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Lost Fuchsia: James Welch

Today’s lost fuchsia is ‘James Welch’, James was born in 1856 and married Annie Earle in London in 1887. The Fuchsia Annie Earle has survived and is held within our Plant Heritage, National Plant Collection. We would love to find James so that we can reunite the couple.

James was the Secretary of the Wiltshire Agricultural Association (Society) for many years and a founder member of the Market Lavington Parish Council and its chairman from 1915-1919).

The Fuchsia Cultivar ‘James Welch’ appeared several times in the Gardeners Chronicle first in 1885 as a new fuchsia for 1886, and had listings in following nursery catalogue’s, John Forbes, Dobbies, W J Bull, B S Williams. We would love to see these listings..

We hope that our fuchsia #detectives will help us find more information about this #fuchsia cultivar including information relating to its first listing or when it was last seen or listed in a #nursery catalogue. Any information you can share will help others in the search.

#lostfuchsias #wiltshire #nationalplantcollection #harperdebbage #fuchsias #horticulture #trowbridge #bath #cultivar #agricultural #marketlavington #gardeners, #dobbies, #forbes #welch #london

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Lost Fuchsia: Hon. Mrs Hay

‘Hon. Mrs Hay’ is named after James Lye’s employer, Hon. Mrs. Louisa Hay (nee. Pleydell Bouverie).

Louisa was the daughter of Captain (afterwards Admiral) the Hon. Duncombe Pleydell-Bouverie, (son of the 2nd Earl of Radnor of Longford Castle) and Louisa May.

Louisa married Captain Hon. Samuel Hay (son of the 17th Earl of Erroll of Slains Castle) in 1832. Louisa spent nearly all her life at Clyffe Hall.

We know this fuchsia cultivar was exhibited at horticultural shows at Trowbridge and Bath and received prizes.

We hope that our fuchsia #detectives will help us find more information about this #fuchsia cultivar including information relating to its first listing or when it was last seen or listed in a #nursery catalogue. Any information you can share will help others in the search.

#lostfuchsias #wiltshire #nationalplantcollection #harperdebbage #fuchsias #horticulture #earl #Radnor #Erroll #longsford #castle #slains #clan #hay #pleydell #bouverie #trowbridge #bath #cultivar

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Lost Fuchsia: Mrs Hooper Taylor

Mrs Hooper Taylor (Betty) had links to the Bath Floral Fete and Band Committee and the Clifton and Trowbridge Horticultural Societies. She resided in Bath with her Husband Mr Hooper Taylor (Robert), who we will be highlighting in due course.

We hope that you will help us find more information about this #fuchsia cultivar and any information relating to its introduction or when it was last seen or listed in a #nursery catalogue.

#lostfuchsias #wiltshire #nationalplantcollection #harperdebbage #fuchsias #bath #trowbridge #horticulture #clifton #society

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Lost Fuchsia: Duke of Albany

The Duchess of Albany is looking for her lost Duke.

We are not sure when the ‘Duke of Albany’ disappeared from cultivation, and are hoping that our #detectives are able to help us reunite the couple.

The Dukedom was create in 1881 for the fourth son of Queen Victoria, and we suspect that the cultivars ‘Duke of Albany’ & ‘Duchess of Albany’ were introduced earlier that currently know date of 1885 to commemorate their marriage (Princess Helena of Waldeck and Pyrmont and Prince Leopold) in 1882.

We hope that you will help us find more information about this #fuchsia cultivar and any information relating to it’s introduction or when it was last seen or listed in a #nursery catalogue.

#lostfuchsias #wiltshire #albany #duke #duchess #nationalplantcollection #claremont #royalfamily #harperdebbage #fuchsias #prince #royal #queenvictoria #victoria #queen

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Lost Fuchsia Hunt – Become a Fuchsia Detective


Become a Fuchsia Detective…..


During 2018 we are hunting for the lost fuchsias that were introduced by one of England’s most important Victorian Fuchsia growers, exhibitor and hybridiser Mr James Lye, from Market Lavington, Wiltshire. James introduced many fuchsia cultivars but only a small number of these have survived over the years, with all the known surviving cultivars held within our National Plant Collection®.

On the 5th February we will be launching our Lost Fuchsias Hunt which will highlight one lost cultivar each week.

We are hoping that our fuchsia detectives (you/your members) will start searching for information relating to each cultivar, this could be by searching published material (Books, Pamphlets, etc.), Historical Journals such as the Gardener’s Chronicle, The Gardening World Illustrated and The Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society, etc., Local Newspapers in Wiltshire for example the Devizes & Wiltshire Gazette or surrounding areas. Nursery Catalogues such as H. Cannell & Sons, etc. We also hope that detectives will spend the summer exploring gardens to see if they can locate any fuchsias growing in gardens (e.g. those open to the public).

We will provide detectives with the following clues each week.

  • On a Monday a postcard will be posted providing a description of the lost cultivar, the year it is reputed to have been introduced and any image if we have previously located one.
  • On a Wednesday a notecard will be posted containing any additional information such as the person or place the cultivar is named after any any other relevant information. This may help our detectives in their search.
  • We may provide additional clues during the week or year about particular cultivars as information becomes available.

We will be posting our Monday and Wednesday information on our Social Media platforms (Facebook, Twitter) using the hashtag #lostfuchsias. A summary of detectives finds and developments will be reported on our blogs (Harper and Debbage and James Lye Fuchsia Collection).

Though the best way to keep yourself up to date with all the fuchsia hunting is to follow us on Facebook or like us on Twitter.

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Lye’s Fuchsias

The group of Fuchsias an engraving of which appears at fig. 39 (used as this posts image), represents a collection of nine specimens raised and exhibited by that well-known cultivator, Mr. James Lye, of Clyffe Hall Gardens, Market Lavington, at an exhibition held in Bath in September last, and which recieved the 1st prize in the premier class for that number of plants.  For many years past Mr. Lye has exhibited Fuchsias at exhibitions held at Bath, Trowbridge, Devizes, Calne, Chippenham, and elsewhere; on all occassions staging specimens of a high order of merit; but the plants appearing in our illustration were universally regarded as the best he had ever placed in an exhibition tent.  So much were the committee of the Bath show pleased with the specimens that they engaged the services of a photographer to make a picutre of them on the spot; but after being two hours making the attempt, no satisfactory result occurred.  After the plants were taken back to Clyffe Hall, they were photographed as seen in the illustration. So idea of their height and dimensions can be reaslised by a comparison with the stature of Mr. Lye, who is standing by his plants and who is of average height.  It should be mentioned, that previous to being photographed they had travelled by road from Market Lavington to Bath and back, a distance of 52 miles, in addition to having been exhibited two days.  They returned to their home apparently little worse for wear, which immunity from harm is no doubt owing to the admirable system of tying adopted by Mr. Lye.  It is sometimes said that the act of tying-in the flowering shoots in this manner gives the plants a somewhat severely formal appearance, but there is an abundance of healthy foliage and a wonderful profusion of finely developed flowers, showing the most careful and painstaking cultivation.  It is only those who are privileged to see these unrivalled plants who can appricate them at their proper worth.

It has been stated already that the varieties figured are all of Mr. Lye’s own raising, which fact attests to the value of his seedlings, many of which he has produced.  Four of these are dark varieties, viz., Bountiful, Charming, Elegance, and the Hon. Mrs. Hay – the latter one of the oldest, but one of the freest and scarcely without an equal for its great freedom of bloom.  The remaining five are light varieties, viz., Lye’s Favourite, Harriet Lye, Star of Wilts, Pink Perfection, and Beauty of the West.

The specimens figured average from two to five years of age.  It is really marvellous what Mr. Lye can do with a Fuchsia in two years, and lest it might be supposed that he has plenty of glass accomodation and keep his plants under glass continuously, it is due to him it should be stated that he is very deficient in house accomodation, having but two small houses, in one of which (a cold house) he winters his plants and brings them on until he can place them with safety in the open air in early summer.  His method of treating the specimens as set forth in his own words may prove helpful to some of our readers: – “After the plants have done flowering, say about the third week in October, I cut them back into the shape best fitting to form symmetrical specimens, and keep them dry for about a week to ten days, to check the bleeding of sap which follows; after that I give a little water just to start them into growth so as to make shoots about three-quarters of an inch in length, in order to keep the old wood active and living.  I keep them in a cold house, and give them but very little water until the first or second week in February, when I shake of old soil from the roots, and report them into fresh compost made up of three parts good loam, one part well decomposed manure, and one part leaf-mould and peat, with a good bit of silver or sea-sand to keep it open.  In order to make large specimens they are shifted as soon as the pots are filled with roots.  About the first week in June I place them out-of-doors on a border somewhat sheldered, and syringe the plants freely every day during the hot weather to keep the foliage clean and healthy.  I top them back until about seven or eight weeks before I want to show them, according to the requirements of the variety, as some of them require it to be done more freely than others.  I give them a liquid manure, using what I get from cows, which with some soot is put into a tub, allowed to stand a week or ten days before using, and I give them a good dose once a week as they show signs of flowering.”  In order to preserve his plants from the effect of hail and very heavy rains, a rough framework is erected, and over this is stretched some floral shading, which can be readily removed when required; it also serves the purpose of shadng the plants from the sun in very hot and scorching weather.

During his career as an exhibitor of Fuchsias Mr. Lye has taken nearly one hundred 1st prizes – a measure of success which fully justifies the bestowal of the title of being the Champion Fuchsia Grower of his day. R.D.

From: The Gardeners’ Chronicle, February 14, 1885.  p.g. 209-210.

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New Fuchsias – The Floral Magazine – 1880


If the signs of improvement in the Fuchsia are less marked than they were twenty years ago, it is because the average standard of excellence is high, and advances are less striking than they were before the quality of the flower was so much improved.  But as there is no limit to the progress florists can make, and as there is an infinite variety of form and colour, it is well that florists are still found at work seeking to realize more advanced standards.

The new varieties now figured were rasised by Mr. James Lye, of Market Lavington, Wilts, and have recieved high awards at the leading exhibitions in the West of England.  Mrs. Hooper Taylor (fig.1) is a charming light variety, with stout well-formed tube and sepals, and a pleasing pink corolla.  Mr. Hooper Taylor (fig. 2) is a dark variety of the finest quality, with rich coral-red tube and sepals, and magenta-purple corolla. Fairy Queen (fig. 3) is a very novel and distinct variety, with white tube and sepals, and magenta-pink corolla.  The habit growth in each case is all that could be desired, and we are confident these new varieties will be in demand for exhibition and decorative purposes.

Taken From: The Floral Magazine, 1880. Plate 426.

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Fuchsia, Lye’s Favorite – The Floral Magazine – 1880


If perfection may be said to have been attained in the case of the Fuchsia, it is applicable to the variety now figured.  Raised by Mr. J. Lye, of Clyffe Hall Gardens, Market Lavington – the foremost exhibitor of Fuchsias in the West of England, and a most successful raiser – it has been warmly welcomed by the cultivators of Fuchias in that part of the country, and awarded a First-class Certificate of Merit.  Flowers of this fine variety were sent during last summer to the leading garden papers, and their quality described in glowing terms.

The habit of growth is all that could be desired in a decorative Fuchsia; in its robust. without inclining to coarseness; it is of a free and symmetrical character, and the finely-formed blossoms are produced with remarkable freedom.  The flowers are of fine shape, long, and borne in elegant clusters; tube and sepals waxy-white; the corolla rich deep rose, with a slight Picotee margin of lively pink.  It is a variety that, by reason of its great merits, must supersede many of the light varieties now cultivated.  The stock of it is in the hands of Mr. Lye, by whom it will, in all probability, be distributed in March or April.

Taken From: The Floral Magazine, 1880. Plate 396.

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Fuchsia, Crimson Globe – The Floral Magazine – 1879


This is a very fine exhibition and decorative variety, raised by Mr. James Lye, Clyffe Hall, Market Lavington, Wilts, and distributed by him last spring.  Our illustration is from a spray plucked fram a plant of good size, which displayed to the greatest advantage the handsome leafage and symmetrical growth of the variety, its great freedom of bloom, the elegant outline of the plant, and the fine individual character of the flowers. The tube and sepals are of a deep red, very broad, stout, and finely formed; the corolla, which is of the finest form and very massive, as well as handsomely rounded, is of a plum-purple colour.

Mr. Lye has been turning his attention to raising new varieties of the Fuchsia that should possess all the qualities desirable in exhibition and decorative plants.  As exhibition varieties his new forms are particularly worthy of notice, and we can heartily commend them to the attention of our readers.

Image taken from: The Floral Magazine, 1879. Plate 371.