Thursday, November 10, 2011
When I first started working at Scotsburn back in 1987 we were going through a tough period, not dissimilar to what we have experienced of the past few years. We tackled our problems in much the same way by testing and trialling new plants in the hope of steadying a listing ship. Scotsburn had tried indoor plants and ferns and when we were really desperate we tried Christmas Trees, the less said about our trees the better. Amongst the varieties tried were Fuchsia baskets. My Uncle Robert loves his English style perennials including Fuchsias, he is also a collector. I like the idea that gardeners fall into two categories: collectors and controllers. Rob is definitely a collector although I have to admit that his beautiful garden shows distinct signs of 'control' these days. Well Rob put together a terrific collection of named Fuchsia varieties but I don't remember them selling and honestly I glaze over whenever we start talking about individual varieties named after someones cat. I was young and strong willed and ended up taking the opposite course by focusing on seedlings and bloomers and deleting all the "non-core" products including Fuchsia. For better or worse that tactic suited us well at the time.
When things turned nasty with the introduction of water restrictions a few years ago I initially tried to remain focused on core business. I lost count of the number of times I was asked if we had started growing cactus. My response was "no we'll stick to our knitting. Not everyone can grow Cacti". But over time we grew more & more desperate and ended up growing potted bulbs (refer to note on Christmas Trees) and contract growing herbs for next to no return. And guess what! Fuchsia got another run. We grew a few, madly out of season due to a lack of any real understanding of the plant... and they sold. So we took some of our own cuttings and we found we could do that and grow a good plant... and they sold. This year we have put together a program to grow our Fuchsia baskets and have them ready for November/December (Christmas) sales. And with no little pride in my team, they have nailed it... and they sell!
We only have 2 varieties in baskets this year Dark Eyes and Trailing White (I think it's White Eyes, but White Eyes is supposed to be an 'upright' variety) and we have plenty of them. We have taken cuttings of half a dozen more varieties for next year's November sales. It's hard to express how exciting it is to find something that we grow well and people are interested in.
So to Uncle Robert, my apologies, but I did listen it just took a long time to act.