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