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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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Lost Fuchsia: Walter Long

We believe that this fuchsia is named after Walter Hume Long, who was born in Bath in 1854, and married Lady Dorothy (Doreen) Blanche, daughter of Richard Boyle, 9th Earl of Cork, in 1878. Walter died in 1924 at Rood Ashton House in Wiltshire.

During his political career which spanned over 40 years, Walter held office as President of the Board of Agriculture, President of the Local Government Board, Chief Secretary for Ireland, Secretary of State for the Colonies and First Lord of the Admiralty. He is also remembered for his links with Irish Unionism, and served as Leader of the Irish Unionist Party in the House of Commons from 1906 to 1910.

He was appointed Lord-Lieutenant of Wiltshire in February 1920, and was raised to the peerage as Viscount Long of Wraxall in the County of Wiltshire in May 1921.

The Royal Commission on Agriculture, meet at Trowbridge on 18 January 1893.

Some Clues:
The Fuchsia Cultivar ‘Walter Long’ appeared in the following nursery catalogues, John Forbes (1888), B S Williams (1888), W J Bull (1889-93), H. Cannell (1892). We would love to see images of these catalogue entries, with references in the Gardeners Chronicle and Gardeners Oracle.

We hope that our fuchsia #detectives will help us find more information about this #fuchsia cultivar including information relating to its first listing, when it was last seen or listed in a #nursery catalogue. Is it possible there was another Walter Long in Wiltshire who this cultivar could be named after? Any information you can share will help others in the search.

#lostfuchsias #wiltshire #nationalplantcollection #harperdebbage #fuchsias #horticulture #flowershow #cannell #williams #bull #forbes #wraxall #viscount #bath #earl #cork #agriculture

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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.

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.
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”.
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.