Seen at The Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden - Chinese proverb

Sunday, 18 January 2009

No Fuchsia In It?


It's not long into the new year and I'm ready to have a rant courtesy of the above advertisement I received recently. It's for the world's first striped Fuchsia and as much as I usually love them, I do hate the habit some nurseries seem to have in bringing us pretty well every variation and colour for a plant under the sun, irrespective of their quality and whether we actually want them. Judging by the pictures actually used, to call this Fuchsia striped is quite debatable and adds nothing as far as I'm concerned. In fact I think it looks worse - if I saw that in someone's garden I'd be worrying the plant had a virus.

I'm not even told whether this is a hardy or tender plant, just the massive price saving I can expect by taking them up on the offer. I hate the assumption I'm completely price driven when considering plants for my garden. It's called Bland's New Striped - hardly the best of names to choose, except maybe the marketing people had an outbreak of honesty at the last minute?

Update: Ha! I've just done some further research and found out this half hardy Fuchsia is thought to have been introduced in 1872. Perhaps Bland was the name of the nursery or breeder at the time. It's hardly a new variety then, which is carefully left out of the marketing blurb though the low price on offer should have been a clue. Has anyone actually grown this cultivar? Did it turn out better than shown here? I reckon it must have done somewhere for it to have been kept in cultivation for well over a century.

It reminds me of the saturated advertising of Fuchsia 'Lady Boothby' lately. Billed as The World's First Climbing Fuchsia! and implying it's a new plant - except I've had it growing in my garden for a number of years already (see my sidebar slideshow too). Further research showed 'Lady Boothby' hails from 1939 - hardly new then. It looks like nurseries are searching their ancient back catalogues for anything a bit more unusual to tempt us into buying. I suppose it offsets all those costs incurred in breeding their new cultivars, most of which seem to last for just a few seasons before being replaced by the 'next best thing'. Sigh. Am I the only one finding it hard to keep up with all of this? There's a massive range of plants out there already, if you can find somewhere that has a decent choice of course.

16 comments:

  1. Reminds me of the "blue" Rose the Digger insisted on buying many years ago. Intense blue in the catalogue and a sickly pale lilac in the flesh!

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  2. Stripes - no way ! Definitely blodges to my eyes specs off or on. I am trying to guess which company it is indulging in such fantasies. As well as the term new a lot of them use the term 'exclusive' rather too freely.

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  3. hello, thanks for the message on my blog, it meant a lot, honestly.

    Also fuchsias are the first thing I ever painted in school, I have always loved the striking contrast between the pink and purple; stripes are a BAD idea, even the first time round. I stick to what I like and no advertiser can change my mind!

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  4. Too many plants to choose from, that is probably why nurseries are trying to remake old varieties and market them as new. Tough life keeping up with it all. I know I can't.

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  5. given the year the fuschia 'originated', couldn't it be advertised as an heirloom plant? i would be much more likely to think about purchasing an heirloom as opposed to some wanna-be fuschia someone came up with without bothering to validate growth & history.

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  6. I think there there can be too much choice! There's a lot to be said for traditional varieties of plants with proven track records. xx

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  7. VP .. I am with Tina on this one .. so much competition going on they try to put a new SPIN on old plants and suck us in with it.
    I do a lot of research before I buy plants .. for the most part I am prepared .. but every once in a while I will be caught off guard and think WOW !! a new version ..
    They should get a swift KICK to their pants for this malarkey !!
    It makes me so mad too ..

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  8. We get the same thing over here. There is one particularly obnoxious bunch of adds that make claims that a certain type of grass will be super grass. Of course, on further research, I discover that this stuff isn't even heat tolerant.

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  9. I definitely like the fuschias I've seen in your garden much better, VP. I've found that the cheaper catalogs often give new names to old standbys and don't give much botanical information to identify them. I order only a few plants from these companies, usually plants I'm sure of like hostas.

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  10. It's a mixed blessing, isn't it? Some new hybrids and varieties are so cool, and others...not so much. I think I'll decline a striped fuchsia, thanks very much...likewise the tepid blue roses, and some of the others that are just manipulated for the sake of manipulation. But sometimes I just 'gotta' have a particular new plant,usually because it's got interesting new foliage!

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  11. I would get this striped odd ball if I was matching it up for a container recipe. It would be pretty with red non-stop begonias and a pretty caladium. I don't like the new coneflowers. I'll usually try anything at least once.

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  12. Tee hee I got one of those in the post as well.
    To be fair to the company in question the rest of the catalogue does seem very good and the hedge I bought from them last year look's promising but I have to wait until spring to find out.

    To give everyone else a sporting chance at guessing the company I'd just like to say "Yes, milady."

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  13. I am still back on the page were I am a little green over your fuchsias to begin with;-)

    I feel that way about the echinacea with the virus looking growth on its cone! What is that stuff!

    I do love when I pick up a day lily catalog and they proudly declare~~ Hyperion is over 70 years old! Now that's a stalwart plant that I want in my garden.

    Gail

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  14. EG - that's exactly the kind of thing I was thinking about when I wrote this. I DON'T WANT a blue rose. If I want blue, there's plenty of other plants to choose from!

    Anna - have you guessed yet?

    Carrie - good to see you and it was a pleasure to leave a message on your blog. The 'stripes' do look odd don't they?

    Tina - I think you're right. I need a much bigger garden for everything I'd like to grow too.

    Flighty - you're right. I'm not sure if this one has a proven track record though!

    Joy - but I've seen you succumb, you've posted about it on your blog ;) We all do it though...

    Deb - that's just plain annoying - grrr!

    Rose - you're right about plants getting 'new' names. It's so annoying and I'm talking commercial names not Latin in this instance - though that happens too!

    Jodi - it boils down to whether the new plant's a 'good doer' in my book. I supect we all 'want our cake and eat it' though. I'll scour the catalogues and magazines for new plants to try with the rest of them. I was going to rant about blue busy lizzies too, except I think they occur naturally...

    Anna (FGG), it's interesting to get your take on how you'd use it. However, I think the plant doesn't look that different to several other 'traditional' fuchsias - Mrs Popple for example.

    Dave - I didn't want to single out the company as I know they're not the only ones doing this and a lot of the other stuff they supply is worth having. I've also had very good service from them in the past. I think you've guessed wrong re their identity though - it isn't Parkers, who've also been a good supplier to me previously.

    Gail - that shows it's stood the test of time doesn't it, though the name Hyperion makes me shudder as it was the name of an accounts computer package used at work! Thanks for the nice words re my Fuchsia's - I'm 2 minds about the new coneflowers too. The old varieties are such good attraction for insects and I wonder if the new varieties are as good for that - especially the doubles.

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  15. Hi VP,
    I'm not good with fuschias...they just don't survive in my extreme summer heat. They need sun, but that wilts them here. In the shade, they get no sun!
    BUT, even tho' I'm not that fond of the one you mention, I might take it if it would actually survive here. Afterall, with my sunglasses on, and a bright glare outside, I might not even notice the purple on them!

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  16. Hi Jan - sounds like they're not for you then!

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