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Lost Fuchsia: Jane Lye

This week’s lost fuchsia is ‘Jane Lye’, which was introduced in 1870 and we are hoping that our fuchsia detectives will help us to find more information about this historic cultivar.

Current Status: Believed lost to cultivation
Year of Introduction: 1870
Flower Type: Single
Tube Colour: Pink
Sepals Colour: Pink
Corolla Colour: Mauve Pink
Foliage Colour: Green

We suspect that the fuchsia is named after James Lye‘s sister, although it could be named after a different member of the family. It may be possible to link the naming/introduction of this fuchsia through parish or census records.

Additional Clues on where this cultivar has previously been listed to help our detectives:
In The Checklist of Species, Hybrids and Cultivars of the Genus Fuchsia, by Leo B. Boullemier (1991), he highlights similarities between the Fuchsia Cultivars ‘Jane Lye’ and ‘Lady Kathleen Spence’.

‘At first glance, when flowers of these two cultivars are side by side, they appear to be very similar, in fact the colour of both corollas is exactly the same. Closer examination does, however, reveal that Lady Kathleen Spence is a much smaller flower with a much shorter tube ¼ in as compared with Jane Lye’s tube measuring 5/8 in. The pistil of Lady Kathleen Spence is very long almost 2 in in length whereas Jane Lye’s is very long almost 1 ¼ in, the stamens in Lady Kathleen Spence are much shorter and of different lengths, whereas Jane Lye has much longer stamens of even length. Both cultivars are genuine singles with the same folded petals of the same colour, but Jane Lye is fuller and larger with a bigger opening of the stamens. The sepals indicate the biggest difference, Jane Lye’s colour is much darker pink, although on the pale side, held almost at the horizontal with a slight twist with a much darker colour pink shading, almost to carmine at the tips and darker still underneath the narrower and not so perfect sepals as ‘Lady Kathleen Spence’. Apart from the very delicate lavender shade of ‘Lady Kathleen Spence’ its main characteristic is the thin, long, sweeping low from the sepals, standing well out, with nicely curled tips, tipped green. The flowers of Lady Kathleen Spence do not fade or lose their form, whereas the flowers of Jane Lye do fade and change colour as the flower matures, especially late in the season. The biggest difference between the two cultivars is the habit of growth, Jane Lye can be best described as a lax bush with Lady Kathleen Spence is an upright, self-branching plant which will, however, with careful training make a wonderful specimen basket as was seen at the 1976 British Fuchsia Society Northern Show as a half basket and a full basket at the British Fuchsia Society London/Reading Show 1977.’

Until 2011/12 we had this cultivar within our Plant Heritage National Plant Collection.  We have since lost this cultivar and have not been able to locate a replacement from either from our original sources or any other specialist fuchsia nursery as the nurseries which we sourced it from either no longer stock it or have the cultivar in there collection. If you are still growing this cultivar or know where we may source it please contact us.

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.

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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


Royal Horticultural Society

Plant Heritage

British Fuchsia Society

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Plant Heritage announces Brother Bursary winners for 2017

Kristopher Harper (owner of the Collection) is delighted to announce that the National Plant Collection of Fuchsia cvs. (introduced by James Lye) has been awarded a Plant Heritage, Brother Bursary this year.

The Bursary given by Brother UK, provides financial awards and plant labelling machines towards projects to help develop National Plant Collections, and is judged by a panel of horticultural experts.

Brother UK Logo

Collection Holder Collection Award
Kristopher Harper Fuchsia cvs.(introduced by James Lye) Professional photography of the Collection – creating a   photographic record of our National Collection, to aid in the promotion and   publicity of the plants by using high quality images


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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

Our first exhibit received a Bronze Medal.



Royal Horticultural Society

Plant Heritage

British Fuchsia Society

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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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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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Valentine’s Day Help Needed – Annie is looking for her lost husband

Valentine’s Day Help Needed – Annie is looking for her lost husband – The James Lye Fuchsia Collection has been searching for the lost cultivar, ‘James Welch’ for a number of years without success.
To view the full Press Release, click the link below [PDF] (14 February 2014]

Press Release Download (PDF)

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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)