This section is from the book "The Florist And Garden Miscellany". Also see: All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!.
The beauty at this season of the year of those Fuchsias that are planted in the open ground, of which I have several, always makes me think when I see a collection of them in a greenhouse that they are not in their proper place. They never appear to me to shew so well in pots and under glass as they do where they have more freedom and greater advantages of contrast; and my impression, moreover, is, that they flower better out of doors. The form of the blossom also fits them for open culture beyond that of almost any other flower, by screening them from injury by rain.
The difficulty, of course, lies in their tenderness, as it seems to be taken for granted that they are totally unfitted for standing our winters. Yet I remember being on a visit near Ems worth in Sussex, in the autumn of 1834, and seeing a highly cultivated garden separated from a field in which sheep were grazing by a hedgerow of Fuchsias, that was as attractive to the eye in its contrasted livery of green and crimson as it was useful as a servant; for its gnarled and intertwined branches were evidently as impervious to a rabbit in winter as to a sheep at any time, and must have endured many winters. And last year I saw a single specimen in Surrey from eight to ten feet in height and twelve across, which had stood many years, and was early in July in full bloom. That, however, received efficient protection in winter, which the above-mentioned hedge did not.
These, however, were of kinds more hardy than the modern tenants of greenhouses. Yet Serratifolia, I should think, may be taken as a fair representative of the powers of endurance of these last. Mr. Story says it is " decidedly tender;" and a correspondent of a floral periodical in the spring of last year, describing a specimen plant he had bedded out, relates that the first frost early in October destroyed it. Now I should like to know whether that frost, or all the subsequent frosts of the winter, really did destroy it; for I doubt the fact. I had a small plant that year in the open ground much farther north, the beauty of which was destroyed by the same frost, but it afterwards partially recovered itself, and finally died down to the ground in the winter. Yet in the spring it came up again like the others in my borders, and made a very handsome plant. In fact, the root of the Fuchsia appears indestructible by mere frost; and even the stem and branches, if once well ripened (a difficult matter, because of the lateness of its growth), seem capable, with a little assistance, such as that of dry sand or sawdust, of resisting our ordinary winters as well as the Buddlea or Aloysia.