Thursday 21 August 2008

Fuchsia Futures

F. 'Dancing Flame'

On Tuesday, I went to visit the fabulous gardens at RHS Wisley again, spurred on by the fact that this week they are holding their August Flower Show, which this year celebrates the 70th birthday of the British Fuchsia Society.As part of the show, there were many Gold Medal exhibitors stands to drool over. The British Fuchsia Society staged a show in the Marquee, and it was fascinating to try and figure out why one entry had been awarded a higher place than another.

F. 'Orient Express'

One lady exhibitor was even offering samples of her home-made Fuchsia Berry Jelly. I tried this on a water biscuit and it was delicious. It reminded me of Redcurrant Jelly, and I am sure it would work well in both sweet and savoury dishes and as an accompaniment. There were also fabulous displays of Fuchsias in the Glasshouse entrance, and a Fuchsia trial was in progress and on display here too.

F. 'La Campanella'

Extra special treat though was that I got to meet blogging friend and garden writer for Independent Newspaper, Emma Townshend. We nattered endlessly as we both took pictures left right and centre at all the exhibits and tried desperately hard not to bankrupt ourselves.I was very good and only bought 3 plants of Dianella tasmanica 'Emerald Arch', I think Emma succumbed to a few Fuchsias. I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to meet Emma, and really enjoyed her company as we trundled around the Marquee enjoying the beautiful plants and displays.


Fuchsia Jelly Recipe

1½lbs ripe Fuchsia berries (seed pods)
¾lb sugar
2 lemons
4 tbsp water or apple juice


Place fruit in a thick based pan with the liquid, bring to boil and simmer until tender, pressing the juice from the berries with a wooden spoon. Place in a sterilised straining cloth or jelly bag and allow to drip into a bowl overnight . DO NOT SQUEEZE THE BAG. Measure the juice, and top it up with water to measure 1 pint if required. Add the juice of the lemons. Put into a heavy based saucepan with the sugar , and stir gently on a low heat until all the sugar has dissolved in the berry liquid. Bring to the boil until setting point has been reached. Pot up in clean warm jars and cover in the usual way.