History of the BFS by John Porter

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It has been split into three sections to make it easier to read

Click Here to read the history of the BFS 1938 to 1960.
Click Here to read the history of the BFS 1961 to 1991.
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BFS Snowfire

The History of the BFS 1938 to 1960 By J V Porter

The first Annual of the Society was published in 1938 under the heading of THE FUCHSIA ANNUAL 1938. The official publication of THE FUCHSIA SOCIETY.
However, it was during 1937 that the idea of a Fuchsia Society was born, when Clara Lady Boothby met several other Fuchsia enthusiasts, I therefore quote her opening Presidents Address to the Society published in the first Annual.


"In writing a few words for the first Fuchsia Society Annual, I want to say what a pleasure it gives me to be the first President. For many years I had grown fuchsias in a small way when living in Devon, always leaving my plants in the open. After going to live in the Mendip Hills I found it necessary to take my plants in for the winter; then moving to South Wales I was again able to leave most varieties out all the winter just covered with ashes, and they came up year after year. Now I am collecting rarer species and less hardy varieties and growing many of these under glass. It was on meeting last year several enthusiasts that the idea of forming a fuchsia society arose and in spite of real hard work in getting the society started, working with those so keen as our Secretary W.W.Whiteman, our London representative Ralph Newman, and Mr H.A.Brown who has specialised in fuchsias for many years and has now so generously placed his first hand knowledge at our disposal, it has been a really interesting and happy work.
We could find no record of a former fuchsia society, until one day I saw an announcement in a local paper of a meeting of such a society, I at once wrote to the Secretary who informed me that the society was a branch of the Women’s Conservative Association, F for Friendship, U for Usefulness, C for Cheerfulness, H for Helpfulness, S for Sympathy, I for Instruction, and A for Amusement! Which, indeed, could be taken as a very good motto for the society.
We cannot all hope to see rampant species climbing to a height of 20 feet as in Brazil, or wander in the dark forests by the Chincha in Peru and gather long tubed scarlet clusters of Corymbiflora, nor would we wish to risk our lives to see F. splendens growing on Totonicapan mountain 10,000 feet above sea level! We cannot all grow fuchsias as in sheltered parts of South Devon and Cornwall without fear of our big bushes and standards being cut to the ground in wintertime, nor can we hope to have species and varieties in full flower by the middle of May as at Tresco Abbey in the Isles of Scilly, but we can all choose many beautiful and hardy varieties to grow in the open, and if we are lucky enough to possess a greenhouse, there are enchanting varieties to grow as standards, pyramids, and bushes, amongst 1000 already known.

I want to thank our vice-presidents for their help and gifts of rare new species, and the editors of numerous gardening papers for letting the society be widely known, also our foundation members who have shown such keen interest in the formation of the society, and not least, the head gardeners of many old country houses for their welcome when the owners so kindly allowed us to search for varieties long gone out of commerce and which we now hope to distribute to members of the Society. Our Annual Book, I hope, will be a tremendous help to all who want to grow these most fascinating flowers

Lady Boothby lived at Fonmon Castle in Glamorgan as her descendants still do. On enquiring by telephone to the Castle for assistance, in the form of a picture of our founder, for none have appeared in our publications to date, I was told a story that almost fitted in with the way I had understood it from Lady Boothby’s’ opening address, with one very special inclusion that I had not come across before. Duly I received this slightly different version of the same story in writing. I think that the Fonmon Castle version is highly probable and to be honest the way I would like it to have been, it is as follows: Lady Boothby and Queen Mary were great friends and when Her Majesty saw an advertisement in a local Welsh newspaper for a meeting of the F.U.C.H.S.I.A. she announced that it must be attended because of it’s floral connection. It was conveyed to Her Majesty that the letters actually stood for F for Friendship, U for Usefulness, C for Cheerfulness, H for Helpfulness, S for Sympathy, I for Instruction, and A for Amusement and that the society was a branch of the Women’s Conservative Association! As the Royal Family must have no political connections it was deemed an unsuitable meeting. However, Queen Mary said that there should indeed be a fuchsia society and that Lady Boothby should be the first President.

I think, that after this Royal prompting, Lady Boothby gathered the support of known fuchsia lovers and started our society along with three other founder members, Ralph Newman, W.W.Whiteman, and the assistance of a nurseryman, who later became Reverend H.A. Brown, was co-opted for his valuable expertise and knowledge. During these early years it is a fact that many of Lady Boothby’s friends were called upon to support the society, several of the vice presidents were either titled, or had MBE, OBE, Major or Col attached to their name. We actually started the first year with twenty-six vice presidents. One other point that will interest many modern day members is paragraph 3 of the first constitution which reads: "The objects of the society will be: To encourage, improve, and extend the cultivation of fuchsias, to regulate their nomenclature, to register names and description of new varieties and species etc.". What an enormous task this would have been.

Unfortunately, shortly after the formation of the society, the second world war started, obviously this affected everybody’s normal life style and The fuchsia society was no exception. Firstly, society AGMs were virtually impossible to organise, paper was very scarce on which to print the society magazine, literature etc. and also personnel to take up committee and officer positions were too busy either shooting bullets or dodging them. We were however fortunate to have W.W.Whiteman as Secretary & Treasurer, who with the help of Lady Boothby, Lady Rayleigh, Mrs Gascoigne, Mrs Smith and Messrs Newman, Cotton, Clarke, Fenwick, Hay, Unwin and Wood were able to carry the society through most of those traumatic years. It was during the first year that the society started the cuttings scheme, originally the idea was to try and locate old and missing varieties in gardens and collections throughout the country, and then re-distribute them to the membership. The scheme started in 1938 with the offer of three varieties i.e. Leverhulme, Lustre and Tower of London. It is of credit to the founders, that this scheme is still carried on at the present time, albeit with a slightly different format.

It must have been a tremendous set back to the society when W.W. Whiteman died suddenly on August 20th 1945. It was the Rev. E.A.Elliot who stepped in as our second secretary, serving until 1948. It is interesting to note that the balance sheet in 1945 read: Income £124-11-7. Expenditure £56-18-6. Cash in Bank £206-4-4. It was in the 1946 fuchsia Annual that the title of "The BRITISH Fuchsia Society" appeared, I can find no reason for this change of name but it is rumoured that it was because of a request from The American Fuchsia Society which was formed in 1929. The BFS also saw the first "SHOW" during 1946. It was held at The RHS Halls London on the l3th-l4th August and at first looked as if it was going to be a complete disaster until at the last minute the three intending exhibitors decided to change to non-competitive, this resulted in an astonishing success with a grand forty feet display by Mr Hurran, a massive exhibit in huge tubs and pots, of really large plants by Mrs Gascoigne; six perfect standards sent by Mrs. C Whiteman etc. etc. 1947 saw a similar type of show with three displays in the non-competitive class and 18 competitive classes, one plant of note and described as a fine specimen An article covering four and a half pages from L.D.Hills was published in the 1947 Annual with reference to nothing but Labels. (Our present Ed. has threatened to re-publish it one day, if he doesn’t receive enough copy from the modern day members).

By 1952 the society had pulled itself together after the war years and was progressing with a new President in Sir Ralph Newman one of the founder members. and also a new secretary in B.W.Rawlins. The membership of 430 had doubled from 1939. The annual show had 19 classes with W.P.Wood winning 8 and S.J.Wilson, who was later to become President, winning 8, incidentally he is still a member to this day, he also wrote an excellent book in 1965 simply called "Fuchsias". I find it strange that the show only had one trophy at this time, especially when the society had eight titled gentry as President, Vice President and backed up with a few Reverends, Majors and Colonels, now making a total of twenty-five Vice Presidents. For the hybridists it is worth noting that the BFS had a Registration of Plant Names Sub-Committee in 1952.

Bernard Rawlins the secretary from 1952-61, also ran a fuchsia nursery on the Great West Road London, I well remember seeing a shade house made from disused fluorescent tubes on my one and only visit to his nursery. He relinquished his secretarial position in 1961 and W.G.Sharp took over. By this time our vice presidents list had dwindled to 11 but still listed 4 titled names. It should be noted that whereas the society up to this time had been mainly centred in the South of England, more news from the North appeared to be creeping into the publications, however, the entire committee with the exception of A.G.Brittan (Leicester), were based south of Bedford. The London Show now had 23 classes but there were only 8 individuals winning first prizes. The society held it’s first regional show in conjunction with Sale Horticultural Society at Sale near Manchester, a paragraph in the 1957 Annual by Erica Sharp the Treasurer’s wife and from Essex, interests this author in particular, "My husband and I were deeply moved by the warmth and sincerity of the welcome extended to us and we felt that our small efforts to promote the popularity of the genus fuchsia had been repaid a thousandfold. This very happy memory will stay with us for all time". Income for the year was £2194-18s-7d Expenditure £1112-6s-4d.

During 1959 a Northern Representative was introduced to the committee list, but unfortunately the name was spelt Leyton instead of Leytham in the 1961 Annual. Nevertheless, this was a huge step for the society, it had taken almost 20 years to come out of the south. The year 1959 saw the first local fuchsia society being formed, this was called "Maidenhead, Slough and District Fuchsia Growers Society". Rule 4 of their constitution is worth noting "Membership will be open only to those who actually grow at least twelve varieties of fuchsias. and they can satisfy a member of the committee that they are an enthusiast".

This article first appeared in the 75th BFS Anniversary Souvenir Brochure and is reproduced with kind permission of John V. Porter

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BFS Snowfire

History of the BFS 1961 to 1990 By J V Porter

A few years later, 1963, a Midland representative was first introduced, this time the name was correctly spelt J. A. Kirkham. Bernard Rawlins had now become President and also show organiser. Another first happening took place in 1963 when a BFS badge was on offer at 2s. 6d post free, the design was the same as the Society medallion that appeared on the front of the Annual, and reported to be "Forget-me-not". Curiously this was the second design of front page medallions and has survived from 1947 until the present day. The original medallion was used from 1938 to 1946 and had a different flower with the words "The Fuchsia Society" around the edge, although the 1946 logo also included the word "British" with the original flower, 1947 saw the present format appear.

The first colour slide competition by any British floral society was started by the BFS in 1964. There were two classes A & B and 4 prizes in each class. Amazingly there were 319 slides entered, one of the prizes, in the form of an Instamatic camera was donated by Kodak. In the Summer News Letter of the same year the joint editors, Messrs Gunnell & Burkey said that a "colour page in the annual publication might not be far off’ perhaps they hadn’t seen the first annual with six colour pages! Jim Travis on the subject of amateurism said. "everyone is not in the position to be able to stand the expense, so they do sell off a few surplus plants and cuttings to enable them to keep up their hobby. I cannot see anything wrong in this, and you can rest assured they will not make a fortune". Obviously, this statement came from years of experience. During 1965 the society introduced a special prize of a case of six Crested Spoons at each of the THREE BFS shows and also replica cups were issued to all cup winners. New fuchsias for 1966 offered by Wills of Southampton were Pink Temptation, Henri Poincare 1905 and Pharoah all at 5/- each i.e. 25p.

After many years of the Annual being published in December, the 1966-67 Annual publication date was changed to March 1966 with no Annual being sent out in 1967 and the 1968 edition arrived in February of that year. This meant 23 months without an Annual however, under the Editorship of Stan Cash we had the thickest Annuals of all with pages numbering 132, 132, 136, 120, 108 and 100 possibly the committee made him reduce the pages because of postage costs. It was during these years that our Affiliated fuchsia Societies really came to the fore, with only 5 in 1966 and 30 or more by 1971, the fuchsia was the "in" flower and was certainly still on the up. The thirtieth anniversary in 1968 saw a reprint from the first Annual of an article by A.D.Cotton, which will be of great assistance for those interested in history, it gives references to the sources of published fuchsia information previous to 1938. During these 5 or 6 years it was evident that soilless composts were beginning to replace the old reliable John Innes Compost with, many correspondents reporting on their different mixes and results.

Jim Travis was awarded the first Whiteman Medal of Honour at the 1968 AGM "for his work for the general extension of knowledge about the fuchsia". There had previously been a Whiteman Medal awarded at shows but this did not include the words, OF HONOUR and had been withdrawn as a show award. Some of us will also remember that it was this year that Jim had to move out of his nursery and allow a motorway to take it’s place. Sir Ralph Newman a founder member and our first editor passed away in July 1968 as did H A Wilkinson who had been a member since the start of the BFS. At the 1969 AGM Margaret Slater became our President she had served on the committee since 1946 but her surname in those days was Brown in fact she was the sister of Rev. Bert Brown one of the founder members, she was to serve the society as a committee member right up to her death in 1992, a total of 46 years! An achievement that I am sure will never be repeated. A princely sum of £820. 4s 2d was the profit for the year and we had accounts worth £156 1.2s.6d. Clara, Lady Boothby aged 92 died during this year it is certain that she was the force behind the society at it’s commencement and kept the society afloat until the war was over and life returned to normality. Thomas Thorne a descendant of James Lye, author of "Fuchsias for all Purposes" and a regular contributor to our publications, also passed away.

1970 was a monumental year for the showman/person, perhaps the BFS made its first mistake. We, for all of us are the BFS, printed the first rulebook of judging standards, this took three pages, of slightly smaller than A6 size, to accommodate all the rules, up to this point rules were as the schedule. It appears to many members that we are STILL trying to get it right!! Because of the growth of the affiliated societies and their need for lecturers and judges the society published a list of names available and capable who would perform these tasks. At the AGM Mr Sharp pointed out that postage charges were costing £70/80 for the bulletins and printing costs were £80.00 and this may result in a cut back of the number of bulletins we publish. Jim Travis a foremost authority, complained that "a hybrid wins the best species at the London Show" and also that a true species has not won this prize for many years. Jim, as we northern folk well remember is best described as a wise/shrewd/knowledgeable man, managed to answer the question of lack of variety at shows, simply by stating, "show people grow those easy to grow and will not touch those NICE ones we like to grow" followed by "no! show people grow to win and rightly choose those, which adapt themselves to show work"

During 1973 the BFS started a national quiz for Affiliated Societies. This caused the Editor (Stan Cash) to withdraw his support of the quiz because it did not include BFS members unless they also belonged to an Affiliated Society. Although much effort was put into the quiz by the committee it was doomed to problems and eventual failure. The whole country was now decimalised, pounds and p’s instead of the old pounds, shillings and pence The best feature in the annual (for me) was without doubt a translation by Don Barker (raiser of Sylvia Barker) of a Dutch Fuchsia Society article on the history of Carl Bonstedt the raiser of many triphylla cultivars, although my own research does not entirely agree with this version, it gave me food for thought. On the show scene the society had 4 regional shows London, Northern. Midland and South Western which had started in 1972 with 14 exhibitors and 112 plants. Although a member for many years before this show, it’s organiser was a person who would eventually serve the society for many years as the secretary and treasurer, Ron Ewart.

A change of Editor came during 1974. A young lady, who was in her early 20’s took over, her name was Susan Travis. Certainly, with the backing of her father Jim and Susan’s degree in botany we had a most knowledgeable team in charge of the publications. Membership was up to 4,000, with around the same figure in cash at the bank. An advertisement offered 10 rooted cuttings for £1.20 postage paid. Triphylla hybrids are once again under discussion. Alf Thornley gives a partial family tree of Billy Green and concludes that it is a "Fulgens hybrid" and not a triphylla hybrid. Our knowledgeable editor replies that neither Billy Green nor Leverkusen show the F.fulgens type leaf nor the typical green tips to the sepals which would be typical of a fulgens hybrid. In all I think that this was a disappointing annual with the editor struggling, probably through the lack of articles, to fill the miserly 72 pages. A new problem was introduced to the society in the way of VAT.

The editorial of the 1975 annual states "included are some of the more interesting articles from previous years. and that it is interesting to read what some of the greats of the fuchsia world were saying twenty or thirty years ago". It is therefore strange that the Editor should also apologise to the members whose articles were not included because the printers couldn’t cope with a bigger publication. At the AGM. the Editor manages to stave off a take-over bid for her position by 50 votes to 40 votes. This democratic process was done by ballot amongst the members present and not by the present format of a postal ballot. One particular article brought a smile to my face, it contained a word that was well outside my vocabulary. It stated on the second line "I was struck by the large numbers of icinoclastic and complicated articles they contained". How on earth could a contributor using the word iconoclastic (spelt correctly) criticise others for being complicated? However, the article did give some good advice, even though it was analysing earlier articles sent in by two beginners. Affiliated Societies were now well established all over the UK, 24 of them had reports in the Annual thus bulking it up to a more acceptable size of 96 pages.

The Travis editorial team produced I think their best effort in 1976. Two articles, one by Susan and one by Jim, especially for beginners took nine pages! For me plate 22 brought back memories of the times I visited Jim asking him for a particular variety the reply would sometimes be "Nay lad, you don’t want that it’s no good, ‘ere try this". Invariably it would come out of the cold-frame depicted. It took me two or three years before I realised that he didn’t have the one I’d asked for. The editorial told of a regrettable but necessary committee decision to cut out the Spring Bulletin. Margaret Slater became the second recipient of The Whiteman Medal of Honour, her brother and founder member Bert Brown was made President, unfortunately he was in Papua New Guinea for the first two years of office. There were still only four BFS Shows but the many Affiliated Societies were all holding their own shows. A service provided by the society was the naming of fuchsias which had lost their labels, I think even Margaret Slater and Jim Travis, who both offered their services for this task, would struggle nowadays with the hundreds of new varieties that are released each year, making it virtually impossible to keep up. Membership was up to 5,700 and 220 Affiliated Societies, in spite of this there was a deficit of £1064 on the year!

A very significant change came in 1976 Harry Leytham stood down from the Secretary/Treasurer positions after 8 years in office and Ron Ewart, who had been on the committee since 1973 took over. The Editor’s name also changed, but this was because of her marriage. Vice Presidents were now only two, Lady Gascoigne and Margaret Slater, Margaret who because her brother was still living in New Guinea acted as President. The Society was now in a most serious crisis, in the treasurer’s report at the AGM (Harry Leytham) said that he had heard reports that the society was about to fold and were seriously in the red. He went on to say that we could meet all our commitments except for the greetings cards. Here are the figures perhaps it is better for you to work it out yourselves:- We owed £3220.25 and had only £2151.10 in the bank to pay the debt with. Which means to get straight we must sell £1068.45 of our assets in order to pay the bills. What were the assets? £348.00 were fixed assets (typewriters, duplicator, show equipment). £202.07 we were owed by sundry debtors, the rest was mainly a stock of greetings cards and perhaps a few books. Yes we were in a mess! Sell to survive. I think that no single person was to blame for the Society being in this position, inflation was a problem, it had been expected that the Society would make a loss during the year simply because, subscriptions hadn’t kept pace with VAT and inflation, therefore the committee saw a possible solution by trading with greetings cards. Unfortunately, they had bought far too many to meet a small demand and ended up with the Society in deep trouble. What a time to take over as Treasurer!!

With Ron Ewart in the hot seat during 1977 the Society started to claw it’s way back from the red. By the September balance sheet we had £3635.75 in the bank and only owed £117.96, the problem had been overcome and a profit had been made for the first time since 1973. Harry Leytham had forecast this turn around in his report the previous year. A 60% subscription increase coupled with an increase of over 100% in sales and donations of £684.06 had done the trick! The crisis was probably the worst in the society’s history, although the war years must have been difficult. A new Editor was now at the helm, Cliff Gadsby took over the Editors work and produced an Annual of 83 pages. A list of BFS. Society Approved Judges gave 14 names, some of which had taken the exam. It was this year that the judging exam started, up to this time judges were personalities that were known to be "knowledgeable" on the subject of fuchsias, i.e. a nurseryman here, a hybridist or enthusiast there. A postal ballot for committee members resulted in a Mr George Bartlett taking sixth place, therefore he was elected to the committee for two years. Leo Boullemier wrote an interesting if not amusing article when he pointed out that Gordon Thorley a showman of the 60’s was not often seen on the showbench nowadays, a grower noted for his remarkable exhibits of pin-cushions and privet hedges, and indeed the PIONEER of this type of growth, whether you like it or not. Leo also goes on to say that he almost didn’t recognise Gordon recently because of his pencil type beard, could this have been too much Potash? (the beard). Edwin Goulding stated that there was "more bad judging in 1976 than at any time that I can remember". He then goes on to give "his ten commandments" to show secretaries. Leo Boullemier told us the usual history of the fuchsia and Father Plumier in an "Abridged History of the Fuchsia" which took four pages of the Annual. Altogether Leo filled eight pages of this Annual!

Sadly the 1978 Annual was the only one that Cliff Gadsby produced, his untimely death occurred in February 1978 just a few weeks before the Annual was published, he was awarded, posthumously, the Whiteman Medal of Honour for his services, his place on committee was taken by our present President, Joan Morris, and the new Editor was E.J.Goulding who through the efforts and donations by Mrs Bertha Gadsby produced four loose-leaf colour inserts of fuchsia’s in the 1979 Annual. The AGM was held in Carlisle, the furthest north that the society has ever held such an event. Our finances were improving rapidly with assets of £5462.79 plus £4903.07 in the accumulated fund and only £128.57 owed. Harrogate Show started and a Northern rally was held at Myerscough College near Lancaster. One advertiser offered 11 new varieties, none of which are today’s best sellers. This Annual published a list hybrids that had received BFS awards since the schemes inception in 1959, although there are 33 listed I would say that there are only 2 with much demand today namely Mieke Meursing and Annabel, although Whiteknights Amethyst was on the list which was perhaps the first real colour change since 1842. Ken Sharp who had been an active committee member died on 30th December aged 80. All in all, I would say that this was a below average Annual but was certainly diverse in its content.

With 96 pages the 1980 Annual had some very good articles, two by John Wright have always intrigued me. Article one entitled What is a Species? was probably one of the best articles I have read, which although a little heavy, as Species articles usually are, it did enlighten the subject for exhibitors. The second article, at the time, I thought was marvellous. A NEW species had been found, F. lampadaria. John had received seed from South America, when germinated the resulting plants were unlike any previously described, although it showed similarities to F. Magdalena. John had based his conclusion on information from Professor Munz’s 1943 book, "A Revision of the Genus fuchsia". Professor Munz had listed F. Magdalena as a new species, unfortunately his description could not have been detailed enough, for it was recognised shortly after that F. lampadaria was in fact F. Magdalena. In a case like this, when botanists make mistakes, it points out to me that, all of us are a long long way from being "experts". A trend with the Annuals of this era was to include details of Affiliated Societies, in truth this tended to bulk up the publication with 11 pages of details that were of little use to the majority of BFS. members. At this time, we had increased the national shows to 7 with the first Scottish Show taking place by the invitation of the Central Scotland Fuchsia Society. Nine exhibitors brought 34 plants between them. October 5th 1980 the society lost Jim Travis WMH who during his lifetime became one of the most knowledgeable authorities on fuchsia’s.

Ron and Jean Ewart took a party to Berg en Bos in Holland for the 15th anniversary of that society during 1981. It appears that a wonderful time was had by everyone and the fuchsias were something that "defied description" with thousands of plants laid out in a garden setting and all non-competitive. Another article confirmed that Fuchsia Folk are Friendly Folk. The Northern Show had 900 visitors, I wonder where they’ve all gone? Affiliated Society addresses took 10 pages of the annual and show results 16, another 9 pages were advertisements and 10 pages for the AGM. Taking 45 pages from a total of 104 pages, left us with 59, less 8 for standing articles such as committee addresses left only 51 pages for fuchsia related articles. This was not the fault of any of our Editors, I think it was just a way things developed over the years.

Lady Gascoigne who had been a Vice President since the formation of the Society, (44 years), passed away. Hatfield was the venue for a fuchsia rally and was attended by 2000 enthusiasts in spite of the atrocious weather. Two awards of The Whiteman Medal of Honour were made at the AGM. The recipients being Stan Cash and George Roe. The 1982 Annual had 104 pages but was once again filled up with addresses, advertisements, results etc. and was desperately short of contributions from members, in fact there were only 12 and 2 of these came from overseas. This was the fourth of editor Gouldings’ Annuals and I think he was unfortunate in not having much support from the members in the way of articles.

1983 saw the Society with a new President in Leo Boullemier and a new Editor in Jim Ludlow. It was time to try and reorganise our publications. Firstly show results were slightly abbreviated and a decision to print a directory would leave more space for articles in the Annual. More support for the Editor was evident with more subscribers including two articles from the previous Editor making sure that at least Jim Ludlow would get his support. One particularly interesting article from J. Wright reporting that rust was becoming an increasing problem and that Plantvax 75 was the only chemical cure although Thiram could help to protect. Edward Banks the 19th century hybridiser was the subject of another article, although brief it gave an insight into his lifetime. A proposal to change publication times was passed at the AGM. which resulted in a February Spring Bulletin, a July Summer Bulletin and an October/November Annual.

Membership in 1984 reached 6250 I think the highest total it has ever been. We also had a new editor with George Bartlett taking over from Jim Ludlow who had set in motion the way of having more fuchsia related articles than the fill up with addresses etc system we had become bogged down with. This resulted in a much more to read publication with members rallying round with text to cover the reconstituted pages. Worms were the subject of Shaun Dixon’s article explaining how they make nutrients available to plants. Whiteknights Glister, wrote John Wright, should have variegated leaves and any being grown with green leaves should be destroyed. Reverend Dr Bert Brown, a founder member was awarded the Whiteman Medal of Honour. Financially the Society had a healthy sum of over £10,000 behind them but Treasurer Ron Ewart was disappointed and worried that we were spending too much on our publications. For the second year in succession we had spent more than we had taken in. Several steps had been taken to reduce costs, such as limiting the size of the publications and a withdrawal from all outside shows such as Chelsea and Southport these I would consider as backward steps but they had made a considerable saving however, it was still not enough to prevent a deficit. Ron Ewart and Jean Ewart notified the Society that they would not stand for re-election in 1986. But after it was decided to modernise the administration with the purchase of a computer Ron and Jean agreed to stay on for the foreseeable future.

After an increase in subscription in January 1985 the accounts were much healthier by the 1986 AGM with assets of almost £23,000 being shown in the balance sheet. In spite of this the Treasurer was put through a grilling by members and made to explain why slightly different methods had been used in the presentation of the accounts. Once again, a call was made to do away with the plant distribution scheme, this was a regular plea at AGMs over the years but thankfully it has always been repealed due to the fact that approximately 60% of the membership take part in it. Another Whiteman Medal of Honour was awarded, this time to Leo Boullemier. A report signed by Bertha Dogsbody thanking everyone who supplied plants at the Stoke National Garden Festival also reported that her biggest disappointment was the way that people just helped themselves to cuttings from the display plants. It was deemed necessary to again propose an increase in subscription rates to £5.00 at the 1987 AGM. simply to keep ahead of inflation, we did have assets of £28,000 by now but the motion was carried. One advertiser offered 10 new introductions for £14.00 inclusive of post & package, another for 10 top prize winning exhibition fuchsias £4.95 with free p&p.

With Reg. Witts as President for the Golden Jubilee year of 1988, many special events were organised around the country, by members forming themselves into regional or area committees. Festivals were held in Scotland, Wales, Felixstowe. St Albans, Scarborough and Buxton. The Annual contained colour pages for the first time since 1938 although, colour inserts had been included before as a loose leaf. Show results and AGM. report had been left out of this Annual, to make way for many good articles on history of the Society, the fuchsia the past etc. This I would say was the best Annual in the Society’s history just having the edge over the Stan Cash Annuals because of the colour plates and articles written because of the special year. A Jubilee plate was commissioned by the. Society. this turned out to be a little disappointing, being made of English Pewter and not very attractive to look at, 10 years later we still have a few for sale! A rather strange proposition to form an Editorial committee was defeated at the 1988 AGM. This was caused by the retiring Editor sending in his resignation too late for the committee to seek nominations for a successor. Therefore there were no nominations for Editor, lots of discussion took place but it was decided that nothing could be done at that meeting. It was at the following committee meeting that Eric Johns volunteered to fill the position for one year.

In the Editorial of the 1989 Annual, Eric Johns complained that there was not enough material to fill the 96 pages of the publication so therefore it still contained the show results as a filler up. This has been the cry of practically all of our Editors over the years. Members appear to be frightened to write of their experiences, findings or ideas and yet there were twelve articles written by just two authors.

1990 was a momentous year for the society. The AGM minutes were switched to the Summer Bulletin. At the AGM Eric Johns was officially voted in as Editor, the London Show was moved out of the RHS Halls for the first time in 50 years. Then there was an absolute disaster, Ron Ewart who had been Secretary and Treasurer for 13 years and was due to stand down and probably become President, died at his hotel in Wales, the evening before the Welsh Show, August 17th 1990. Also during this year, the society lost Wilfred Sharp WMH an ex Secretary, Treasurer and President, Bernard Rawlins another ex-Secretary, President and Show Organiser and Fred Gowers a gentleman of the showbench who was admired by all who were associated with him. It is of credit to the committee of the time and in particular Ray Williams who stepped in prematurely to fill the secretarial position and Eric Johns (Editor) who stepped in so readily to help prepare the accounts, that the society carried on so smoothly after such a huge blow.

It could be said that the 1990 balance sheet was the last one that Ron Ewart had some input into. It showed that the Society had almost £43,000 of assets, £23,669.13 in the accumulated fund, £6,000.00 income over expenses and almost £4,000 reserved for corporation tax. We were worth approximately £76,000.00 with possible liabilities of £8,000.00 approx. What a difference from the day when he took over, bankruptcy was a possibility staring us in the face. It is no wonder that Ron was awarded, (posthumously) the Whiteman Medal of Honour at the next AGM, it was probably the most deserved award of this honour in our history. At the AGM Jean Ewart was voted in as President, taking over from Reg Witts who had suffered a stroke during his term of office, Ray Williams as Secretary, Ken Dymond as Treasurer and Eric Johns as Editor, an almost complete change of officers. A Special Interests Group was formed of interested members, with the will to gain more knowledge about species, pre-1914 cultivars and hybridising.

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BFS Snowfire

History of the BFS 1991 to Present Day By J V Porter

After what could only be described as a traumatic year the obituaries continued, ex-President Norman Hobbs, who’s wife had died during his term of office, also passed away and then Erica Sharp who had supported her husband Wilf so admirably through all his various appointments also passed away. The Society’s Annual returned once again to four colour pages at last, it appears that the quality of the slides had been holding up this progressive step forward. Although the Show Results were still published, articles from members were more evident. The show results were still with us but the Editor had a plan, keep the Spring Bulletin have a July publication date for the Annual and have a thicker Autumn Bulletin that would include the show results. This was duly passed and accepted as the format that would be adopted. 1992 again saw a change, we de-registered from VAT and applied for registration as a charity in England which would relieve us from our commitment to paying corporation tax. However, another stalwart of the Society was lost when Margaret Slater WMH, Vice President and ex-President succumbed to cancer after a brave fight, she had been a member for 47 years. Once again four colour pages were included in an Annual, that at last did not give show results, contained plenty of reading and subscribers, thus setting a standard for future Editors to try and keep up with.

The 1993 Annual was the last Eric Johns publication, once again it contained four pages of colour plates and an abundance of correspondence worth reading. The new Editor was to be Jim Muil who had been voted in at the March AGM. An amusing but perhaps critical article written by the previous Editor appertaining to the registration of fuchsia names, pointed out that Leicester hybridiser Johnson registered 21, Forward of Gillingham registered an equal amount of 21 these were not rugby scores but the number of new seedlings each had registered with the AFS. Funds were still increasing and indeed were perhaps becoming a source of embarrassment in some quarters. During the year the treasurer resigned his position, after a disagreement with the secretary, and Eric Johns stepped in to look after the accounts, he once again found that subscriptions did not cover our expenses and therefore recommended an increase of £1.00 in rates at the 1993 AGM. By 1994 Jean Ewart had finished her three years in the Presidents seat and George Bartlett had taken over, Brian Dickinson had become treasurer, he announced a surplus of £10,646.00, this was mainly due to a saving of more than £7,000.00 on the printing costs of the Annual and two Bulletins. We were also accepted as a registered charity. Our publications were now set in a pattern that had evolved over the years and the new Editor obviously wanted to keep up this high quality. In his 1994 Annual Editorial he reported excellent support with some correspondence being held over for the next publication, a most desirable position for us to be in. A serious report issued by MAFF on a NEW and notifiable disease of Powdery Mildew took up one of the colour pages and two pages of text. It is now generally thought to be an old problem that is easily cleared away.

The 1995 Autumn Bulletin was produced with a colour front page another first for the society but, far more significant was the obituary of Eric Johns, Eric had been Editor, Acting Treasurer twice, responsible for guidelines of Administrators, North East rep. Harrogate Show Organiser, Special Interest Group Co-ordinator and Committee member such a loss to a society cannot be replaced by one person and much of his work is now carried on by small committees or split between one or two members. Also, late in 1995 Leo Boullemier WMH and ex-President passed away after a long illness. In addition, Reg Witts, whose Presidency had taken in the Golden Jubilee year of 1988 also died. At the 1996 AGM a bombshell was dropped, after six years and without prior notice our secretary announced that he would withdraw his nomination and would not stand for re-election. After some discussion Carol Gubler offered to stand in as acting secretary until a new secretary could be found. Probably the most significant happening for the Society during this year was the establishment of a full colour front to the Annual in the fifty-eighth year of issue. There had been long discussions before this was allowed, with almost equal arguments for staying with tradition (guardsman red) as there was for change.

We are now almost up to date, our new President is Joan Morris, Peter Darnley has taken over as Secretary, now that we are a charity, the committee is even more responsible for the Society's affairs than ever before and the Treasurer, Brian Dickinson has to prepare the balance sheets in a different way, but this does not take away the fact that we are a wealthy society established for Sixty years with over 5,000 members. Let us all make sure that the society from this strong foundation, gives even greater support to our favourite flower the FUCHSIA.

This article first appeared in the 60th BFS Anniversary Souvenir Brochure and is reproduced with kind permission of John V. Porter


I finished the previous "History" more or less at the 1997 AGM with Joan Morris as President, Peter Darnley as Secretary and Brian Dickinson as Treasurer. The BFS had 5,495 members and everyone looking forward to the 1998 Diamond Jubilee Celebrations of the society. Both the Editor and George Bartlett showed some excitement for 1998 in their individual reports in the 1997 Spring Bulletin with the latter telling the members "anyone can grow for display’s", I think not, but it was meant as encouragement, George was to stand down at the AGM in March 1997 passing the Presidency to Joan Morris. An article by Jim Muncaster explained the use of Armillatox to control Vine Weevil, a copyright was placed on this article which I suppose still exists, however, it should be checked out to see if the use of Armillatox is still legal for this purpose in the 21st century. A second article by F Wallis stated he had developed a simple device to deter vine weevil from depositing their eggs in the plant pot, he was however finding it difficult to find a manufacturer! As far as I know this device has not yet appeared. Of course, I could be corrected. Leslie Millns an ex-patriot living in France complained that the BFS were not represented at the Euro Fuchsia meeting in Cognac; he went on to say "The BFS were being left behind" this was utter nonsense: the problem was the meeting was held on the same dates as the Harrogate Show in September, as the Euro-Fuchsia rep was the same person who organised Harrogate Show that year he could not attend both. It should also be noted that Cognac was the only Euro Fuchsia meeting L. Millns attended. The BFS rep., attended circa 13 meetings! Ron Ayres subscribed with a most useful article, namely "Fuchsias in Focus" excellent as a beginners guide to photographing fuchsias etc.

Multi Planting for show plants was raised by 2 or 3 member’s, this was the first time multi planting appeared in the schedules, first as doubles only. On advice from National Judges, the Show Committee conceded, "multi planting of doubles was allowed" It was said that the widespread practice of lowering plants at each potting, made it "IMPOSSIBLE" to tell if the pot was either a multiple or single planting. It is strange how we rebel to change; multi planting is now "I think" fully accepted by most showmen. Ralph Burlinson, subscribed with an article re the second "Autumn Gathering" at the end of the gathering, Carol was presented with a large bouquet of flowers and Pam with a dried flower arrangement. This presentation was to Pam and Carol Gubler, for the huge amount of work they have done and do for the southern area and the BFS Arthur Philips presented an article of a few of his favourite fuchsias and the Editor presented a selection from the catalogues, of the 20 varieties mentioned, I think only "President George Bartlett" has made the grade? Arthur Tickner presented a two-page article re Felix Porcher, a well-researched article, perhaps prompted because of a BFS Publication of a translation of Porcher's first book into the English language. A letter to the editor from C Blake explained his trial of carnivorous plants to rid the greenhouse of whitely, "with only limited success". When you think about it, once all the whitefly has been devoured, what keeps the carnivores alive?

In her first President’s report in the 1997 Annual Joan Morris said that a coach party from California is being planned for the BFS Diamond Jubilee Festival at Harlow Carr and other groups were planning to visit other Festivals. Ron Ayres followed up his article in the Spring Bulletin with another 2 pages on photography in the Annual. An article by John Canney re-christened Charlie Gardiner as "Bonnie Prince Charlie" and likened Charlie and his friend Peter Shearwood to "just like an old married couple". Ted Charlton subscribed with over a page comparing metric and imperial measure for pots. (I will go metric when the speed limit signs go metric)! Arthur Tickner donated with a two-page article covering James Lye the 19th century fuchsia exhibitor. John Clarke gave out his "Awards of the Year" all in good fun. A book review of "Fuchsias of the 19th and Early 20th Century" by the late Eric Johns praised Eric and his daughter Alison for presenting the fuchsia world with a remarkable picture of the 100 years prior to 1939. Yours truly wrote a lighthearted article entitled B.F.S. (Big Fuchsia Syndrome). The Society was worth £84,509 some of this was in stock and equipment but we were wealthy.

The Autumn Bulletin 1997 contained as usual all the show results, and the obituary of John Wright BSc., who, besides being a botanist had a great interest in fuchsias. Perhaps his greatest breakthrough was to produce the first aubergine coloured fuchsia. The obituary of Margaret Berger was announced, Margaret was not well known nationally but in the North West, and on Merseyside she was a tireless worker, she taught speech and drama at a local private school therefore her speech was impeccable without an accent. A lovely and hardworking lady. The many pages of advertisements included a change of venue for the Northern Show, this, after circa 40 years at Sale Town Hall, A Diamond Jubilee AGM Fuchsia Weekend to be held at Loughborough University organised by Bertha Gadsby. Advertisements covered the 7 different venues for Diamond Jubilee Celebrations, several affiliated shows, and fuchsia nurseries. Subscriptions were £6 a single member. An article from Gwen Rolt complained that the BFS was biased towards showing. She may have been correct, but an Editor can only print what is received, he or she will soon run out of self-generated articles. Eric Weeks at eighty years of age wrote; how waiting to see his seedlings grow and flower kept him going. On page 51, I came across more obituaries; Bill Hume and Bill Linklater both Scotsmen, I remember them both very well, Bill Hume was a BFS committee member for 3 years and Bill Linklater a lovely man, died at least 20 years prematurely having recently retired, he was Scottish Show organiser and representative, two tremendous blows in 15 days to the Scottish area, workers of this ilk are NOT easily replaced.

We have made it 1998! The Spring Bulletin Presidents Report said she, Joan Morris, would be at six of the events. The Editor appeared to be sorry that he was standing down perhaps a year early when things are bubbling, but looked forward to attending the many planned events. The inaugural meeting of the SIG Photography Group took place last October at Lilbourne and was a "resounding success". Peter Scott of Scunthorpe invited members to see his collection of terminally flowering fuchsias. Ron Ayers once again sent in a photography article. The Show People’s Special Interest Group reported, on the three meetings held in 1997 and that it is possible there will be some changes to the Bush, Shrub and Multi Pot rules. The Editor reprinted an article by Leo Boullemier and gave his own views when judging the cut bloom class. Barbara Price-Trasler wondered who Cecil Glass, Annie Earle, Mrs W Rundle plus a few others could be. In addition, why a French man would use the name Tom West for a fuchsia?(I think the theory that it was Meillez who found this fuchsia came from Leo Boullemier who said in his Checklist, without a source, "that he was sure that it was raised by Meillez"! However, Eric Johns in his well-researched book did not ever come across Tom West)! For the first time the London Show introduced a Bonsai Class. A letter from Australia thought that "after reading John Porter’s, B.F.S. i.e. Big Fuchsia Syndrome some competition to James Lye's pillars could be coming". Ernie Sayers stood down as Chairman of Northampton Fuchsia Society after 19 years. The Editor reviewed some 22 NEW varieties, NONE of which I have ever seen in the 15 years since they were released! Ralph Burlinson reported on the third "Autumn Gathering" and Hilary Burlinson in a short article described Bonsai Fuchsias. Norman Welton, announced the new Special Interest Group in the Borders Region. Claudy Dixon wrote of her support for "Saucer Shaped Stunners" such as Citation and Swanley Gem.

The 1998 President's Notes welcomed Geoff Oke as the new Editor, thanked Jim Muil, the retiring Editor and all those who had made the Loughborough AGM a great success; in conclusion she wrote "The Diamond Jubilee Celebration are here at last"! What a year! Festivals all over the Country! 1998 must have been the most successful year in the society's history. It is extremely unlikely that it will ever be repeated, certainly on such a scale, an original plan to hold one "Great Festiva" fell through due to the difficulty of finding a venue suitable to the North, South, East and West. Plans had started several years earlier with committee members offering venues for one great event, each one suggested however, presented a problem, mainly it was distance and travelling costs or, a willing person or committee to organise the event in the selected venue. Finally, it was decided by the BFS Committee to let the many areas within the society, carry on with forming and sorting their own arrangements and venues for the celebration, with the BFS offering some decent financial support to each area. The AGM was a weekend affair with events organised over the two days, I will always remember Jack Lamb (I will not embarrass him by printing his name in full) buying a round of drinks in the students bar, after delivering the drinks to his friends table and then going back to the bar for his own drink, discovered his pint had been claimed by a young lady and was now only half full in her hand! What a pussy cat; Jack took it on the chin and sheepishly ordered another without a word, of course Joan was watching. Di Boor explained to the meeting the substantial changes proposed by the Show sub-committee these were met with resounding approval. Many, many hours of deep thought and discussion had been applied by the small show committee (4 members and a co-opted member) to these alterations; dictionaries were used for the best/exact definitions, trying to avoid any misunderstanding. It was very pleasing to that committee, when the proposals were so well accepted. The society was worth circa £81,000 and subscription was £6.00. Dorking Fuchsia Group is now 35 years of age starting back in 1963. Brian Dickinson explained how the North of England Diamond Fuchsia Festival came about; and how it had been organised.

There were 17 pages of advertisements the 1998 Spring Bulletin, many of the ads, covered the special events in different parts of the country, with the inside back cover listing 16 fuchsia events of the summer, what a year it was to be! The Autumn Bulletin of that year covered stories of the events, the first weekend of the celebrations fell to Bristol and Wales; at Bristol 10 affiliated societies took part, all with splendid displays and several trade stands supported, the Almondsbury Garden Centre who provided the venue for this event made a collection of more than 700 from the 2,500 plus visitors and donated it to the local hospice. So on to Wales, to the Botanical Gardens, Swansea. Where seven Affiliated Societies put on a magnificent show of massed fuchsias, exhibition fuchsias and a display of fuchsias of each decade of the last 60 years assisted by nurseries and trade stands they filled a large L shaped marquee. Yours truly had the pleasure of meeting the present occupier Sir Brook Boothby of Fonmon Castle (where the society was formed 60 years ago). He is the grandson of Lady Clara Boothby, our first President and co-founder. There were lectures all weekend and on the Saturday evening an excellent meal and entertainment. Attendance was well in excess of expectations. The following weekend it was down to Borde Hill for the "Fuchsia Fanfare" the Southern area event. A tremendous event with 20 societies taking part, there were great displays all through the gardens, spoiled a lot by heavy rain and strong winds, however, it was very busy with over 5,000 attending, and we all just got on with enjoying ourselves.

The Midlands organised a Festival at Coombe Country Park, three marquees 140ft x 40ft were erected for 12 fuchsia Societies to arrange their 15ft x 10ft display’s, the rest of the space was trade stands selling fuchsia’s, lore etc. Judging of the displays was done by members of the Seattle Fuchsia Society. This event also took in the first Euro-Fuchsia meeting ever held in the UK; delegates from 15 societies attended the weekend meeting and dinner which was in the form of a Medieval Banquet, several of the delegates dressed in medieval costume. This whole weekend was excellent, well attended, well organised and created great friends with the many foreign visitors. Next was the Northern Show at a new venue after 40 years at Sale Town Hall, an excellent show with a very good attendance. The next weekend and up to Scotland for a superb day in Pittencrieff Park, the hall was superb for the event which was crowded to say the least. The Federation of Scottish Fuchsia Societies also held their Inter Society Shield Competition at the event, which was pleasing, they were once again supporting the BFS, following a rift some years earlier, not, of their making, may I add. A great event well attended and well organised. For the next 3 weeks, the BFS held their normal competitive regional shows with the next festival, in conjunction with the Eastern Counties Show on the 22nd/23rd August. Unfortunately, this was the only festival I missed, through having to be in Harlow Carr for the Northern Societies Festival layout and set up. From all accounts, a great event was organised at Felixstowe, with large triphyllas grown in saucers and a Bayeux type tapestry depicting the History of the fuchsia, along with their regional show. Once again, they had a good attendance. On to Harlow Carr, which had been the idea of Eric Johns some 5 years earlier, Eric lived within walking distance and set up the first meeting with the Harlow Carr management. Unfortunately, Eric passed away in 1995 leaving the Northern Counties with a super venue for their event. I arrived at Harlow Carr with my caravan, wife Ann and Nick our grandson on the 22nd August, to be available to the societies and Harlow Carr staff when the plants started to arrive. A professional video was to be taken of the whole set up and Festival. In our wildest dreams, none of us thought the event would be as good as it turned out to be. A steady procession of plants started on the Monday with a couple of lorries, leading up to the Friday, we were ready for the Festival to be opened by Geoffrey Smith, broadcaster and one time curator at Harlow Carr; The main speakers in the Lecture Marquee were Professor Paul Berry USA and Ted Sweetman of New Zealand with a full supporting cast of speakers and panels. The main marquee housed nurseries, crafts and lore stands, over in the library was a collection of over 100 Botanical paintings of fuchsias: in the foyer was the History of the BFS in pictures. Lots of fuchsias were planted in the grounds of the gardens. Some of the facts:- 24 Societies with displays, 6 more supplied plants: 7 Individual collections: over 20,000 plants; over 900 varieties: attendance 10,000 from more than 25 different countries; 270 attended the Saturday evening B.B.Q: Total gate money, £19,320.00 balance left in the Northern Societies account after all expenses were paid £8,300.00. What a weekend! Hardly any rain until after the Festival closed on the Bank Holiday Monday, and then it came in continuous bucketfuls, until the section in the trees, where many of the displays had been, just had to be closed because of too much rainwater. I am sure Eric kept the rain away until we closed! Following this last festival there were 3 more weekends of Regional Shows finishing on 20th SeptemberWHAT A MAGNIFICENT YEAR WE HAD! 1998 must have been the most successful year in the society’s history. It is extremely unlikely that it will ever be repeated, certainly on such a scale.

The Spring Bulletin had a great Bonsai picture on the cover sent in by Bill Crump. There were more articles from members praising the Festivals of 1998, one from John and Margaret Brookman filled almost four pages! Les Blaber explained the differences between a Species and a Hybrid. David McNally on behalf of the Botanical Artists praised the Harlow Carr event and how whilst doing the paintings they became hooked on the plant. Should anyone want to purchase one of the leftover pictures contact the Editor for details. Nick Dobson subscribed with his observation how some varieties are more susceptible to rust than others are. New for 1999 listed 21 varieties, 10 of which are not to be found in "Find that fuchsia" 14 years on! The 1999 A.G.M was held in Durham and organised by Norman Welton, and it went like clockwork. Membership went up to 5,920. Subscriptions went up to £8.00. The bank balance went down £9,000, mainly due to extra expense in 1998. Being host to Euro-Fuchsia had cost £2,630.00 and Postage had increased by £1,500.00 mainly due to the pages in the publications increasing. One or two members were against the increase in subscriptions, but several spoke in favour and the result of a show of hands was 81 in favour 20 against. The Photographic Group published the results of their first competition. The obituary of Louie Napthen was announced, the fuchsia "Cambridge Louie" was named after her. In the "Stop Press", it was reported that Ted Stiff had died. A new group named "Fuchsia Research International" was formed with a base at Margam Park South Wales; the Victorian glasshouses would be home to probably the largest collection of species fuchsias in the world.

The full report of Ted Stiff’s obituary was published in the Autumn Bulletin 1999. Ted was the founder of the Felixstowe Society. He became a BFS Judge and Committee Member and was well known for his great enthusiasm. A picture of Ted appears in the colour section with Carol looking a full foot taller than Ted. Of course, she is on her box! Stephen Cunliffe reported on the NWFS Festival at Meols Hall, Southport. The event had been well supported and a 140 x 50 foot marquee had been filled. (The NW have staged 22 Festivals starting in 1988, missing only 1998 & 2008 to stage at the BFS Celebrations). Joan Morris submitted an article entitled, "I Wish I had known Alice Eastwood". Joan went on to explain who Alice was and what she did; graduating in 1879 she became a teacher, then in 1892 became the first botanist of the Californian Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, building up a huge herbarium. In 1906, a huge earthquake destroyed the old Academy. In 1911, she made a trip to Europe including England, visiting the British Museum & Kew. On return to the USA, she set up a new herbarium. She assisted in founding the American Fuchsia Society in 1929. A return trip to Europe in 1930 saw her visit my local show at Southport! (9 years before I was born) she collected many fuchsias to take back to the USA. In 1946, she was made a Hon. Vice President of the BFS. At her retirement speech aged 90 she said "I count my age by friends, NOT years - I am rich in friends" (A terrific Lady gifted with skill and energy, Joan kindly lent me the book). Rosie Woolston (wife of Chris) gave a 2 page report of the happenings of this triumphant duo; they were/are both into showing and must be classed as a team. I THINK to be "Best in Show", so often, proves they have something special; sheer dedication is the word that describes their success. The Harrogate Show attracted over 30,000 visitors. An article entitled "The Next Generation of Fuchsia Growers" appeared to be, very self-centred, with "I did this and I did that", however, perhaps, the sentiment was in the right direction. Bonsai had a 2 page "Getting Started" article; I thought Fuchsias are shrubs and Bonsai are trees?

Spring 2000, our President, Joan Morris thanked the Society for 3 extremely happy years in office; her term would finish at the next AGM. There were reports from 5 Special Interest Groups. The Treasurer put a plea forward for an Assistant Treasurer, making a good case when the last Treasurer resigned on the spot and the one before passed away suddenly. The Far South West Show was to be resurrected. The usual list of new introductions took 4.5 pages with 42 being listed! I wonder how many are still around. Joan Morris sent in a Portrait of her Friend Annabelle Stubbs. At the AGM Jim Muil took over as President but not before Joan had presented Ken Pilkington and John Porter with the Medal of Achievement. An article in the Annual, listing all the BFS Vice Presidents since 1938 appeared; in 1938, we had 27 mostly titled; 20 more were added at times, up to 1966 when only 2 were listed. A plea went out for pictures of Sir Ralph Newman, Lady Rayleigh and Rev. E A Elliot all past Presidents whom the Society has no pictures of. At the 2000 AGM held in Bristol, the members present stood in silence, in memory of Mrs Jean Ewart a Society Past President and wife of the late Ron who had been Society Secretary and Treasurer, also for Don Stilwell who had been a top exhibitor in the 60’s & 70’s. The committee announced a new badge for the new century based on the Diamond Jubilee Badge. It was decided to replace the old Whiteman Medal with 2 new awards; the Medal of Achievement and the Medal of Honour. A report of the Euro Fuchsia Meeting held in Graz, Austria, decided to upgrade the Euro Post (yearly publication of Euro Fuchsia). The Show Subcommittee announced a few rule alterations which had been put up for discussion by members. The Treasurer reported a deficit of £4,800 for the year. However, we were still worth £66,967.

Responding to rumours of the origin of F. procumbens Argenteus an article explained that it was a sport found growing on F. procumbens. This brought an excellent response in the 2000 Autumn Bulletin from Brian Morrison confirming F. procumbens Argenteus was a F. procumbens variant. Brian Dickinson gave a good report of his trip to New Zealand. Bob Gourlay once again gave his usual high-quality account of BFS Scotland; they combined the Scottish Show with the Federation Inter Society Competition to become the Scottish Millennium Display, this attracted 800 visitors in one day! As usual, this Bulletin contained all the Show results. It was announced that the BFS had joined the "Internet Revolution" with their own web site. Celia Smedley and Swingtime tied in first place for our favourite fuchsia survey, Annabel was a close 3rd. A last minute notice, (3 days) from the RHS put the Chelsea team into a panic, "the stand had to be all plants, and on a solid base"! Stands knocked into the ground could not be used. Joan Morris reported on her "Californian Trip". Spring 2001, the Editor brought our attention to yet another article concerning F. procumbens Argenteus! The letter, from a Botanist went on about "Argentea" being an invalid name! Argenteus is also not allowed because it is Latinised. The Euro Fuchsia report mentioned that several national societies came up with good ideas to have a "New cultivar assessment panel" which would restrict the number of cultivars being released to the market. The BFS pointed out that this could NOT be enforced on anyone especially commerce. The idea was dropped. Held in Switzerland, it was a friendly and enjoyable meeting. Piet Grondell took over as Secretary. Bob Gourlay as usual reported from Scotland. Peter Holloway gave membership details of the Lore Club as 172 members and 20 from overseas. Carol, Hilary and Ralph reported on the Sixth Autumn Gathering. Joan Morris gave a portrait of Clement F Schnabel the American hybridiser. Arthur gave an insight into the secrecy behind "Firecracker". Gordon Thorley passed away. He had been a Major winner of trophies since 1961, and was perhaps the grower who started "Pin Cushions" and well known for his points of view at AGM’s.

Jim chipped in with 36 NEW for 2001! The 2001 Treasurers report showed a profit of £1,830. We were worth 68,797. A short article about Muriel Waltz from Joan Morris provided many new facts to me. F. procumbens Argenteus raised another twist; on the advice of a recent letter from a Botanist, the name of F. procumbens Argenteus has been changed to F. procumbens Wirral in full agreement with the locator John Pugh. Then even more on F. procumbens Argenteus this time from a Doctor, explaining the Latin language suggesting the Botanist was wrong. The editor then pointed the readers to page 60; this was a four page article from the RHS explaining plant naming, as they saw it. I think this simple little SPORT or is it a VARIANT or even is it a CULTIVAR? Was of extreme value to the Editor; filling several pages over 18 months and proved that even experts are confused! For me, the plant should have been called F. procumbens Argenteus (as it IS registered) for it was silvery when I first saw it. Any variations; such as the white & green leaves we now see; should have the addition of variegata; simple? An article from America "Breeding Resistance to Fuchsia Gall Mite" was perhaps an early warning to Europe. Gall Mite had not reached Europe at this time. The new archivist explained; "many artefacts had been lost over 60 years," he then asked for "anything fuchsia" to be donated to the BFS rather than be destroyed. The summer shows were all well attended with Jim Muil travelling over 3,500 miles visiting several of them as one of the President's duties.

The 2001 survey listing members different interests in Fuchsias, resulted in Hardies 42%; Doubles 41%; Exhibiting 13%; Bonsai and Encliandra 5%, the article suggested that a repeat of this survey could be repeated in a few years time. The Society gained a Silver Gilt Medal at Chelsea Show. Chris Bright questioned the basket rule after her colleague had been disqualified for having solid backs in her half baskets, when the rule said mesh! Strictly speaking, the 4 Judges were correct but in truth, the exhibitor was not trying to gain an advantage. This rule was changed at the next revision. A report about the Section Quelusia bed at Harlow Carr explained its beginnings, and it was accompanied with excellent pictures, one of which was the Memorial Plaque for Eric Johns, the originator of the idea. Joan Morris continued with her series of American growers with Ted Paskesen being the subject. Pat Rogers passed on her tips with reference to Nellie Nuttall. Ron Ayers, who had submitted many articles on photography passed away. Ray Pratt came out in support of Chris Bright questioning the basket rule. However, he went off the subject and appeared a bit muddled. 27 New fuchsias in this bulletin! It was pleasant to see there were no obituaries. Derek Luther once again organised the national quiz. Ken Robb chipped in on the show rules from a more sensible angle and after yet another letter; this time from P Metcalf, Ken Pilkington goes through the show rules explaining WHY they are there. It does appear that those complaining were not fully aware of the rules at the time. Advertisements covered 17 pages. The colouring competition for under 16’s attracted about 500 entries. Jay Siegel USA made suggestions on the control of Rust. Derek Luther followed this up with an in-depth history of rust. Bob Chapman passed away, well known in the North West for his sense of humour and great plants, also Eileen Saunders of Wagtails fame passed away. A couple of articles supported the Rule Book, probably prompted by the anti-article in the Annual.

Spring 2003, the web-site manager reported that the cost was £143.32 for 2 years. Ray Skuse said that he was puzzled on the number of different explanations of the first hybrid; most authors however said F. coccinea x F. magellanica. Joan Morris again contributed with her USA hall of fame, this time with Hazard & Hazard who's greatest wish was to raise a fuchsia with red sepals and yellow corolla. 32 new varieties in this bulletin. The North West announced their Festival would be at Rufford Old Hall, a National Trust property. The AGM was held in Barnsley and it WAS a good do. As was becoming the norm the morning being dedicated to the Special Interest Groups the Lore SIG and a talk by Doug Stewart a great radio speaker and Lecturer at Bishop Burton Agricultural College. At the beginning of the AGM, the President asked John Porter to join the team on the stage as the next President. John eagerly joined the stage team and gave a short acceptance speech thanking everyone including the retiring President stating it would be privilege to be the President for the next 3 years, he also slipped in that being a Lancastrian in Yorkshire and keen on cricket "we have a new fast bowler" what a forecast! That bowler was/is Jimmy Anderson! The usual AGM business followed. Within the Euro Fuchsia Report, it was revealed that the FRI would be willing to host the 2004 Euro Fuchsia AGM. It was also revealed that following the BFS lead of asking for pictures with registration the official Registrar, the AFS, decided to ask for pictures with their registrations. Membership dropped by 200, the society spent £46,500 and income was £33,000, however our total assets increased by £860 to £71,000. There was a 3 part motion put to the meeting which basically told the committee to investigate measures needed to put the society on a firmer base and maintain the quality of service to members.

The proposition was carried with none against. In the evening 80 members attended at Barnsley Metrodome for a 3 course meal, music and Dan Matheson and his magical mysteries. The whole day was organised by the Barnsley Society with Beryl Clarke in charge. AGM's had become a weekend social event instead of a Saturday afternoon for 3 or 4 hours. A couple of articles with reference to Globosa possibly cleared up who and what. In the Autumn Bulletin both the President and Editor complained that the summer had been too hot and dry! The Secretary pointed out that the BFS Shows lost a lot of money. Analysing recent laws by the EU regarding chemicals Peter Bunting wrote, "It is illegal for me to take any substance from my kitchen and spray my plants but as this cannot be policed I can carry on as long as I want". Also "I must not tell anyone what I use, but anyone can come and watch me". Obituaries were Lionel Twigg; Sylvia Foster; Lawrence Vickers; Fred Jones and Beryl Clarke who only 6 months earlier had organised the superb Barnsley AGM. All five were "involved" beyond the norm, a sad loss.

Subscriptions increased to £9 in 2004. The BFS received a detailed report from FRI on its research into DNA. This was in return for a grant given to help with this research. The BFS started National Stewards courses. The Northern Show appears to have found a permanent home at Bilsborrow it is the right price and position on the A6 not far from Junction 32 of the M6. A call went out to exhibitors who are showing seedlings to either; give a name, code or number and not just mark them "seedling". This is to assist visitors to identify the plants. A superb advertisement in colour appeared on the centre pages. It was advertising a "Fuchsia Extravaganza" at Margam Park this would also take in the Euro Fuchsia Meeting. Just 26 new varieties this time. A plea from the President NOT to import plants from outside the UK, warning of the fuchsia gall mite and dangers of our plants being infected. Rhona Foster took over the position of Editor. At Euro Fuchsia it was confirmed that the AFS had reversed their decision to ask for pictures with their registration system, the reason being "that they did not know what to do with them"! At the time, the AFS had circa 200 members, less than most of the Euro Fuchsia societies. Tail wagging the dog comes to mind. Worse still, another pest had arrived in France from America, the dreaded fuchsia gall mite. This cannot be pointed at the AFS, but only at us Europeans, we seem to think that new is better? We release circa 25 new varieties each year ourselves so WHY do we need or want, more from the USA. Over the years this desire for new has brought Tobacco White Fly; Rust; Western Flower Thrip; and now Gall Mite, goodness knows what else. The other man's grass is always greener. Wow! What a turn up!

I submitted an article written by Gerard Rosema and translated at my request with regard to "Measuring of the DNA with the help of Flowcytometrie" this was well above my head, I tried reading it over and over, got some idea without fully understanding, at this time the Dutch were certainly leading the world with research into fuchsias. Mark Jeffcoate, praised the BFS training day for stewards held in Llanelli, it is a great shame that nobody has come forward to resurrect the South Wales Show! A useful list of the RHS Bursaries available to "students" once again was printed. A caretaker scheme for affiliated societies that can no longer carry on was outlined; the BFS would hold any funds for 5 years in case the affiliated society wanted to restart. Chris Bright pleaded that the BFS keep plants in the multi pot classes distinctly different. Joan Morris supplied an article about Victor Reiter Senior and Junior who between them introduced 90 new varieties in their time perhaps the best known would be Cascade, Red Spider, Mantilla and Flying Cloud. Obituaries included 3 hard working fuchsia ladies, Nancy Darnley wife of the BFS Secretary; Brenda White, Secretary and Editor of the Leicestershire Society and Barbara Breary, Secretary of the Bolton and Salford Group. This Autumn Bulletin contained the results of 9 BFS shows and the Photographic Competition.

The President said in his address in the Spring Bulletin 2005 that the Secretary would be standing down at the AGM. He went on to say that, the new secretary would have a hard act to follow and with the committee would need to look into the falling membership. An appeal for a treasurer went out; Brian Dickinson said he would not be seeking re-election in 2006. An excellent Euro Fuchsia meeting was held in Margam Park with FRI as the hosts, the French society reported the first breakout of Gall Mite in Europe. The Eastern Region put out an urgent notice to any members who had booked for their Spring Event to contact Paul Leatherdale due to the passing of Barbara Price-Trasler. The society was in full flow appointing National Stewards, 43 new ones had completed the course. Ric Reilly wrote a sensible article about attracting the public to our shows. Dan Matheson gave his first report as rep for Scotland North; the piece that stood out for me was the visit of the German Fuchsia Society. This trip was organised by Hilda & Reinhold Leuthardt who for many years organised trips or visited the UK, I even had the coach-load call at my home. In Dan's report, what struck me was "they had a civic reception" that is 49 German's and 4 from the Inverness Society. Nowhere in England would a trip like this receive a Civic Reception with Dinner etc. Ken Richardson put in his area report, saying that local societies are having their ups and downs. Last year the heat was a problem this year the rain. In fact, all the regional reports were pessimistic. However, there were 630 colourings from the children. More obituaries Ruth Witts and already mentioned Barbara Price-Trasler.

Geoff Oke became Secretary at the March 2005 AGM held in Carlisle. A recipe for fuchsia Wine needed 3-4lb of ripe fuchsia berries! Norman Welton passed away as did Stanley Wilson an ex-President of the BFS. Another letter, in what appears to have been, a steady stream in favour of Bonsai, this one asked for a beginner's class. Scotland had its first stewards course. Dr E O Essig was the next subject in the Joan Morris series. The next BFS AGM will be in Cornwall and the next North West Festival will be in Wales. Bill Sherman wrote a 3 page article on "Understanding Moisture". A translation of a Dutch article on propagation gave great detail. The BFS put on a stand at the Harrogate Spring Show. Autumn Bulletin 2005 contained as usual all the Show results. Leicestershire Fuchsia Society celebrated its 40th year. Bob Gourlay thanked the Society for his Award of Merit. Derek Luther once again supplied the Questions for the National Quiz. Still more written thoughts about Bonsai. A list of miniature Fuchsias appeared in the Autumn Bulletin.

Notice of the AGM came with the Spring 2006 Bulletin the venue Fowey, Cornwall, the society had never been so far South, a 680 mile round trip for me. It was to be over a weekend, complete with a dinner, lecture&rsqo;s and trips. Great. Jim surveyed 24 new fuchsias for 2006; few if any made the grade. I wonder what happens to them? Ric Reilly produced an article that should be read and re-read especially by committee (not in criticism) but possibly as almost a directive on the way forward. So many of us are working so hard but members are dropping off. Peter Evans wrote about the successful North West Festival, over 1,000 paying visitors, adding, "Let's take the BFS to the people, don't expect them to come to us" How right he was. Peter Stott wrote about the difficulties of growing his Triphylla collection in Spain. The new President, Barry Nash was installed at the AGM at Fowey, an event that went so well, Rhona and her team deserve applause and a big thank you. Membership was still falling, and we now had 3,500 members. However, a £2,460 profit on the year meant the Society was worth £83,482. Secretary Geoff pointed out his over-subscribed schedule, more or less one commitment following another within hours. I well know the feeling and sympathise. Several changes were made to the BFS Constitution. A short break to the winner of a quiz was on offer at Sterling, the venue for the AGM 2008. It was sad to read of the passing of Harry Leytham aged 90 a past President of the BFS and the first from the North West. An unnamed fuchsia was offered in aid of Acorns Children's Hospice, it was donated by Gordon Reynolds, the winner named it "Jennifer Ann Porter". Tony and Olive Shale sang the praises of the New Zealand Fuchsia Society for looking after them on a recent holiday. A good picture of Bert Brown and his Sister Margaret Slater appeared on the middle page of the Autumn Bulletin.

Spring 2007 the Editor is hoping for lots of letters suggesting cures for the decline in membership. An article by Stanley Wilson about Charles Plumier which he had written for the AFS was reprinted. Chris Woolston gave all his secrets to the Autumn Gathering. The North West area manned the BFS stand at Southport Flower Show this has been a regular event for over 50 years. Of the 16 colour pictures on the middle pages, I only know "Lynne Patricia" by Alan Swaby. Salli Dahl wrote two pages about the fuchsia gall mite. There were 16 registrations using the BFS system. The Annual reported on the AGM held at Wigan with Ian Strawson being the co-ordinator of a very successful event. Uncle Joe's Mint Balls were circulating the meeting. The cry went out for a new treasurer. An article describing methods of grafting translated from the Dutch Magazine "Fuchsiana". Someone; maybe the Editor? Compared membership numbers every 10 years of the Society; i.e. 1967/4363; 1977/4002; 1987/5800; 1997/5525; 2007/3290. Euro Fuchsia AGM was in Dublin. Oh dear! fuchsia Gall Mite arrived in England in September 2007. Les Smith chipped in with what is becoming a regular and light hearted contribution.

The year 2008 was the 70th Anniversary of the BFS, celebrations were planned; the AGM was to be up in the North at Stirling, Scotland. The London Show a "Wisely Fest" and Harrogate would be supported with Displays by Affiliated Societies. 15 new seedlings were registered. Chris Bright wrote that, she enjoyed the articles from Les Smith and that she had a smile on her face all the time she was reading them She also had a smile on her face when she won the free trip to Stirling and the AGM.

A reprint of an article, first published in 1938, and written by C W J Unwin of Unwin's Seeds’, said, "The fuchsia is a subtly charming flower". C W J Unwin went on to be BFS President in 1961. Another reprint, this time by C Harry Leytham; this was from 1973 when he was Secretary/Treasurer, it covered his hectic time visiting shows etc., during 30 days. Harry also became President in 1979. The AGM was a cracker! Firstly a Civic welcome on Friday evening, An extremely interesting talk by the Director of Glasgow Botanical Gardens, or the Lore meeting which included a talk on Glass Design on the Saturday morning. Lunch and a pipe band. Then, the AGM in the afternoon which went smoothly. Carol Gubler took over as President, which was well and truly earned with all her involvement and work for the BFS., over many years. Saturday Night was the dooooh! And what a dooooh! Good food and great camaraderie. Many members were worried that the Society was still losing members at a rate of approx., 300 a year. Nurseries were also closing down (3 in 12 months) which also caused concern. This was highlighted in the species group report which pointed out that with the loss of nurseries there would eventually be a loss of some varieties. The Autumn Bulletin reported on two great events of the Summer, "Wisley Fest" and Harrogate. The Affiliated Societies came out in force in support. Firstly, at Wisley, the show schedule was a little smaller but the quality was superb, especially the half baskets and a Fan of Lillian Annetts; the 21 displays were excellent; looking down on the whole Fest was a 12 foot high tower of fuchsias. Harrogate Show in September gave the BFS extra space for the 70th celebrations. This was the Best ever show at Harrogate; 58 exhibitors; 42 plants in the triphylla class, 16 displays including a 12 foot Thalia tower, 32,000 visitors added to the 24,000 at Wisley, the BFS and its Affiliated Societies put on a "Shop Window" for 66,000 members of the public. On top of these 2 great events, there were 6 Regional BFS Shows. Will all that effort bring in more members?

Membership at the 2009 AGM was 2,698, I could not find the numbers for 2008 but 2007 was 3,290, so we lost the usual 300 a year. Why? It really goes to show that, in spite of the efforts of the committee or the society, the trend is for the public of the UK and of Europe not to get involved with societies. It is a fact that our affiliated societies and every national horticultural society, perhaps with the exception of vegetable societies, are also suffering this downturn. This is not just a modern phenomenon; it did happen with Fuchsias from 1890 to 1948 when the interest began to take off again. Enormous progress has been made since then, and I think we need to preserve what we have NOW, archive it in the shape of living varieties, and files on computer, bearing in mind that it MAY need updating as filing systems change. The society spent £4,294 more than normal income, however, a bequest from Barbara Price-Trasler and a donation from the North of England Group (Harlow Carr event) meant we increased the balance by £1,399. The bequest had certain restrictions placed on it and was put into the reserved fund. Gift Aid from HM Customs brought in £1,300 with a further claim of £2,300 still to be paid. European registrations were 23 which added to the British registrations made a total of 38 last year. The centre pages of the Autumn 2009 Bulletin were taken up with a colour leaflet dedicated to Fuchsia Gall Mite. The pest had by this time spread across the south of England.

Carol warned of the "black cloud on the horizon" (gall mite) in her 2010, President’s Spring report and followed it up with an article keeping members up to date. Les Smith again chipped in with 3 pages of his humour. This was the last Bulletin by Rhona Foster and Ann Allen took over at the AGM. At the AGM Arthur the acting Treasurer apologised for not getting the accounts to the auditors until February, however, they have now been audited for consideration. He then proposed that the subscription should increase to £12.50. Page 3 of the Annual contained an advertisement for a new Secretary and a new Treasurer; the same advert also appeared on page 37. Jim Muil filled five pages with the life story of James Lye. Les Smith kept the smile on Chris Bright face with his usual three pages. The Autumn Bulletin once again contained the show results. The Pilkington’s and Porter’s won Best in Show at Holker Hall. Rhona Foster wondered why nobody had replied to a letter from a member with regard to judging. A story about Mrs Popple (the lady) made interesting reading.

A short announcement in the Spring 2011 Bulletin of the passing of Margaret Pilkington shocked all who knew her. A full obituary would appear in the next publication. A list of Honorary Life members included at least 3 members who had passed away. Subscriptions went up to £12. Gift Aid would continue and would bring in £3.60 for each subscription that is Gift Aided. The Society were still looking for BFS reps for South Wales and the Borders regions. Committee meetings would be held at the NFU offices in Stratford-on-Avon. Carol faithfully supplied us with the Top 10 show varieties, a task she has done since the early 90’s. Membership was down to 2,360 of which 1,300 claimed their free cuttings. Les Smith filled four pages again; he must be an Editor’s dream. The Annual had a Tribute to Margaret Pilkington and also Peter Darnley who was Secretary 1997-2004. The AGM had been held in Broughton Ashley Leicestershire and a good one it was. It appeared to be an ALL CHANGE; Geoff Oke stood down and Paul Munro became Secretary; David Brown became Treasurer; Rick Stevens Assistant Treasurer; Geoff Oke became Show Administrator and Ric Reilly stood down as web master. Bertha Gadsby passed away, she had been widowed for 35 years after the death of Cliff in 1978 whilst serving as Editor. Bertha worked tirelessly for the BFS selling pottery, her aim was to get enough money to have colour pages in the Annual. She did succeed in colour pictures being inserted loose. The Porter’s won a Large Gold and Best in Show with the BFS Stand at Holker Hall.

It was announced in the 2012 Spring Bulletin that the BFS would hold an International Fuchsia Convention to celebrate the 75th Birthday of the BFS. Many of the articles were repeats from earlier publications or the Fuchsia News. A long list of "Great British Gardens" to visit, was taken from a website, it took 2.5 pages! As it was not about fuchsia gardens perhaps, just the web address would have sufficed. This was a poor bulletin, maybe because there were not enough contributions from members. The AGM would be in Bristol. Living in the South West it was appropriate that Peter Holloway would become President at Bristol. Again, this bulletin had over six pages of repeats from Fuchsia News and there were large pieces of blank on 10 pages. The Autumn Bulletin was a shocker for Obituaries, Ken Pilkington a superb fuchsia man; George Bartlett a Past BFS President and Editor; Hilary Burlinson a tireless worker and administrator; Bob Gourlay instrumental in forming the BFS Scotland as well as Secretary/Treasurer of Fife Society. Rae Bliss was a tireless worker for Beds and Herts Society. Members of this quality are hard to find and to lose so many in one swoop leaves huge gaps. Membership was down again to 1,603 and subs would go up to £14 in 2013. After a few gap years the BFS had a stand at the RHS Tatton Park Show, last time we entered the RHS sign-writer spelled fuchsia wrongly, guess what! 10 years later, he still got it wrong; the team won a Silver medal. Carol Richards watched the Olympic Torch come in at Lands End. Derek Luther said that to his knowledge all outbreaks of Gall Mite have occurred on a line below Bristol and Southend. Dan Matheson asked for those who had booked meals for the AGM in Inverness to forward payment to him. A loose-insert informed members that the free cuttings scheme is suspended for 2013 due to fuchsia gall mite and its spread. This would be the first time since 1938 that the distribution scheme would not take place, gall mite cannot be worse than World War Two! Can it? Les Smith changed the format of his articles to a diary form but I will bet Chris still had a big smile.

Spring 2013, final details of the Inverness 75th AGM are on page 5. At this point, it is obvious that so much effort has been put in it is sure to be a great weekend. Page 9 more obituaries, Alan Swaby, best known as a hybridiser with Lynne Patricia perhaps being his best: Dave Green a keen species collector. The committee report was about saving money; no prize money at shows; no cuttings for entries in the children's paint competition; resting 2 shows that lose a lot of money; advertising rates increase, we appear to be struggling to make ends meet. The Secretary thanked all those who exhibit on behalf of the society at shows like Malvern, Holker, Harrogate (twice) and Southport. I notice that with the exception of Malvern, these shows are in the North and Malvern is West Midlands. Where are the Southern shows? There must be many that we can get involved in, Reading have a show I know, what about Poole; Southampton; Swindon; Norwich; Lincoln; Kent; Devon; Northampton etc. There must be shows in these areas we could attend in the search for members. I know some of our affiliated societies stand these shows looking for members but perhaps we could do a deal with them if they join the BFS. Sadly, Ann is standing down as Editor. The show sub-committee have a good look at the shows and their viability, concluding that in 2014 it may be better to revert to 3 shows a year. Les once again sent in a great article but this time more scientific; however, the reproduction of the pictures he sent in was abysmal to say the least. I smiled at the sign off, of the Scotland Far North Rep and quote; Dan Matheson. Area Representative. North of Scotland. Does that mean further North? I wonder what they do with the Polar Bears! They must be a pest. The Great Yorkshire Show was a washout after the first day as were many shows this year. The programme for the Convention at Stratford-on-Avon is published and looks interesting.

The AGM at Inverness. 716 miles round trip for me, even more for a lot of members, some flew in (by plane). What a weekend, Friday evening, a Civic Reception at the Town House with a 3 Course Dinner with wine. Saturday morning the Lore Club or a talk about the dolphins in the area by Charles Phillips. A donation of a huge Patchwork Quilt from America was raffled on the day. A montage of pictures from our Bulletins since 1938 was on view for the first time and created interest. After lunch, it was the AGM, 114 members attended. A vote of no confidence in the Treasurer was carried. John Nicholass took over as Editor. Saturday Evening was a Dinner Social at the Columba Hotel with goody bags for all and a bottle of whisky in each one. Sunday morning a visit to the Culloden Battle Fields and Museum. It really was a TOP weekend. Everything was superbly organised and planned by Dan and his team, we have had some great AGM’s in recent years this ranked with the best. The Annual 2013 was in a different style of 2 columns per page and it worked well; especially with the advertisements. The Editor wrote to inform the members just how much work Rick Stevens does for the BFS website, however it is now back in the hands of our original hosts, with full access by the BFS when necessary. It was nice to see Ann Allen submit a 2-page article knowing, better than anyone, just how difficult it is to fill pages, especially with the maiden publication. We are now only a few weeks from the International Fuchsia Convention to celebrate the 75th Birthday of the BFS at Stratford-on-Avon, so I had better send this to the President.

This article first appeared in the 75th BFS Anniversary Souvenir Brochure and is reproduced with kind permission of John V. Porter

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