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Calne Flower Shows at Bowood, Wiltshire

Bowood House – © Kristopher Harper 2017

Bowood House sometimes referred to as Bowood Park near Calne in Wiltshire hosted the Calne Flower Show for many years and James Lye , gardener to the Hon. Mrs. Hay of Clyffe Hall, Market Lavington was a regular exhibitor at these shows.

The following Marquess’s of Lansdowne owned/occupied Bowood during the years that James would have exhibited.

• Henry Charles, 4th Marquess of Lansdowne (1816–1866)
• Henry Charles Keith, 5th Marquess of Lansdowne (1845–1927) – Viceroy of India from 1888 to 1894
• Henry William Edmund, 6th Marquess of Lansdowne (1872–1936)

The 6th Marquess was keenly interested in the history of the family and the estate and wrote numerous books and papers on subjects relating to the Bowood archives. To date we haven’t been able to arrange a visit to the archives to see what (if any) information they may hold regarding the shows.

During the years when James was exhibiting at Bowood the big house would have still been standing and been a prominent backdrop to the shows (like Chatsworth House is today at the RHS Chatsworth Show). It was the 8th Marquess who made the difficult decision to demolish the big house in 1955.

Bowood House – © www.lostheritage.org.uk (showing the old house)

One show held at Bowood was reported in the Bristol Mercury and Daily Post on the 27th August 1884.

The ‘Open to All England’ tent was of course the great attraction. The first things on entering the tent that struck the eye was the magnificent fuchsias brought by Mr. Lye, gardener to the Hon. Mrs. Hay of Market Lavington.

• Class – Open to All England – Plants – 6 Fuchsias.
1st Prize: Hon. Mrs. Hay, Market Lavington (Gardener, James Lye).

• Class – Open to All England – Plants – 6 Geraniums, Gold, Silver and Bronze.
1st Prize: Hon. Mrs Hay.

• Class – Open to All England – Plants – 6 Petunias.
1st Prize: Hon. Mrs Hay.

• Class – Open to All England – Plants – Specimen.
1st Prize: Hon. Mrs Hay.

Although James Lye is now known for his Fuchsias. He like any Head Gardener of the time would have overseen the growing and exhibiting of a full range of plants, flowers and produce grown in the gardens of their employer.

The report on this show in 1884 shows the conventional way of listing the prize winners by the employer’s name, during those times you didn’t very often see or know the name of the gardener of the household. We are very fortunate that there are a good number of show reports where this convention has not been maintained and the prize winner has been listed as James Lye or Mr. J. Lye (gardener to Hon. Mrs. Hay).

We will be creating a list of all the shows that James was associated with and list this on our website in due course, as well as searching through various local and national newspapers for reports detailing the classes, prizes and if James was a judge at that show (we know he was judging some shows in 1886).

If anyone has any information about the Calne Flower Shows held at Bowood, such as Show Programmes, Entry or Prize Cards, Show Reports, Photographs or has any Cups or Trophy’s, then please do get in touch.

Fact about Bowood House: it contains the former laboratory where Dr Joseph Priestley, a theologian and tutor to the first marquess’s sons, discovered oxygen in 1774.

#calne #wiltshire #harperdebbage #bowood

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Harper & Debbage wins Silver at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, 2017

Harper and Debbage (owners of the James Lye Fuchsia Collection) is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a Silver award for it’s second exhibit of our Plant Heritage, National Plant Collection of Fuchsia Cultivars introduced by James Lye at the Royal Horticultural Society’s, Hampton Court Palace Flower Show (4th to 9th July) 2017.

Our concept this year was to exhibit some of the Fuchsias from the collection in a simple display and provide a range of interpretation panels highlighting key facts about James Lye, including his family (a number of his cultivars are named after his daughters), His career at Clyffe Hall and some of the awards he received for exhibiting his fuchsias, We have also been able to locate a number of colour plates of his Fuchsia introductions from 1877 to 1880, which are also displayed.

We are highlighting a previously unknown fuchsia introduced by James Lye. Which was found listed in an article about New Fuchsias in the ‘Journal of Horticulture and Cottage Gardener’ published in October 1899. Which describes the cultivar as follows:

 

Fuchsia ‘Lye’s Marvellous’

Tube and Sepals: Reddish Carmine.

Corolla: Violet Purple.

 

 

 

Please see our blog post about this article and an image of Lye’s Marvellous’.

We have put a selection of photos on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/harperdebbage/photos

Links:

Royal Horticultural Society

Plant Heritage

British Fuchsia Society

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The Witan Global Growth Garden

By chance we met with the garden designer Jane Bailey, of Jane Bailey Garden Design, at the Suffolk Plant Heritage Plant Fair in May 2016.   We discussed suitable fuchsias for the garden she was designing for Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, where the majority of plants had to have an edible element to them and could be grown in most parts of the UK.  Fuchsia magellanica ‘Riccartonii’ and F. splendens were already on her planting list.

Kristopher Harper with Jane Bailey

Discussions followed after the Plant Fair and we agreed to supply some additional Fuchsias for the show garden being, Fuchsia procumbens, Fuchsia magellanica ‘Thompsonii’ and Fuchsia ‘Charming‘ the latter being an introduction by James Lye.

The Witan Global Growth Garden was designed in a spiral to evoke the sense of tranquillity to take you on a stunning journey of colour, scent and texture.  The majority of plants have an edible element to them, and can be grown in most parts of the UK.  There was a stunning ‘Leaf Sphere’ sculpture in the middle of the garden.

Kristopher Harper – Sitting in the Show Garden

It was lovely working with Jane over the coming weeks and delivering the plants to her and the rest of the build team at the Showground.  We visited the garden throughout the week to see the plants flourish in their temporary home.

We have put a selection of photos of the show garden on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/harperdebbage/photos

The Witan Global Growth Garden received a Silver-Gilt medal.

 

Links:

Jane Bailey Garden Design

Witan Investment Trust

Royal Horticultural Society (Witan Investment Trust Global Growth Garden)

Steel Sculptures

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Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2016 – Bronze Award

For the first time we exhibited a floral display of our Plant Heritage, National Plant collection of Fuchsia cultivars introduced by James Lye at the Royal Horticultural Society,  Hampton Court Palace Flower Show in July (5th – 10th) 2016.

Our concept for our first ever RHS Show exhibit was to display some of the National Plant Collection of Fuchsia cultivars introduced by James Lye, on a traditional tiered staging in Victorian clay pots.  We were keen to display the plants in a natural (untrained) habit, in different stages of flower so that visitors could see how the fuchsias would grow if untrained and that there is a succession of flowering once the plants starts to flowers.

The display also provided information about the fact that the flowers and berries of fuchsias are edible, for this we also used F. procumbens which is an unusual mat-forming fuchsia specie, which has small, heart-shaped leaves and solitary, erect, pale orange flowers, with reflexed sepals which are deep purple with a green base, and the usual stamens with blue pollen.

Our main interpretation panel (which is on the side of our display) highlighted three key areas, James Lye, Edible Fuchsias and Fuchsia History.

We also launched 2 new fuchsias at the Show.

F. ‘David Clifford’ which is named after our owners grandfather, and

F. ‘Gunton Park’ which is named after the ancestral home of Lord Suffield (the Harbord Family), from 1676 to 1979.

We have put a selection of photos are on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/harperdebbage/photos

Our first exhibit received a Bronze Medal.

 

Links:

Royal Horticultural Society

Plant Heritage

British Fuchsia Society

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Filming for BBC2 – Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2016

In the build-up to RHS Hampton we were contacted by BBC Researchers, who wanted to film our exhibit at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show as we were first time exhibitors.  On the Wednesday before Press Day we were contacted to be informed that we were going to be filmed on Press Day and that the interview would be with Rachel de Thame, who co-presents the BBC’s annual coverage of Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, as part of the Royal Horticultural Society output on BBC Two.

When we arrived at the Showground on Monday morning, keen not to interrupt the Judges, I met the Film crew and Rachel who talked me through that was going to happen and what aspects of the exhibit they wanted to film.  The main theme was to highlight first time exhibitors at the Show, Rachel was keen to talk about the historical context of our National Plant Collection and the fact that parts of fuchsias are edible.

We spent about 50 minutes filming and the crew took various shots of plants and information that they would also use.

The piece, which lasts about 1 minute appeared on episode 2 which was aired on Thursday 7 Jul 2016 at 21:00.

We would like to thank Rachel De Thame and the BBC Film crew.  It was an enjoyable experience and we hope we get an opportunity to do it again in the future.

We have put a selection of photos are on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/harperdebbage/photos

 

Links:

Royal Horticultural Society

BBC2 – Hampton Court Palace Flower Show

Rachel De Thame (Twitter)

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Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2016

Hampton Court Palace Flower Show – We are pleased to announce that the Collection will be exhibiting for the first time in the Floral Marquee at the Royal Horticultural Society’s, Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 5 – 10 July 2016, as part of the Plant Heritage displays highlighting the diverse range of National Plant Collections.

[The full press release is available here] (19 December 2015)

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Student from Easton and Otley College completes the Diploma in Horticulture (Level 2) following his work placement with the Collection

Jordan Allison from Easton and Otley College has been working with the Collection since September 2014 as part of his Diploma in Horticulture (Level 2).

The final event of Jordan’s time with the Collection was our display at the Royal Norfolk Show. Since September, Jordan has been working towards the Show. He starting with planning the display, this was followed by propagating and growing the display plants, as well as plants to sell over the 2 day show. Jordan prepared and gathered the equipment needed to stage the display and attended both days helping answer questions and assisting with plant sales.

The display received a ‘Floral Bronze Medal’. Jordan has successfully completed his course and I wish him the best of luck for the future.

[The full press release is available here] (7 July 2015)

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Royal Norfolk Show – 2015

Royal Norfolk Show success – The Collection staged its first ever judged horticultural display at the Royal Norfolk Show, which was held on the 1st & 2nd of July.

The display was built on the 30th of June, with the help of Jordan Allison, a student from Easton and Otley College, ahead of judging which took place on the morning of the 1st of July. The display received a ‘Floral Bronze Medal‘.

[The full press release is available here] (7 July 2015)