Overseas Members View of a Fuchsia Show
by Julio Guri, Barcelona, Spain

 

I'm back in Spain, after having seen, in reality, and at last, one of those Fuchsia Society Shows that I had heard about and admired before I went on the Internet. 
The Show in question being Salford & Bolton Fuchsia Society.
Visiting the show, gave me the opportunity of having the pleasure of seeing again my friends that had treated me so well, when I attended, one year ago, one of their regular monthly Society meetings which included me being inducted as an honorary member.

Although I had been growing fuchsias prior to 1980 - mainly because of their long flowering period - and having produced my first ( and beautiful ) standard in 1983 - after seeing a young one at the Chelsea Flower Show.
The new world of thousands of hybrids, different techniques and people sharing the same interests did not open until 1996, when I was connected to the Internet for the first time.

Fuchsia Societies do not exist in Spain because of our lack of tradition in gardening and in associative activities ( the later having been banned during many years ). However, gardening is well established in the UK, as anyone can see by attending any of the many events scattered across the country, such as the Malvern Gardening Show, which I attended last year.

Fuchsia Societies have been, for many years, promoting the affection to these beautiful plants, first in their respective geographically limited areas of influence and now, thanks to the Internet, on a world wide scale. Worthy of praise are the increasing number of webmasters that, without any economic reward, are publishing on the Internet their knowledge and experiences for the benefit of remote fuchsia enthusiasts, such as myself.

Having seen in the past on the Internet, so many pictures and reports, the arrival to Worsley Hall Garden Centre, where the Society holds its annual show, was no surprise. For the first time, I was able to contemplate the real plants, not just pictures. Worsley Hall Garden Centre being the main sponsors had allocated the required space for the Society Show.
All the plants at the show were beautifully showing all the loving care that their respective growers had put into them.A pleasing point, was to find my friend George Foster and his wife had been amongst the prizewinners.

One of the things, which drew my attention, was the age of the members, mostly middle age and above, something that might endanger the takeover of new generations. In this respect, Salford and Bolton Fuchsia Society acts proactively by offering full advice and support to inexperienced new members and by creating a "beginners" night for newcomers.

I do regret that my shyness, because of being somehow unsure about the language, made me unable to enjoy longer chats with each and every Society member.

I'd like to mention especially, Fred Morris, the President, a very charming person whose knowledge about fuchsias could fill many, many pages, also Myra Baxendale, the Sponsorship and P.R. Secretary, for her sensitivity as, when she knew I had been all day without a cigarette particularly, in a place where I could not buy any, she gave me one of her packets. Only a smoker can understand the "suffering" of another one!

My thanks to the Foster family, for their excellent hospitality, providing full board, a king's treatment. Besides, I enjoyed the chats with George about fuchsias, the Internet, computers and other matters of our mutual interest.

I am very thankful to all people that contributed to make this trip a success. My targets had been to see again, the Salford and Bolton Fuchsia Society people, to evaluate the real atmosphere of a competition and, finally, to see some beautiful fuchsias.Not to mention seeing my friend George, with whom I share many interests and despite belonging to different cultural environments, we get on very well.

As a conclusion - if any is required - I'd like to encourage every single person minimally interested in fuchsias to join a Fuchsia Society and to give full support and assistance to it's webmaster.

There is a host of knowledge on fuchsias, "floating on the air", worthy of reaching posterity, which has never been written anywhere. In preceeding years, the only medium for fuchsias was printed paper, with its limitations - especially concerned with costs. Nowadays, this has become easier, as every person can publish his or her experiences, almost for free. Photographs, articles, information about growing and obtaining new hybrids, all this can be published and made available to anybody else in our planet, providing of course they are connected to the web.

Julio Guri - Barcelona (Spain)
August 2000

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