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 Life – Covers the Lost Fuchsia Hunt
Lost Fuchsias , Wiltshire / 17/04/2018

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

Calne Flower Shows at Bowood, Wiltshire

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. One show held at…

Lost Fuchsia: Louisa Balfour

Today’s lost fuchsia is ‘Lousia Balfour’, we do not know when she was introduced and at present have a limited description of her. We understand that this fuchsia was named after Louisa Balfour who was born in 1852 in Darjeeling, India. Daughter of George G. and Juliana G. Balfour. From the census we can follow her travels: 1881 she was living at Middle Green, Langley-Marsh, Buckinghamshire. 1891 she visited Louisa Hay at Clyffe Hall, Market Lavington. 1901she visted Margaret Ewart at Broadleaye Park, Roundway. 1911 she resided at Eastbury Manor, Crompton, Guildford. There appears to be little information regarding this cultivar. Some Clues: Mentioned in Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society Reportedly, extensively used by James Lye as a seed parent. 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 Louisa Balfour who this cultivar could be named after, but considering this one stayed at Clyffe Hall unlikely. Any information you can share will help us and other fuchsia detectives helping in the search. #lostfuchsias #wiltshire #nationalplantcollection #harperdebbage #fuchsias…

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…

James Lye’s Grave Discovered
James Lye , Market Lavington / 28/04/2016

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…

James Lye’s Obituary
James Lye , Market Lavington / 14/02/2016

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….