Altar frontal: fuchsia

This week has been technologically challenging and in a small way traumatic as I’ve had to transfer my photo albums on to an external hard drive and then free up space on my Mac Air. Finding the right person to help took some time but now I think we’ve done it with just a few photos lost from the last couple of weeks. I hope tomorrow will be unseasonably bright so that I can replace the erased photos (including one for this post).


Altar frontal for Ipsden Ch. Oxon: fuchsia (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

Some serious gardeners turn their backs on fuchsias. Katherine Swift (author of The Morville Hours and The Morville Years) states firmly that they do nothing for her and in an article in the Guardian of 2002 Monty Don struggled with the idea of actually having them in his own garden at all, although he has since taken the plunge, both in his garden and in print. (Do read the article as he gives a summary of the plant’s origin more interestingly than I could do.) Anna Pavord was obviously tempted in The Curious Gardener where she describes the fuchsias in Columbia Road Market (London E2; open only on Sundays) as representing “staggeringly good value” but that was in 2010 and it may not be true any more.

Altar frontal for Ipsden Ch. Oxon: fuchsia (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

Altar frontal for Ipsden Ch. Oxon: fuchsia (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

I think the fuchsia has suffered the fate of many other plants – once the varieties become overly ornate, gardeners of taste go off them. I remember seeing a big bush of the tiny pink flowers of fuchsia magellanica in the gardens of Athelhampton House in Dorset, and being won over at the artless way it arched fine stems of delicate flowers and leaves (possibly variegated) into the path. I even wrote the name down so that I could hunt one down for my own garden, which I did … but it didn’t last. I suspect that I should have hardened it off to outdoor conditions more gradually than I did.

Art Nouveau fuchsia pendant carved in horn and stained

Art Nouveau fuchsia pendant carved in horn and stained

I’ve always been very taken with the design of the above piece of Art Nouveau jewellery seen in a photo from my cuttings book and I couldn’t resist using elements of that design for my fuchsia. I chose not to go for a big ballgown of petals and went for something a bit more sleek and less shouty. I’ve planted quite a few fuchsias in the vicarage garden and they’ve been quite happy over the summer but I’ve never yet managed to get any through the winter. Once again, I think it’s the smaller, less showy varieties that do best locally. Perhaps I’ll opt for one of those and have one last try.

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  1. Posted October 30, 2014 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    I live in a state of constant, low grade anxiety about technical glitches as I am totally unequal to tackling them. Like you, I have never managed to over winter fuchsias; I do like rather like them though.

    • Mary Addison
      Posted October 30, 2014 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

      How comforting to know someone else feels the same. I love blogging but when there are technical problems I feel utterly lost and very stupid. As to over wintering fuchsias, you at least have the excuse of living much further north.

  2. Anne Hill
    Posted October 31, 2014 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    I found your wonderful blog via Emily’s Cupboard. Am now working my way slowly through your archives – so much inspiration. It’s hard to know where to start. Thank you for posting.

    • Mary Addison
      Posted October 31, 2014 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

      Well, thank you for saying such kind things. It’s always uplifting to receive such enthusiastic comment and encouragement. I hope you’re not disappointed.

  3. Posted November 30, 2014 at 12:20 am | Permalink

    I think you may be right about the fuchsia becoming too ornate. At its’ essence it is a beauty, dancing away across the garden…. I think your fuchsia is doing the same.

    • Mary Addison
      Posted December 1, 2014 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      Less is definitely more with fuchsias.

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