Some Trivia

What we've tried to do here is provide some interesting trivia and a bit of information from history about some of the cultivars we grow, by gleaning excerpts from various sources. I've identified where possible the source of the information.

from The Gardeners Dictionary Vol I Fourth Edition London 1754

FUCHSIA. This Plant was so named by Father Plumier, who discovered it in America, in Honour to the Memory of Leonard Fuchßus, a learned Botanist.

The Characters are ;

It hath a funnel-shaped Flower, consisting of one Leaf, and divided into several Parts at the Brim; whose Cup afterward becomes a roundish soft fleshy Fruit, which is divided into four Cells, which are full of roundish Seeds.

We have but one Sort of this Plant; -viz.

Fuchsia triphylla, flore coccínea. Plum. Nov. Gen. Three -leav'd Fuchsia, with a scarlet flower.

This Plant is a Native in the warmest Parts of America : it was discovered by Father Plumier, in some of the French Islands in America ; and was since found by the late Dr. William Houstoun, at Carthagena in New-Spain ; from whence he sent the Seeds into England.

This is propagated by Seeds, which must be sown in Pots filled with rich light Earth, and plunged into an Hot-bed of Tanners Bark. In about a Month after the Seeds are sown, the Plants will begin to appear ; when they should be carefully cleared from Weeds, and frequently refreshed with Water to promote their Growth ; and when they are about two Inches high they should be shaken out of the Pots, and separated carefully ; then plant each into a small Pot filled with light rich Earth, and plunge them again into an Hot-bed of Tanners Bark; being careful to screen them from the Sun, until they have taken new Root ; after which time they must have fresh Air admitted to them every Day in proportion to the Warmth of the Season, and should be frequently watered ; and when the Plants are grown so tall as to reach the Glasses, they should be removed into the Bark-stove, and plunged into the Tan-bed. In Winter time these Plants require to be kept very warm ; and at that Season they must not have so much Water as in Summer ; but it must be often repeated.

These Plants are too tender to thrive in the open Air in this Country, even in the hottest Part of the Year; therefore they should constantly remain in the Stove, observing to let in a large Share of fresh Air in Summer ; but in Winter they must be kept warm : with this Management the Plants will produce their Flowers, and make a beautiful Appearance in the Stove, amongst other tender Exotic Plants.

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from Edwards's Botanical Register Vol XVIII London 1832

FUCHSIA* globosa.
Balloon-flowered Fuchsia.
Nat. ord. ONAGRARIAE; Juss. (Introduction to the natural system of Botany, p. 56.)
FUCHSIA. -Supra, vol. lO.fol. 1284.
F. globosa ; foliis oppositis petiolatis ovatis acutis leviter dentatis glabris, floribus axillaribus pendulis, limbo alabastri globoso floris aperti connivente, petalis erectis convolutis duplo brevioribus.
Frutex habitu F. gracilis, sed robustior, magisque atrovirens. Flores a pedunculis capillaribus penduli, purpureo-sanguinei, ovario ovali, tubo ventricoso.

The origin of this most distinct species is unknown to us. The first specimen we saw was exhibited last March before the Horticultural Society by Mr. Dennis, of Chelsea; it was about 2 feet high, had been skilfully trained in a fan shape upon a small trellis, and produced a very beautiful effect.
The flowers, although in general appearance like those of other Fuchsias of the same section, are remarkable for their very globose figure when in bud, and for the balloon appearance they present when expanded, in consequence of their points continuing to adhere : their colour is more violet than any of the large red-flowered Fuchsias yet in our gardens. We publish it with the name it bears near London, given we know not by whom.
It has always been a matter of surprise with us, that, popular as is the name of Fuchsia, and beautiful as many of its species are well known to be, by far the finest should still remain to be procured. The long-flowered kinds, found in Mexico and Peru, are as much more beautiful than those now cultivated in this country, as F. gracilis is than F. microphylla. One of them at least, called Mollo Ccanta, or Plant of Beauty, might be easily enough procured from Huamantanga, in Peru, where it is common. J. L.

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from THE GARDENER'S MAGAZINE, (Forming Vol. I. of the Second Decade.)  LONDON: 1835

XLVII. Onagrariae.
1188. FU'CHSIA. C1830? C pl Bot. reg. 1805 discolor Linidl. two-coloured au R P Port Famine, in the Falkland Islands "It is difficult to distinguish it botanically from gracilis and tenella ; yet it is decidedly different" - Lindley."

Remarkable for its compact bushy manner of growth, its deep purple branches, its small very undulated leaves, and also for its being apparently more hardy than any other fuchsia yet in the gardens. For the latter reason we attach especial importance to it ; for, by a judicious intermixture of its pollen with such beautiful plants as F. conica, globosa, and its other more tender relatives, the whole race may probably be rendered capable of bearing the climate of Great Britain, and may thus become far more generally valuable than they yet are." (Bot. Beg., Oct)
Fuchsia, Opinions and Facts on the Nature of the Relations of certain Kinds of, one to another, and Facts in relation to the Extent to which they will hybridise one with another. - In the October number of the Botanical Register, Dr. Lindley has figured Mr. Low's fuchsia from Port Famine, and remarked that, " if we are asked to state in what respect this differs botanically from F. gracilis and tenella, we should find it very difficult to answer the question. The botanical difference, if any, of all the Chilian fuchsias is very trifling:" and Dr. Lindley remarks that there are some " who consider the greater part of the Chilian fuchsias mere varieties of F. macrostema." Whoever considers this, considers the reverse of what is the fact. Their origin is still more singular in a botanical point of view. F. macrostema, in all likelihood, is as much a variety as any of them. F. conica, gracilis, tenella, virgata, and many more varieties, or perhaps species, may be originated by fertilising the stigmas of coccinea with the pollen of arborescens; this I have proved three times over: and I have every reason to believe, though I have never proved it, that F. macrostema may be produced from the conica fertilised by the pollen of arborescens. All the Chilian fuchsias will intermix freely with the arborescens, and, what is very singular, F. arborescens will not intermix with their pollen; at least, I have failed in several attempts to effect this. F. excorticata, impregnated with the pollen of either conica or globosa, will produce fac-similes of F. discolor, or the Port Famine fuchsia; and the seedlings so produced will not flower till the second or third year, which is the case with discolor. F. longiflora is now called the "long-legged impostor;" an unmerited stain brought on the character of this innocent family, through the imposition hoaxed on the public through the misnomer longiflora. If: the less roguish name of longepedunculata had been adopted, in the first instance, for this variety, persons might have competed for the longissime pedunculatum, and saved their half-sovereigns into the bargain. F. globosa is certainly a variety from conica, otherwise there is no use in the definition of the term. It will not reproduce itself from seeds, yet its pollen has the same effect in producing mixtures from other sorts, as that of conica.

Now, the query is, are these fuchsias species, or varieties ? The exact limits of species and varieties are so imperfectly understood, and so difficult to be defined, that many botanists throw such as are produced by artificial means into varieties. Should any of them be capable of reproducing themselves, they are 'said to revert to either of their parents at the third or fourth generation, or become sterile altogether. This is plausible enough, and may be found convenient in the closet, but it will not do at the potting-bench.

That plants can be originated artificially which will be found capable of reproducing themselves from seeds, ad infinitum, with as little variation as is to be found in any natural species, is as obvious to gardeners as the sun at noon-day. To distinguish such home-made species from mere varieties, we ought to have some peculiar term.

In conducting experiments in hybridising, it may be of importance for some persons to know that the Pollen of most (perhaps all) plants is capable of maintaining its fertilising properties for an Indefinite Space of Time; and, if well preserved, will be as fit for use when five years old, as when only five minutes old : the only conditions necessary for the preservation of it are, an absolute exemption from moisture, and to be kept in an atmosphere above the freezing point. Mr. Johnson (V. 12.) is in error in supposing the petals to be essential in the delicate process of nourishing the embryo seeds. The service of the petals is entirely at an end the moment the stigma is ready for the pollen. - D. Beaton. Haffield, near Ledbury, Herefordshire, October 6. 1835. [Mr. D. Don has described Fuchsz'a conica, globosa, and gracilis as varieties of F. macrostema, in the British Flower-Garden, 2. s. t. 216. Dr. Lindley has spoken of globosa and conica incidentally, in his account of F. discolor, as being, " to all appearance, distinct species."] FUCHSIA, some plants of, have been raised from seeds, among which there is prospect of some new varieties. In Mr. Dennis's nursery, Grosvenor Row, Chelsea, is a number of plants of Fucbsz'a, which were raised, in September, 1834, from seeds that Mr. John Nairn, now with Mr. Dennis, had supplied. Mr. Nairn has informed me that he obtained the seeds from a plant of F. globosa, to the flowers of which pollen from the flowers of several other kinds of Fuchsz'a had been applied. Among the plants produced from the seeds, there is enough of difference in the foliage, contour of growth, and flowers in some of those that have borne flowers (and most of them have), to mark some of them as likely to be distinct varieties. I saw one flowering on August 22., which was noticeable in the following points : -two stems which had their rise in about the centre of the pot, diverged oppositely, and were extended over and beyond the rim, and so much reclined as to be not much above the rim; from these two stems numerous twig-like branches had been produced, were pendulous, and were numerous enough to fringe the pot all round beyond the rim. These twigs had borne and were bearing numerous pretty flowers, and the variety was, hence, ornamental, as well as peculiar in contour. The flower has the cast of that of globosa, but it is smaller, and not obviously globular, even in the bud.-J.D.

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from The Magazine of Horticulture, Botany Vol IV 1838 Boston, Published by Hovey & Co.

fulgens D. C. The Glowing Fuchsia. A green-house plant; growing three or four feet high; with vermilion-colored flowers; appearing in April and May ; a native of Mexico; increased by cuttings, and cultivated in loam and peat. Bot. Reg., K. 5. 1.

"This is probably the most brilliant plant of the Temperate Flora of Mexico." It was originally met with by Mocino and Lesse, two Spanish naturalists, and has very lately been introduced to Britain. The flowers are produced in profusion on axillary peduncles, towards the extremities of the branches, pendulous, very long and tubular, and open at the mouth. The leaves are rather large, opposite, denticulated and glabrous. A plant, well grown and in full bloom, would be a superb object. Dr. Lindley states that it is difficult to conceive anything more brilliant than the appearance of this species, when its rich vermilion-colored flowers are formed beneath the influence of a Mexican sun; but if grown in a shaded situation, with too much heat and moisture, the bright colors inevitably fade, and the plant is deprived of half its beauty." It grows freely in a mixture of loam and peat, and is about as hardy as the E. arborescens.

In conclusion, Dr. Lindley remarks that "this plant may serve as a specimen of what the genus Fuchsia is still able to yield of novelty and beauty." The species now figured only forms one of several that are able to rival it in appearance, and he especially directs the attention of those who have commercial relations with Peru to the fuchsias inhabiting that part of South America. In the woods about Huassa-huassi and Muna, in particular, are some of the most magnificent species, one of which, called Mollo Ccantu, or the beauty plant, was found by Mr. Mathews, at Huamantanga. It would remunerate any nurseryman for the expense of a Peruvian collector, if he could only bring back alive five species of Fuchsia figured in the Flora Pe- ruviana, not to mention the F. dependens, of which a plate will be found in Sir W. J. Hooker's excellent Icones Plantarum, and some others. (Bot. Reg., Jan.)

This splendid species, we hope, will soon be added to our collections.

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from The Cottage Gardener Volume III   Published by Wm. S. Orr London 1850

Fuchsia - When a supply of fuchsias is to be made in the spring, the cuttings should be put in among the very first that are made, in order to get good bushy plants of them before they begin to flower. Any one who is fond of a fuchsia bed, or hedge, in a flower garden, should use one sort in a place. I have tried all the combinations that I could make out of a great many sorts - using, at different times from two to twenty kinds in a bed - but I never got a bed of mixed fuchsia yet that pleased me, or that any lady who understood the subject, admired. There are some who'll admire anything gaudy in flower beds; but that taste is fast wearing out, and particularly in regard to fuchsia beds. Of all the old fuchsias, the one called Gracilis is the best for a large mass, or a low hedge, and to be cut down to the ground every year; but for a permanent hedge, where they will stand the winter, Ricartonii is the best, because it is much stronger, and more hardy, than Gracilis. There are many instances of the Fuchsia Ricartonii growing into huge bushes, of from ten to fifteen feet high; and I heard lately of a hedge of it in the north of Ireland, eight ot nine feet high and as many feet through. But in my opinion, the one called Carolina is by far the best of all the fuchsias for a bed or a hedge, or for single specimens, out of doors; and for this, among other reasons, that it is just a second edition of the original Fuchsia coccinea, with all the parts four times enlarged, and with the most powerful habit of that race of fuchsias, or those belonging to the Coccinea breed.

To make the best show in a bed, this Carolina ought to be propagated every year, in August, and from stout pieces of the young stems stuck in light soil, behind a wall or hedge. When it is more than two years old, it is too strong for ordinary beds; and nothing looks more out of character than a very tall crop in a small bed. therefore a succession of young plants should be kept up. Hedges of fuchsias, when planted in suitable situations, are extremely beautiful - much more so when they are cut down to the ground every year and thus made to flower on a very vigorous young wood; and Carolina treated that way must be gorgeous indeed.

There is a climbing fuchsia ( Radicans, a wild species ), which would grow twenty or thirty feet long in a few seasons, but is a shy one to flower. A first, or second cross between it and Carolina ought to produce a giant fuchsia for standards. Such a cross has been obtained, but not skilfully and it is of little use. The pollen of Carolina should only be used, and the cross repeated until nothing but the constitution of Radicans, or female parent is left to the offspring.

NB This is original text and suspect reference may be to Coralina and not Carolina

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also from The Cottage Gardener Volume III   Published by Wm. S. Orr London 1850 an advert

Fuchsias for Exhibition (Amicitia).-

The following are two sets of fuchsias that will be good for exhibiting at a country show. The first are chiefly new, and the second are distinct sorts, that, if well grown, will obtain a prize at any exhibition.

You may obtain them by writing to Mr. Appleby, Pine-apple-place Nursery, London.

First set.- Beauty Supreme, 1s 6d; Elegans, 3s 6d; Elegantissima, 3s 6d; Elizabeth, 1s 6d; Gem of the West, 3s 6d; Marchioness Hastings, 1s; Scarietina Reflexa, 1s; Coralina, 1s; Splendida, 2s 6d; Purity, 1s Sapphira, 2s 6d.

Second set.- Exoniensis, Beauty of Leeds, Delicata, Dr. Smith, Napoleon, One-in-the-ring, Adrienne, Rose Quinial, Serratifolia, Formosa Elegans, Crimson King, Ne Plus Ultra.
These are 1s each, or 9s the dozen.

NB Of the 23 varieties listed here only 11 are listed in Leo Boullemier's Checklist

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Fuchsias.-The skill of the gardener in producing new varieties, is nowhere more delightfully shown than in the new Fuchsias of the last three or four seasons. The utmost delicacy and brilliancy of color, the finest foliage and habit of growth, and the most exquisite gracefulness and perfection of form in the flowers, are united in the new Fuchsias-which we notice in our advertising columns of last month, several of our leading growers now offer at very moderate prices. It is unfortunate for the Fuchsia, as a popular flower, that it will not bear our bright sun, and dry air, and hence is of no value as an out-of-door plant. But to all who have greenhouses, it is an invaluable treasure, during all the summer months, when those said greenhouses were formerly the most shabby of all places ; for the stages now covered with Fuchsias, (which being dormant during winter, may be kept in a warm pit,) the house is, indeed, more attractive from June to September, than even in winter.

A great deal has been written about the culture of the Fuchsia, but it may be simplified within a very brief compass; for soil, take two- thirds leaf mould from the woods, one-third sand; for atmosphere, syringe the plants every way plentifully, for they love dampness, and dull the lights with a thin wash of whiting, or something equivalent, to guard against excessive sun-light. We know an amateur who grows them very successfully in a small house covered with cheap muslin frames-the whole structure, 30 feet long, not costing as many dollars-and preserving the plants in a pit in winter. Fuchsias demand some care certainly, but there are few plants that so well reward amateurs, as these lovely specimens of natural jewelry.

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Is synonymous with Leverhulme and was intorduced by Rehnelt (Germany) in 1928.
It is thought that the name was changed in Britain from Leverkusen to Leverhulme.

The supposed reason for this was felt that it would sell better named after Lord Leverhulme a Victorian Businessman (d.1925) who founded Lever Brothers and became a cornerstone of Unilever rather than a German City at that particular time history.


Dusky Beauty

A popular show plant in the 80's nearly didn't make it anywhere. Raised by Dr Matthew Ryle he considered it to lack the necessary qualities of a good cultivar and discarded it.

It was rescued from the compost heap by Norman Mitchinson who went on to exhibit it with great success.
Whilst not the easiest to grow it became for many top exhibitors a show banker.