This section is from the book "The Florist And Garden Miscellany". Also see: All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!.
The former was held on the 8th of May, the latter on the 18th; and considering that the greater portion of the collections present at the one were exhibited at the other meeting, it seems the better plan to give our readers a seneral rather than a detailed account of both. Previous to the Botanic Society's exhibition, the weather had been most unpromising; sour east winds and rain had prevailed for some time, chilling the atmosphere and saturating the ground. The itself was most ungenial - a murky atmosphere and steady soaking wet; yet H. R. H. Prince Albert found his way there on horseback, and also several hundreds of those determined lovers of flowers and plants who are deterred by nothing. Before the season is over, we hope to be able to give a detailed sketch of the Botanic Society's garden and its arrangements; but for the present we must content ourselves with the exhibition alone.
The alterations' at the Horticultural Society's gardens since last year consist in the elevation of the ground on which the tents are placed, so as to keep them dry in wet weather; a better arrangement of the tents themselves; the formation of ekvated dry gravel-walks, an additional entrance, and more accommodation for the exhibitors' vans, etc,; all of which seem to have met with universal approbation.
The morning of the Chiswick fete broke misty and uncomfortable; but as the day advanced, the weather brightened, and was really cheerful for some time: but dark threatening clouds and a sligk falling glass, with a chilly atmosphere, made it, upon the whole, uninviting. Still there were nearly 4000 of the Fellows and their friends present; many, no doubt, attracted by the promised exhibition of the Victoria Regia, which formed the lion of the day, and which was produced in very line condition: one leaf and one flower by Mr. Ivison, gardener to the Duchess Dowager of Northumberland; another flower and two leaves by Mr. Puxton. gardener to the Duke of Devonshire. One of the latter was displayed in a reverse position, so as to exhibit the very curious and beautiful formation of its under surface. The flowers were placed under bell-glasses, and continued expanding during the hours of exhibition; the leaves were placed, one in water, the others on wet moss, and, spite of the low tempe: tore, maintained their condition to the end.
Before we give a little detail of the principal objects exhibited, we may observe that, in our estimation, both these exhibitions speak volumes in praise of British gardening. Considering the weather that had so long prevailed, the productions were marvellously fine; and our only cause for regret arises from the absence of visitors, and the consequent loss sustained by the Botanic Society in particular. From the close manner in which the exhibitors tread on each other's heels is evidenced the spirit of emulation that these meetings awaken, and the taste for high cultivation fostered by them in both employers and gardeners.
On account of the cold and backward weather above alluded to, many of the specimens exhibited at Regent's Park were hardly forward enough, particularly the stove and greenhouse plants, of which a large number was furnished. These were tastefully arranged in a tent by themselves, on earthen terraces faced with turf; a novel and interesting mode of exhibiting such plants, especially when placed close together. Among the various collections, we observed beautiful specimens of Pimelea spectabilis; Oxylobium Pultensese, a pretty yellow-flowered plant; Boronia pinnata; Chorozema Lawrenceanum, a very graceful species; Hovea Celsi, and many others. Various Everlastings were shewn; and really they are very pretty things, and not so much cultivated as they should be. The best of them is Aphe-lexis purpurea grandiflora. Of Eriostemons decidedly the best is intermedium. Gompholobium polymorphum is a charming plant, either on a trellis or grown in the form of a bush: the latter is perhaps the most natural way of managing it. Adenandra speciosa, well flowered, is tolerably attractive.
And we noticed some nice examples of the brilliant Epacris miniata; as well as many other stove and greenhouse favourites.
Orchids were not numerous at "the Park;" but a few remarkable plants were exhibited. Foremost among these was a large and fine Dendrobium camdescens, from Messrs. Lucombe and Pince of Exeter; and an equally fine plant of D. nobile was furnished in the collection sent from Worton Cottage by Mr. Dobson. C. B. Warner, Esq. sent twenty-five plants; and there were groups of fifteen from J. H. Schroder, Esq. and Mrs. Lawrence. Sixes were shewn from Worton Cottage and from Mr. Ker of Cheshunt. There was little new, except it was the Bornean Cypripedium Lowei.
At Chiswick, the Orchids formed, as they always do, one of the chief features of the exhibition. Excellent collections were contributed by Mr. Rucker, Mr. Warner, Mr. Blandy, Mrs. Lawrence, Messrs. Veitch and Rollisson, Mr. Dobson, Mr. Farmer, and Mr. Schroder. Among these were some admirable specimens. We noticed a Saccolabium prsemorsum, quite a fountain of flowers; some fine Aerides, many species of Dendrobes, the chaste Phaleenopsis, a fine Acineta Humboldtii, Cattleyas intermedia and Mossia?, and many other charming members of this delightful family of plants.
Azaleas made a grand display both at Chiswick and "the Park." We saw at both places magnificent specimens of Gledstanesi; late-ritia; optima, one of the best reds; refulgens; Bianca, one of the best whites; exquisita, and others.
Roses in pots were really splendid: those at the Botanic were superior in condition to those at Chiswick; some specimens which we could have selected from the nurserymen's exhibition in particular, were such as have never been seen before: they seemed to excite universal admiration; and well they might do so, for where beauty and odour are combined, as in the Rose, there is little left to desire. They are, perhaps, the most uncertain objects of exhibition, from their transitory character; and were it not for their freedom of bloom, their cultivation in pots must fail. We have sometimes, at the close of the exhibition day, been scarcely able to recognise some of the beauties of the morning. This should point out to seedling-raisers the desirableness of trying to produce flowers combining, in addition to the qualities of the present varieties, more endurance of expansion and colour. The private growers' collections were also deserving of much praise. Our acquaintances, Madame de St. Joseph (a first-rate Tea Rose), Chenedole, Baronne Prevost, Duchess of Sutherland, Geant des Batailles, Mrs. Elliott, Bouquet de Flore, La Reine, General Allard, etc. met us in every collection.
The yellows consisted of Queen Victoria, Smith's Yellow, Vicomtesse de Cazes, Pauline Plantier, Persian Yellow, Harrison's Yellow, a Pactole, and Salfaterre. .
Old and favourite Cape Heaths were numerous at both exhibitions, and some promising seedlings were shewn, which we hope to see again.
Among new plants a few fine things were exhibited at both shows. Messrs. Veitch had a charming white jasmine-flowered Rhododendron, which, we fear, is too beautiful to be hardy; a new transparent Dendrobe in the way of Nobile; another Orchid called Bolbophyllum Lobii, a white-flowered Stylidium, and a plant of their Fuchsia spectabilis, in which we must confess we were somewhat disappointed; but we hope to see it yet in better condition. Mr. Stanly, gardener to H. Berens, Esq., sent a new Hovea, like Celsi, but having large and fine foliage, and Pimelea Verschaffeltii, a handsome white kind. Messrs. Standish and Noble produced Viburnum plicatum, covered with large balls of white blossoms; and a nice round orange-flowered agreeably-scented Wallflower was shewn by Mr. Stark of Hope Street, Edinburgh, which promises to become a favourite.
Pelargoniums were brought out well at both exhibitions, better by amateurs than by nurserymen; that is, Mr. Cock's plants were such as were never seen before, though the flowers in Mr. Dobson's collection were as numerous and as fine in size and colour. We wish some one had brought a small plant with a single truss upon it, to have matched against the flowers of either collection; it would have proved what we have often observed, that as fine flowers may be produced upon the largest specimens as on small ones. The opinion that more distinction in colours is required, we have often advanced, and must again repeat, and urge the same upon the raisers of seedlings of all kinds of Florists' flowers.
Among the varieties exhibited were, Hope, Gulielma, Salamander, Pictum, Mont Blanc, Mars, Bertha, Orion, Rosamond, Pearl, Forgetme-not, Gustavus, Camilla, Negress, Armada, Isabella, Hebe's Lip, Rosetta, Miss Holford, Cassandra, Rolla, Centurion, Virgin Queen, Phyllis, Painted Lady, Norah, Minna, Cuyp, Agatha, Mulready, Rosalind, Chloe, Pontiff, Blanche, Grenadier, Mrs. Beck, Juliana, Adonis, Rosy Circle, Resplendent, Zanzummim, Cotherstone, Gazelle, Emma, and Ackbar.
Fancies consisted of, Empress, Fairy Queen, Jehu superbum, Anais, Queen, Madame Meillez, Nosegay, Statuiski, Lady Rivers, Yeatmannianum grandiflorum, Lady Flora, Nymph, La Belle afri-cana, Madame Rosati, Jenny Lind, and Ibrahim Pasha.
Among Cape Pelargoniums were, elegans, abrotanifolium, glaucum, holosericeum, reniforme, crispum major, ardens, bicolor, flexuosum, Blandfordianum, elatum, and quinquevulnerum.
Seedlings at both exhibitions were numerous, but they were so scattered about, it was difficult to get at them. At Chiswick, the tent for their accommodation was forgotten, and consequently they stood about upon the ground and elsewhere.
Seedling Pelargoniums were exhibited by Mr. Hoyle and Mr. Beck; the latter was awarded at the Botanic a silver medal for a two-year-old variety named Rosa, a fine flower, free bloomer, and very constant, and of excellent habit. The same raiser had a plant of Incomparable, Diana, Little but Good, and Major Domo; all of which were exhibited last year. Mr. Hoyle exhibited many seedlings, among them some very high-coloured varieties. At Chiswick, a variety of this gentleman's named Ocellatum, attracted much attention from the novelty of its markings on the under petal, each having a very distinct dark spot upon a pale rose-coloured ground. Mr. Rendle sent Beauty of Montpellier, large rose, with a crimson spot in the top petal and a white throat. Of Cinerarias we are preparing a list of the best we have seen during the season, and we shall do the same with Fuchsias and other flowers; for, having no ticket of admission at a suitable time for their close examination at either Society, we do not feel justified in speaking of things we cannot handle.
We noticed at Chiswick a large Rhododendron formosum, a species with white flowers stained with yellow on the upper petal, and exceedingly sweet-scented; but we fear it is tender: it is very different from R. Gibsoni, shewn at Regent's Park by Mr. Lane. Also a charming plant of Mr. Fortune's Gardenia, covered with large blossoms of the purest white.