This section is from the book "The Florist And Garden Miscellany". Also see: All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!.
Many of our readers, having read the report of these exhibitions at page 213, and made themselves acquainted with the names of the winners, of the flowers exhibited, and the general results, have dismissed the matter from their minds, without sufficiently reflecting upon the objects the promoters had in view, or the trouble and expense entailed upon many of them. It is our duty, therefore, to bid many reflect upon these things, and to query with themselves whether or not they are doing their duty, either to floriculture or its promoters, or to themselves, by merely looking on, and availing themselves of the advantages, without coming forward on these occasions with their assistance in time and purse. It has been an unceasing matter of regret with us to observe the apathy shewn by many who are the most deeply interested parties in every thing which tends to promote an increased taste for floricultural productions. We are unwilling to attribute this to selfishness; we would rather hope it arises from a want of due consideration of all the bearings of the subject.
When we attended personally at Slough, and saw the pains and expense bestowed upon the preparations for the exhibition by Mr. Turner, and his liberal provision for the comfort and refreshment of the exhibitors and visitors, we certainly felt, as Florists, deeply indebted to him; and from the accounts we have received, through our personal acquaintance, and our excellent contemporary the Midland Florist, our Derby friends were not a whit behindhand in their attentions and hospitality.
It was a miserable morning, to be sure, when we started for Slough in our open conveyance, the rain coming down with a straightforward earnestness which led us to anticipate a small company and a poor exhibition; but on our arrival, all fears of that kind were dissipated, - for they were good men and true that had gathered thus early; and the day, as it wore on, increased their numbers, until fine weather was the only thing to be desired. A. more kindly spirit could not possibly have prevailed; and we have heard as much said of the one held at Derby. This is doing things as they should be.
Our readers are aware that these meetings were proposed because of the difference of taste said to exist between northern and southern Florists; and to test the fact, whether such assumed difference was a reality. This, then, was the first point to be decided; and entering the tent as an observer merely, we felt no little interest in its elucidation. It was speedily apparent to us that this difference was purely imaginary, that it existed neither in the productions nor in the producers; and henceforth we entreat all Florists to believe that the same rules are received in the south as in the north, and that in every cultivated mind the same taste obtains. We are justified in saying as much, because there never were such gatherings either of raisers or of Carnations and Pico-tees before; and we query the justice of our reporter's assertion, that the "southern-raised flowers gained the day" in both classes. We think our northern friends have every reason to be well satisfied with the result of these amicable contests.
In conclusion, we direct attention to the proposed Tulip-exhibition for 1851, on which subject an address from Mr. Dodwell, the indefatigable secretary of the Midland Horticultural Society, Derby, will be found stitched in our present Number. Let not the burden of such gatherings fall upon a few devoted Florists. This should not be. The cause is a general one; nor can we accept the poor excuse, so commonly made, of " the pressure of other engagements." There is not a person who has lent assistance to such work who is not in a position to say the same, and very often with far more reason. Does the professional Florist lose the time given to the promotion of such exhibitions? Does the professional Florist lose his donation to an All-England floral demonstration? Certainly not. If there be any loss to make up at any time, we know that amateurs pay the greatest share.
Concerning the flowers represented by our Plate, we shall have something to say next month. In the meantime we may add, that they will prove an acquisition to every collection.