Tuesday, 19 August 2008


Me to my mum on the phone: "I'm just at Wisley, I'm meeting another blogger called Zoë, we're going to look at the fuchsias, there's a big fuchsia show here."

My mum: "Ha ha, sounds like all your childhood dreams have finally come true. Have you been waiting for this entire thirty years?"

I think she is referring to the slightly autistic fuchsia-collecting phase I went through when I was eight.

Ooh there was some good stuff going on in that marquee. There was some excellent plant sale action going on (there were people already leaving with plants while I was still milling around waiting to go in, and a queue for cars to get in the gate at Wisley stretching up the A3. Nightmarish). 

Like, check out Barnsdale's stand (Geoff H's son). Yum yum.

I particularly went slightly loony for Eucomis "Sparkling Burgundy" - I'd never seen the flower before, it is geeeyyoorgeous. 

The Solva sweetie shop was in evidence, for interested addicts:

With one particular purchase I think we should all be making:

Down the fuchsia end of the marquee, we were amazed by the splendour of the crazy floral fuchsia art, including this ginormous tree:

Others were similarly excited by the unique combination of homemade stuff and incredibly impressive plants:

I slightly got swept up into the moment, and found myself not only signing up for annual membership of the British Fuchsia Society, but also buying a society car sticker. Still, at least now I'll be able to tell which of the 235 navy blue Golfs in my street is actually mine.

And then Zoë and I found the lady getting people to try her fuchsia jam! It was really tasty.

Fuchsia lady's recipe (determinedly Imperial):

1 1/2 lb ripe fuchsia berries (collect them in the freezer till you've got enough - a large Clover container is the right amount)
3 tbsp water or apple jiuce
3/4 lb sugar
juice of half a lemon

Boil slowly together till the juice is extracted, strain. Add sugar to the lemon and add to 1 pint of fuchsia liquid. Place over a low heat until the sugar dissolves then boil rapidly until it sets once tested. 

Pour into hot jars and cover at once. 

So finally, friends, please never forget:


Arabella Sock said...

Oh you've made me panic now. Perhaps I should go tomorrow. Will there still be any plants left to buy?

emmat said...

It was mental to get in there, but the nurseries seems to have brought loads of stuff with them, and it wasn't mental inside.

Also can I just note that whilst both Zoe and I queued to get in at ten, when I left at 1pm there was no queue at all. Sometimes Wisley really does suffer from the Grey Curse, a tide of people who've been up since 5.30 and who need to get where they're going by 10am so they can get on with having their lunch.

Finally - did you know you can get cashback in the Wisley shop? My best secret tip.

VP said...

Oh oh oh - I want to go!

Fuchsias - I love em! As you've published the recipe, I assume the jam was nice? Bob Flowerdew doesn't rate Fuchsias as a fruit per se...

And that Heuchera - yum!

I had the same queueing problem at RHS Cardiff. Tip - go half an hour after opening.

emmat said...

Yep, that would seem to be the consensus. The jam was delicious - I assumed that the fruits wouldn't have much flavour, so that the jam would just be sugary, but in fact it had quite a nice depth to it - a few layers of taste, like a good wine...

(This is from a two-gram serving on a cracker though)

I bought River Cottage Preserves in the shop as a result, which has a recipe for pickling nasturtium seeds like capers! Zoë says I have to send it to you, she's tried making them before...

VP said...

Jekka has a pickling Nasturtium seeds recipe too in her Herb book. We could compare recipes - until I give the book away at least.

VP said...

Do I detect a slight change in fashion from dark to gingery over at the sweetie shop?

emmat said...

Hmmmm. perhaps you are right? I wonder if A sock has got round to going yet - she would have the expert background to say, really.