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Unusual Raffle Prize – Stergene!!

At the end of March I was invited to the Wessex Fuchsia Group to talk about James Lye and his Fuchsias. This is the most local specialist fuchsia group to where James lived and worked.

On the raffle table I spotted a small bottle of Stergene… This appeared to be an unusual item compared with the usual array of plants and other gifts that members had brought in. I asked some of the members what Stergene has to do with fuchsias, I was informed it helped with controlling Whitefly. The solution ratio mentioned was one teaspoon to a litre of water as a spray. It isn’t systemic, but it does kill them on contact. One member said that they sprayed once a week, from below, on the fuchsia plants they keep in their greenhouse, making sure they sprayed on the underside of the leaves, where usually you will find the heaviest infestations.

As we all know Fuchsias are susceptible to several pests including Whitefly, Greenfly, Red Spider Mite, Capsid Bugs, and Vine Weevil. There are several insecticides on the market which will help you keep these under control safely if you follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

For those growers who are against the use of chemical sprays, methods used by some of the Victorian gardeners are still as useful today as they were in the 19th century. Sprays made using soft soap or milder detergents, for example Stergene, appear to have very beneficial effects.

Regular use should always be made of any type of spray as they kill the adults only. Repeat spraying, perhaps once every 5 to 7 days, will kill any adults emerging from eggs laid in earlier days.

Other ways of controlling pests:

Natural Predators: Encarsia Formosa can be used to great effect in greenhouses to control whitefly when the temperature and conditions are correct. Though over time the predator will itself die out when all its food supplies have been removed or the use of Nemasys® Vine Weevil Killer which contains the natural nematode, Steinernema Kraussei, which is effective at controlling vine weevil grubs.

Insecticides: Both contact and systemic, should be used carefully. To prevent a build-up in the resistance of the pests to these chemicals it is important to use a few different insecticides in rotation. When your fuchsias are in flower, overhead spraying is likely to cause marking to the flowers, so it will be necessary to use systemic insecticides watered into the compost.

If you have used Stergene, we would love to hear from you. Tell us how long you have been using it and what your thoughts are on how good it is as a preventative.

#harperdebbage #stergene #fuchsia #fuchsias #victorian #insecticides

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Wiltshire Life – Covers the Lost Fuchsia Hunt

The Wiltshire Life magazine has covered our hunt for James Lye’s lost fuchsias in their Home and Gardens Supplement, which is issued with the May edition of Wiltshire Life.


The full-page article provides details of the lost fuchsia hunt and encourages readers to put Wiltshire back on the horticultural map, by engaging in the hunt for the lost fuchsias of James Lye who is one of the most important Victorian fuchsia growers and exibitors, who came from Market Lavington in Wiltshire.

Notes about Wiltshire Life:

Wiltshire Life was established in 1946 and is Wiltshire’s leading county magazine. It looks both forwards and backwards, bringing its readers some of the best stories about county traditions while also keeping them up to date on more recent innovations. They cover the entire county, from Swindon in the north to Salisbury in the south, and from Marlborough in the east to Trowbridge in the west.  Wiltshire Life’s winning formula of stunning photography, well written features and strong design has made it the magazine to read. It is packed with interesting and topical features on county personalities, village life, walking, local history, food and drink, gardening, the arts and much more.

#lostfuchsias #Wiltshire #jameslye #harperdebbage