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Lost Fuchsia: Miss Welch

 

This weeks lost fuchsia is ‘Miss Welch’, which was introduced around 1885.

We know very little about this cultivar, to our knowledge there appears to be only one description of this cultivar and no known images.

We suspect that the fuchsia is linked to a member of James Welch‘s family, because James Lye and James Welch were known to each other as they both lived in Market Lavington and sat on the parish council.  It may be possible to link the naming of this fuchsia through census records and James Welch was the Secretary of the Wiltshire Agricultural Association.

Additional Clues on where this cultivar has previously been listed to help our detectives:

  • Mentioned in the John Forbes Catalogue, 1885

We are hoping that our fuchsia detectives will find some information about this historic cultivar, through historical resources, such as the Gardeners’ Chronicle, if any of our detectives are living in Europe they could consult their own countries historical journals, as we know James Lye’s fuchsias have appeared in German publications, as well as searching nursery catalogues.

Any information you can share with us (however small) will help us and other fuchsia detectives in the search.

#lostfuchsias #harperdebbage #nationalplantcollection #plantheritage #wiltshire

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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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New Fuchsias – Journal of Horticulture and Cottage Gardener – 1899

NEW FUCHSIAS

The revival of popularity which Fuchsias now enjoy as bedding plants lends interest to the work of those few raisers who from time to time put into trade new and distinct varieties.  Of these raisers few have during the past thirty years presented for cultivation more or better varieties than has the veteran James Lye, of Market Lavington.

This excellent gardener, after some fifty years’ service at Clyffe Hall, with the late Hon. Mrs. Hay, is now residing at Easterton, a village half a mile east of Market Lavington.  He still, from time to time, raises new varieties and also grows those fine specimen plants which, through him and his disciples in culture, have made the West of England shows so famous for noble Fuchsias.  Such plants, indeed, as are no never seen in the metropolis, or in other directions.

A very fine stock of tall specimens now at Easterton comprises nearly all varieties that are not yet in commerce.  They vary according to habit of variety from 5 feet to 7 feet in the pots, and all so well grown as to be perfectly finished.  They are in pots ranging from 12 inches to 15 inches in diameter, and all will next year, under proper care and attention, make splendid specimens, both taller and broader.

The usual method of culture is to root young tops in March, to grow them in gentle warmth, so that they attain to a height of from 5 to 6 feet the same season, habit being an important factor. The general compost is a good retentive yellow loam of a turfy nature, two-thirds some well-decayed sweet horse droppings being mixed with the loam a month before use.  Some good leaf soil, vegetable ash, and sharp sand completes the mixture. Potting should be firm.

As as rule the plants thrive best when stood out of doors in a partially shaded place, during the summer; in winter they are kept in a light airy structure from which frost is just excluded.  It has been Mr. Lye’s special object to obtain varieties that, whether for exhibit, for greenhouse, or for garden decoration, retain the flowers a long time.  It is so admirable a feature in most of his raising that Fuchsias now travel long distances in full bloom remarkably well, scarcely dropping a flower.  No wonder, then, that this raiser’s varieties are universally grown for show, and are far more popular for all purposes than are the many large-flowered French varieties in commerce.

Probably of all Fuchsias in trade non has a wider popularity than Mr. Lye’s Charming.  Some of the latest stock seedlings, however, especially light ones, see, for floriferousness to eclipse even that old popular old one.  Of these new ones there are two reds only.  Masterpiece, a noble plant, tube and sepals rich deep red, the latter well reflexed, corolla rosy purple, wonderfully free bloomer, long continuing.  The other Brilliant, a tall pyramid, flowers blood red tube and sepals, corolla violet shaded red, also very free.  Then of Whites there are White Queen, a perfect column of foliage and bloom, tube long, mauve-white sepals well reflexed, corolla vermillion shaded rose. Lye’s Fancy, from the same origin as the preceding, is a wonderfully flowered, tube white-veined rose and pencilled sepals, corolla magenta shaded violet.  Elegance, very tall, stout, sturdy, short-jointed growths, profuse bloomer, tube and sepals white, corolla blush red edged scarlet.  Amy Lye, of similar proportions, tube shortish, sepals long reflexed, white shaded pink, corolla reddish salmon, very beautiful.  These comprise the tall growers.  Then of more compact ones Marvellous is truly named, as it seems to be the most wonderful bloomer ever seen.  Its height here is about 5 feet to 6 feet, and the branches are dense.  Tube and sepals reddish carmine, corolla violet purple.  This plant (fig. 69) is from a seed sown in April 1897.  A further beautiful variety is Coral Bedder, also a wonderfully free, carrying from ten to twelve flowers on each shoot.  Tube short and stout, sepals well expanded, and in colour coral red, corolla pale pink, veined light red.  There are some others, but these were best in bloom when I saw them in September.  – A. D.

Taken From: Journal of Horticulture and Cottage Gardener, 1899

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James Lye’s Grave Discovered

We always knew James was buried in Market Lavington churchyard, from the parish burial register (deposited at the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre) but extensive searches of the graveyard had failed to locate his grave. We learnt that recently a book containing positional information for some burials had been given to Market Lavington Museum, which may help in locating James’s grave.

We contacted the museum prior to our visit to Market Lavington on the 23rd April 2016 and when we arrived we learnt that some of the Museum helpers had been out earlier in the day to try and find his grave location.  Which by all accounts wasn’t easy, but with a bit of persistence and some lateral thinking they discovered the location of his grave and to their surprise there was also a gravestone.

When we arrived at the museum, we were met by the curator Mr. Frost. He took us across the graveyard and we stood in front of a grave on which you could not read the inscription due to the Crustose lichen growing on it.  Mr Frost informed us that this was James’s grave.

gravestone.jpg
With the assistance of some water and a toothbrush from the museum, I started to clean the headstone to reveal the wording which had been hidden from us in the past.
cleaninggrave.jpg
The cleaning of two faces of the gravestone revealed the following wording: “In loving memory of James Lye who fell asleep February 3rd 1906, aged 75, “Blessed are they who die in the lord for they rest from their labours” on the right hand side face was “Also of Maria his wife who died January 1909, aged 79, “Them also which sleep in Jesus god bring with him”.
maria_1.jpg
Considering we had searched the churchyard on previous visits without any success, we had come to the conclusion that James and his wife had no gravestone, what a great surprise that with this recent museum acquisition and a bit of detective work we have been able locate James’s grave and gravestone a 110 years after his death.
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Funeral Announcement – The Devizes & Wiltshire Gazette

Lye – Feb. 3rd at Sunnyside, Easterton, James Lye (for many years a faithful servant to the late Hon. Mrs. Hay, Clyffe Hall, Market Lavington), aged 75 years – Funeral at Market Lavington, Friday, 3pm.

 

From: The Devizes & Wiltshire Gazette, February 14, 1906.  p.g.94.

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James Lye’s Obituary

James Lye. – On Saturday last, at a ripe age, a victim to paralysis, there passed away at Market Lavington, Wilts., a gardener in the person of James Lye, who had the warm esteem and regard of a wide circle of friends, and who had made for himself a good name in horticulture.  For very many years he was Gardener at Clyffe Hall, Market Lavington, and there gave his attention largely to the raising and growing of Fuchsias and Potatoes. Whilst the varieties of the latter which he raised have been elbowed out of commerce by newer ones, many of his Fuchsias to-day still rank amongst the very best in cultivation – indeed, none are more beautiful, have better habits, or flower more abundantly.  Mr. Lye was a very capable raiser and first class grower of specimens, and the noble pyramids he grew at Clyffe Hall, 9 to 10 feet in height, and referred to in an article in Gardeners’ Chronicle, February 14, 1885, were never excelled out of the West of England.

He had retired from active life for several years, but still retained his love for Fuchsia-raiding to the last. A.D.

 

From: The Gardeners’ Chronicle, February 14, 1906.  p.g.94.