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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

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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

Plate 426. NEW FUCHSIAS

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

Plate 396.  FUCHSIA, LYE’S FAVORITE

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

Plate 371.  FUCHSIA, CRIMSON GLOBE

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.

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New Fuchsias – The Floral Magazine – 1878

Plate 291.  NEW FUCHSIAS

A full belief is the decorative value and high-class merit of the new Fuchsias raised by Mr. James Lye, Clyffe Hall Gardens, Market Lavington, induces us to give another illustration of some of the leading varieties he has produced.  Fuchsias have many uses, but the two leading methods in which they are utilized are as exhibition and decorative plants.  By some means or the other Fuchsias have gone back as exhibition subjects, they are not nearly so well grown for show purposes as they used to be; and one reason assigned by cultivators is, that the varieties put into the market are generally ill-adapted for show purposes. The Statement find some amount of confirmation in the fact, that old sorts, such as Maid of Kent, Arabella, Venus de Medici, etc., are still met with at Flower Shows.  A Fuchsia that is valuable as a decorative plant, is almost certain to shine on the exhibition stage, and these new varieties obtained by Mr. Lye will be found to answer both purposes admirably. Gem of the West (fig. 1) has a bright coral red tube and sepals, and a dark plum-coloured corolla; Elegance (fig. 2) has tube and sepals of a bright red, with a light purple blue corolla; and Blushing Bride (fig. 3) is an improvement on Lustre, the tube and sepals delicate flesh, with dark pinkish carmine corolla shaded with violet. They will please all who are induced to cultivate them.

Image and text taken From: The Floral Magazine, 1878. Plate 291.

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New Fuchsias – The Floral Magazine – 1877

Plate 277. NEW FUCHSIAS

The group of new varieties of Fuchsias forming this plate are part of a batch of fine seedlings raised by Mr. James Lye, gardener to the Hon. Mrs. Hay, Cliffe Hall, Market Lavington, Wilts. Mr. Lye is a well known in the West of England as an exhibitor and cultivator of Fuchsias, and the specimen plants he is in the habit of exhibiting at Flower Shows at Bath, Trowbridge, Chippenham, Calne, and at other places are remarkable for their splendid size, superb growth, and wonderful floriferousness. It is worthy of note that while the cultivation of the Fuchsia as an exhibition plant has declined in many parts of the country, it has reached a stage of high development in Wiltshire. In no other part of the country can such specimens be seen.

In the course of cultivating Fuchsias for show purposes, Mr. Lye found that many fine varieties were unfitted by their habit of growth and sparseness of bloom as exhibition plants, and this led him to turn his attention to the raising of seedlings fitted for show and decorative purposes. His latest batch of seedlings answer these ends in such a remarkable degree as to justify their being figured. Mr. Huntley (No. 1) has red tube and sepals, and dark violet-purple corolla; flowers large, bold, and of the finest form. Letty Lye (No. 2) is a charming light variety with delicate, flesh-coloured tube and sepals, and deep carmine corolla tinted with purple. Mrs. Huntley (No. 3) has a white tube and delicate flesh-coloured sepals, large brilliant carmine corolla, very stout and of excellent form. Royal Standard has coral red tube and sepals, and a pale plum purple corolla; the flowers of the best form and substance. Mr. Lye is to be congratulated on having raised such as fine lot of seedlings.

Taken From: The Floral Magazine, 1877. Plate 277.

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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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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