Elegant fuchsias

Fuchsias are good in shade, and planting in summer will give them a good start before winter arrives. The purple and red ‘Mrs Popple’ has been around since the 1920s and was spotted at a tennis party in Stevenage by Clarence Elliot of the Six Hills Nursery, a famous alpine gardener with a notorious eye for a good plant and a searing backhand. Mrs Popple was his neighbour. This glows in August and September and makes a good partner with Japanese anemones, especially 'Pamina'.

Or you can be subtle and plant a slender-stemmed small-flowered form to arch and sway. The pretty pink Fuchsia magellanica var. molinae should flower from July onwards and, if happy it will form a large bush. Fuchsias are left intact over winter and then, once the shoots appear their stems are cut back to the nearest growing tip. Mild winters mean earlier flowers, but after a severe winter a hardy fuchsia will shoot from the base - but perhaps not until June or July so be patient. The slender flowered ones, collected from the Magellan Strait by Philibert Commerson in 1767, are not as hardy as ‘Mrs Popple’. Surround the base with wooden twigs and pack some dry plant material close to the crown, removing it in spring because it will attract slugs.