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May 2002

All Aboard - Destination Unknown By Virginia Bickel

 This story takes four children: Amanda, Peter, Laura and Jason from New York City to a small town in west Texas and describes good times and bad times as they grow from childhood to adulthood


Virginia Bickel's newest book Come September  has just been released. Order it now!

  In Virginia Bickel?s second book, she turns from historical fiction to mystery. Come September is the story of Daniel Lindsey?s quest to identify the young woman found unconscious in front of his store, and to find out what she was doing on Mesa Street, in El Paso, Texas.  She brings to this genre her skill with character development and dialogue. You won't be disappointed.

Dr. Sarah Barlow






January 2002 February 2002 March 2002
April 2002 May 2002 June 2002
July 2002 August 2002 September 2002
October 2002 November 2002 December 2002

Please click on the thumbnails to view the pictures full size.

may_2002a.jpg (38533 bytes) Tutorial on growing standard fuchsias - Part 1: My plan over the next few months of 2002 is to write a tutorial in monthly instalments, this will explain how to grow a standard using both text and pictures. The first task in this project is to choose a suitable cutting. For the purposes of the exercise we've chosen a cutting of Waveney Sunrise, one of my favourite standard fuchsias. In the picture on the left is the cutting as it was a few weeks ago at the beginning of March. Please note that we chose a strongly growing, upright cutting. The plan is to grow this on as quickly as possible. We are aiming by the end of the 2002 season to have the stem at the length we want, and begin to create the head of the standard. Some cultivars often throw three or even four sideshoots, if you can select one of these, all the better, a bigger and better head will be the result.
may_2002b.jpg (40718 bytes) This second picture is of the same plant after a couple of weeks of tender loving care. As you can now see, it is growing strongly and the foliage is looking clean and fresh. At this time we do not feed the cutting, we want it to search for food and moisture and make new roots into the compost, thus filling the pot with roots. When it has lined the sides of the pot with roots, we will move it into a larger size pot. We are aiming to create a very large root system which will support the standard throughout it's life. The larger the root system, the better the final plant will be.
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Here is a picture of the plant that was taken on Sunday, May 19th. The fuchsia is still growing strongly and it will soon be ready for moving into a larger pot. Please note how clean and fresh the foliage is. To grow a good plant it's important that we keep it bug free. There are many products on the market that will achieve this. I spray my own young plants with one of these proprietary insecticides at the first sign of attack.

In the second picture on the left we demonstrate the way to remove the sideshoots. These must be removed so that the plant will put all it's strength into growing upwards. We take hold of the sideshoot between finger and thumb and gently turn it to one side to remove it, trying not to leave any small pieces behind. We must not remove the leaves on the stem, the plant needs them,.the leaves will be  photosynthesising (manufacturing food to support the plant.)

may_2002e.jpg (40207 bytes) This picture shows the plant after it has been tied to a bamboo cane for support. A standard fuchsia will spend all it's life tied into a cane. The tying in ensures a good straight stem, a sign of a well grown standard. Place ties every two to four inches, not too tightly as this could damage the stem, just tight enough to hold it securely against the cane. The first bamboo cane is a thin, short one, this will be progressively changed for longer, thicker ones as the plant grows. Note that we use wire ties to begin with, and will move onto the softer, gentler velcro ones when the plant's stem thickens. (to be continued next month..)
may_2002f.jpg (38830 bytes) Finally, a picture of some of the Regal Pelargoniums that are in bloom. They always look great at this time of the year and put on a spectacular show of flowers.. However, in July and August they generally stop throwing new blooms. One way to make them flower later is to cut them back after this first crop of blooms, the new growth will then flower at the end of August or beginning of September. The red and white one towards the left is called Fringed Aztec, and the pretty pink one next to it is named Virginia.


Send  to Alfie Geeson with questions or comments about this web site.

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