstands some drought. But strangely enough it is one of those New Zealand natives that is better know abroad than at home. British and American growers wouldn't be without it, but how often do you see a good specimen in a local garden?
I am a garden book author and horticultural photographer based in Christchurch, New Zealand. I run a stock photo library called Country, Farm and Garden (http://www.cfgphoto.com). This article may be re-published provided this information is published with it and is clearly visible.
Simple Lawnmower Maintenance
Do you have trouble starting your lawnmower up in the spring? Before deciding to take your lawnmower in for repair, try these few simple suggestions. After completing them most of the time your lawnmower will fire up and run like a champ.
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Landscaping of Hindu Religious Places
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Hot-Weather Fish Feeding Facts
Summertime provides the best time of the year to water garden ? and also to be on the alert for high-temperature problems.
Build A Simple Planter Box
Love flowers, but don't have the space -- or the desire -- to plant a garden? You may want to try making your own flower box, which can be just about any size you wish. This planter box is built with a top and a bottom exterior frame; then you affix cedar panels to the frame and add bottom panels. After that, just add plants for a touch of spring anywhere you want to put it! Expert tip: Always draw a diagram before you build anything. Remember: If you can't draw it, you can't build it! You don't have to be Leonardo Divinci, just that YOU can read it!! Your diagram will be useful in helping you determine the size of your project and the amount of lumber you'll need. Simply take the finished diagram with you when you go shopping, and you'll be sure to get everything your project requires. Materials:
How To Build A Waterfall
The number one, most asked question that I receive about water features is "How do I build a waterfall?"
Vegetable Growing for Beginners
If you have never grown vegetables before the first thing that you need to decide is where to plant them in your garden. Most vegetables need 6-8 hours of sunlight a day although greens can manage with less. Choose a site in an area that will not be shaded by buildings or trees and one that is near to a water supply. You will not want to have to cart water any further than absolutely necessary. Protect the site with a fence to keep out dogs, rabbits and other animals which can damage your crops.
How to Win the War Against Slugs and Snails
Slugs are one of the most hated of garden pests. You may have spent time carefully planting out your seedlings into the bed, but when you return next morning, you find chewed leaves, the growing points nibbled away and a mass of slimy trails all around. All clear evidence that garden slugs, or sometimes snails, have been enjoying a nocturnal feast at your expense.
Gardening--Fun and Frugal!
Whether you are an avid vegetable gardener, a beginning herb gardener or just like to have a pretty yard, these frugal tips may help you save a little money!
Vegetable Garden Layout
The size of your yard will determine your final vegetable garden layout. What can be fun is the planning of the garden and the decisions surrounding the kind of garden you want. One of the very first decisions is whether it will be a ground level or raised bed garden.
Basic Lawn Care - Mowing, Scarifiers, Aeration, and Watering Tips
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Metal Garden Furniture
Since Victorian times metal garden furniture has become a popular way to decorate gardens. In fact, since this furniture can easily last for many years with the proper maintenance, some people are still using pieces in their gardens that were made in the Victorian era. Metal garden furniture adds both a classic style and durability, which demand that it should be considered as the preferred choice of garden furniture.
The Rich History of Wild Roses
Daphnes for Scent and Colour
Anyone with even a passing knowledge of plants knows that daphnes have wonderfully fragrant flowers. And because some of them - usually the most scented - flower in winter, they're the sort of must-have plants that are usually among the first planted in any new garden.
Make Your Fresh Cut Roses Last Longer!
Women adore getting flowers, most especially roses, as it is a symbol of love and affection. Price of roses vary from state to state and flower shop to flower shop. Regardless, it is an investment that you want to have last as long as possible. So here are some steps you can take to ensure they last
Orange Perennials For Your Garden
Perennials are wonderful because, they bloom year after year. Sometimes, I forget that I even have them planted and then they spring up to my surprise and delight! I like to add some zip to my garden with flowers that are orange in color. They add a vibrant touch and the brilliant colors attract birds and insects.
How To Check If Cut Flowers Are Fresh
Fresh flowers should feel crisp or firm. Before you buy, run your hand under the flower heads from stem to petal tip. Proceed gently under the petals so as not to bruise them.
Grey Water- Not Drinking Water- For Your Garden
The average home can reduce their water consumption by around 30% by re-using grey water on their garden.
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