The fuchsias of August



I’m in love with the greenhouses at Longwood. Have I said that enough on the blog? Well, maybe. But let me say it again. I’m in love with the greenhouses at Longwood. Especially during the summer. Especially during the month of August during the summer. The Main Conservatory’s where it’s at. You’d think I’d be severely distracted by all the flowery displays outside where things are at their peak.

And I am. That’s not hard at a garden like Longwood, after all.
Victoria amazonica, the magnificent Queen-Empress of all tropical water lilies, is almost unbelievable in the slow and fantastical unfolding of its giant pads. The Hillside Garden with its perennial changes of mood to match the season. The long Flower Garden Walk. The marvelous new Trial Garden featuring dozens of cultivars each of Clematis, Paeonia, Capsicum, Agastache, Salvia, Pentas, Lantana, Colocasia, and Canna.

But the Orangery and the Exhibition Hall keep their own rhythm of ever-changing displays come spring or fall, summer or winter as well. And August in the Main Conservatory is the month when the fuchsias hold court. It’s not the kaleidoscope of cultivars you’ll find at a plant show or even over in the Trial Garden but these fuchsias aren’t timid in their presence in any way.

There are always beds of them and spectacular baskets that float above the lawns and walkways like huge hot air balloons. Standards take the floor in the Exhibition Hall stationed like rows of uniformed cadets lined up for inspection, reflected in the watery mirror at their feet, all ready to parade. They’re backed by a regiment of tree ferns. There are of course crowds of supporters to cheer them on but it’s really the Fuchsias of August that command the stage in the Main Conservatory this month.

In all the hanging baskets, Fuchsia ‘Lord Beaconsfield’. The cultivar was chosen by Longwood’s gardeners especially for its floriferous nature and heat tolerance.

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The Abyssinian banana,
Enstete ventricosum ‘Maurelii’.

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Above left,
Cana “Tropical Salmon’; Above right and below, Fuchsia ‘Gartenmeister Bonstedt’ and coleus, or Solenostemon scutellarioides ‘‘Kakegawa CE11’ (The Flume).

Fuchsia ‘Gartenmeister Bonstedt’

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Left, flamingo flower,
Anthurium andraeanum ‘Dakota’ and Canna ‘Tropical Red’ line the walk; Right, Caladium ‘Florida Sweetheart’.


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Upper right, cane-like begonia,
Begonia ‘Irene Ness’; Lower left, Allamanda cathartica ‘Hendersonii’.


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Left, Canna ‘Tropical Yellow’; Right, Guzmania ‘Marjan’.


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Left, coleus, or Solenostemon scutellarioides ‘Kakegawa CE11’ (The Flume); Right, Caladium “Carolyn Whorton’ and Egyptian star cluster, Pentas lanceolata ‘Butterfly Lavender Shades’.


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Upper left and lower right,
Philandenron ‘Prince of Orange’ and flowering maple, Abutilon ‘Bella Deep Coral’; Upper right, left and below, Fuchsia ‘Träudchen Bonstedt’.

Fuchsia ‘Träudchen Bonstedt’

Above and below,
Fuchsia ‘Lord Beaconsfield’.

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Fuchsia ‘Lord Beaconsfield’

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Upper left, Egyptian star cluster, Pentas lanceolata ‘Butterfly Lavender Shades’ and the umbrella tree, Schefflera ‘Amate Soleil’; Upper right, Caladium ‘Carolyn Whorton’; Lower left, Caladium ‘Florida Sweetheart’; Lower right, ti plant, Cordyline fructicosa ‘Exotica’.

Above and below, Fuchsia ‘Tassel Salmon Pink’.

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Upper left, Anthurium ‘White Heart’; Upper right and lower left, Fuchsia ‘Tassel Salmon Pink’; Lower right, winter-flowering begonia, Begonia x hiemalis ‘Emily Clibran’.