This section is from the book "The Florist And Garden Miscellany". Also see: All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!.
This Society held its first meeting this season on the 16th ult. in its garden, Inner Circle, Regent's Park. The day was ushered in by rain; but as it advanced, it cleared up, and the afternoon was fine. Never, perhaps, did any society present to an admiring public a better exhibition than this did on the present occasion. Four large tents were full of plants, such as English gardens alone could produce. The effect collectively was admirable, and each plant was in itself a perfect specimen of skill. To describe all critically would be an endless task, even were it possible amid a crowd of visitors, each anxious to get a look; but if our readers will be kind enough to accompany us, we will take a cursory glance at the whole.
Entering the garden on the side next the Colosseum, we find ourselves at once in a long tent, one side of which is occupied with Pelargoniums, and the other with Orchids, the extreme end terminating in Azaleas. The Pelargoniums, as a whole, were magnificent; the principal collections being contributed by Mr. Parker, Mr. Beck, Mr. Staines, Mr. Cock, and Mr. Gaines: and as to the Orchids, they were produced in their usual abundance and splendour. The principal competition lay between Mr. Rucker and Mr. Warner; the former, on this occasion, gaining the first prize. Perhaps the most striking object of this portion of the exhibition was, a beautifully managed plant of Camarotis purpurea, forming a pyramid of purple flowers five feet high. New Orchids were few; but we did observe a pretty Odontoglossum, with a tall upright spike of handsome green and brown blossoms, the lips of which were purple and tipped with white.
The tent next this and parallel with it was filled with stove and greenhouse plants, effectively arranged in four groups, a circular stage of Azaleas and Cacti being in the middle. This tasteful mode of arrangement is pleasing on account of its variety, and served to increase the interest which the plants themselves created. As at Chiswick, the principal competition in this department of the show lay between Mrs. Lawrence, and Mr. Cole gardener to H. Collyer, Esq. of Dartford. We have no room to particularise; but we must not pass unnoticed a fine specimen of Gardenia Fortuni from Mr. Green. It had ten blossoms on it as large as a Camellia, of snowy whiteness, and deliciously sweet.
The other two tents were placed some little distance apart. One contained a splendid exhibition of Cape Heaths and Roses. The latter, indeed, both from Amateurs and Nurserymen, were finer than ever we have before seen them. Madame de St. Joseph was especially remarkable. It was covered with light salmon Roses, so large that one could almost hide one's face in them.
The first object that met us as we entered the fourth and last tent was a very finely flowered Gardenia Stanleyana, from the Dowager Duchess of Northumberland. The long brown and white funnel-shaped flowers of this species are curious; but we cannot say that they are beautiful. Associated with it was Mitraria coccinea, a new plant, and a very pretty one, from Messrs. Veitch. Its flowers are tube-shaped, large, and of a brilliant scarlet. We saw here also, from the same nurserymen, a seedling heath of Mr. Story's raising, called Victoria Regina, a beautiful variety, which we are sure will find a place in every collection. There were also some Pitcher plants; and a straw-coloured Rhododendron from Mr. Gaines. The rest of the tent was composed of Cape Heaths, Ferns, Pelargoniums, Calceolarias, and Cinerarias. The best specimens of the latter came from Mr. Kendall; thus confirming the excellence of his directions given in our monthly calendar of operations, by the success of their practical application.
It would have afforded us much pleasure to have entered more into particulars respecting this fine show; but we find it utterly impossible. As we are not favoured with a pass-ticket for our reporter, which would enable him carefully to go through the whole collection in the interval occupied by the judges, when the tents are clear, we cannot pretend to give more than its general features. There were many seedlings of florists' flowers, but we could not get near them for the company; neither could we examine them without infringing the rule to look and pass on, and a mere passing glance is not enough for us to make a report upon. With an anxious desire to do justice to the raisers, and also to convey information to the public, if the parties whose seedlings received prizes will but forward flowers to our address, marking on the outside the names of the varieties, we will carefully report upon the same, and record them in our Note-book, from which, at the end of the season, we intend to print lists of all the superior novelties we have met with.
We add with pleasure, that several able parties in the provinces are helping us in this service.
The last exhibition for the season took place on the 4th ult. in their garden in Regent's Park.
The day was fine, the company numerous and fashionable, and the show a good one for July. Pelargoniums, which occupied one side of the first tent, were again produced in the most beautiful condition possible. Every plant in itself formed a perfect specimen of floral beauty. "Fancies," among which Anais, Queen, Hero of Surrey, and Defiance, shone conspicuously, were contributed in capital order by Messrs. Gaines and Staines; and Messrs. Ambrose, Robinson, Mosley, and Henderson also had good groups of this now fashionable Pelargonium. The best collection of Pelargoniums proper came from Mr. Dobson, gardener to Mr. Beck, and Mr. Black, gardener to E. Foster, Esq. Capital specimens were also shewn by Messrs. Cock, Gaines, Staines, and Robinson. Mr. Parker of Roehampton had the best sixes.
The other side of this tent was, as usual, filled, or nearly so (for plants were scarcer this time than formerly), with Orchids, whose curious forms, bright and varied colours, always render them objects of universal interest. The principal features of this portion of the exhibition were the large and fine specimens of Aerides odoratum, almost every collection containing one fine plant of this charming genus. With what interest should we have viewed this kind of Orchid, four feet high, and as much through, a few years ago! yet such plants are now far from being uncommon. In large col-lections, Mr. Rucker was first, and Mr. Warner second. Mr. Schroder had the best group of fifteens, and Mr. Dobson, gardener to Mr. Beck, the best sixes.
The next tent was adorned in the usual manner with Heaths, and with collections of stove and greenhouse plants, into the details of which it is unnecessary for us to enter further than to say, that among the various groups there were some magnificent bushes of the showy genus Kalosanthes (Crassula), whose effect at this time of the year is about as showy as that of the Azaleas in spring; and we would advise our readers who possess a greenhouse (they are very easily managed), to obtain a plant or two, which would serve to keep up gaiety in autumn. The genus Aphelexis (Everlastings) too, of which A. purpurea macrantha is the best, is a most useful one for the small grower, for the different species keep in bloom nearly the whole season.
One side, or nearly so, of the third tent was filled with Ferns, whose beautiful green fronds, unlike the green of most plants, had a cheerful appearance, in addition to the fine contrast they made with other things. Then came a row of Fuchsias, which formed a nice background for the various stands of Carnations, Pinks, and Picotees, which had their place assigned them here. In Carnations, Mr. Turner of Slough was first. He had capital blooms of Martin's President, Puxley's Prince Albert, Conquering Hero, Taylor's Lord Byron, Ash-worth's King, and other fine sorts. The best Pinks came from Mr. Norman and Mr. Edwards. The latter gentleman had also the best Picotees. Mr. Costar sent a promising seedling Pink named Juliet, and Mr. Turner a very good bizarre Carnation. Among seedling Pelargoniums Mr. Hoyle had a promising flower named "Scarlet Gem," which we should like to see again. Mr. Gaines produced rather a nice fancy kind named "Madame Rosati." Passing a small collection of Petunias, Cape Pelargoniums, and Calceolarias, we come to new plants, among which we did not see one to please us, or worthy of attention for general purposes.
Good new plants have been very scarce this year.
The fourth and last tent was filled with fruit, tempting to look at, but with which we dare not meddle, and with cut Roses. Of the latter there was a large and beautiful display from Messrs. Lane, Paul, Francis, Terry, and Rowland; and with these we take leave of this Society for a season, wishing it much success in all its undertakings.