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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

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



Jane Bailey Garden Design

Witan Investment Trust

Royal Horticultural Society (Witan Investment Trust Global Growth Garden)

Steel Sculptures

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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



Royal Horticultural Society

BBC2 – Hampton Court Palace Flower Show

Rachel De Thame (Twitter)

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Suffolk Plant Heritage Spring Fair – Sunday 29th May 2016

This is a popular plant fair held in the stunning grounds of Helmingham Hall, with the offer of a wide selection of plants and garden products from over 40 exhibitors and attracts well over 1000 visitors.

This was the first plant fair we have attended to promote our National Plant Collection.  The journey from home to the Hall was 41 miles, so we left home soon after 7.00 am to allow enough time to arrive and set up in plenty of time before the gates opened at 10am.  We were given a very warm welcome on our arrival, and easily located our pitch, which was amongst the other National Plant Collections exhibiting:

It was a glorious day with plenty of sun and, judging from the number of visitors wandering around carrying bags full of plants, all the stall holders had been busy.  It was a shame that we didn’t have time to explore the fabulous gardens at Helmingham, which many of our customers talked about.  We hope to visit again in the summer to view them at leisure.  We had a great day, selling plants and sharing our passion for Fuchsias with others and hope we have encouraged further enthusiasm for Fuchsias.

We look forward to returning to the Autumn Plant Fair at Helmingham Hall on Sunday 18th September.

For more information about National Plant Collections visit Plant Heritage.

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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.

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National Plant Collection Status

Plant Heritage – Leading plant conservation charity, Plant Heritage is delighted to welcome a National Collection of Fuchsia cvs. Introduced by the Victorian Plantsman, James Lye.

To view the full Press Release, click n the link below [PDF] (14 February 2013)

Press Release Download (PDF)