Developing our fuchsia border

Each year the garden evolves, and the Garden Team continues to seek new ways to improve areas and planting schemes in the spirit of Margaret Nettlefold herself.

During the autumn of 2020, the ‘Fuchsia Border’ was identified by the team as one such area that was under-utilised and in need of dramatic improvement.

This 40m long border – planted exclusively with fuchsias – is one of the first things visitors see when they enter the garden via the Terrace. Over the years, it has grown tired and dominated by a pale pink Fuchsia ‘Flashlight’, lacking the strength of colour to make the necessary impact when viewing the border from a distance.

So, the decision was taken to rejuvenate the scheme and introduce new species to complement the existing fuchsias, lengthen the season of interest, introduce a greater variety of colour, texture and shape, and take better advantage of the sunny aspect and free-draining soil.

Dramatic half-hardies and annuals – in a hot colour scheme of pink, purple and orange – were chosen, and a range of bulbs were added for interest much later in the year. Of the half hardies, the giant, long-flowering Salvia ‘Hadspen’ is performing best alongside the equally free-flowering Ostepermum ‘Tresco Purple’.

Originally, perennial structure was added using purple leaved sedum and orange flowered Crocosmia, which looks particularly good with deep purple flowering fuchsias. Now, as the scheme has developed even further this year, a greater emphasis was put upon more choice, perennial species such as Watsonia and Kniphofia.

Of the bulbs, Nerines and Amarines were selected for their flower colour and variation in size. We chose to use reliable ‘hot’ pinks such as N. ‘Isabel’ and N. ‘Zeal Giant’ and some more unusual cultivars such as N. ‘Salmon’ and A. ‘Anastasia’.

All have begun to establish well, showing good top growth, but many have been shy to flower. A. ‘Anastasia’ has proved the most vigorous in growth and N. ‘Salmon’ has even thrown out the odd pioneering flower bud.

Two years on now from the original plan, we remain satisfied with the impact. The border is now much more colourful and dramatic, and visitors are spending a lot more time in the area, looking at the different types of plant. Even into late-October the border still looks stunning.

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