This section is from the book "The Gardener V1", by William Thomson. Also available from Amazon: The New Organic Grower: A Master's Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener.
Whilst the memory of the Autumn Show of the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society is still green, it may not be amiss to note a few thoughts which were given birth to whilst inspecting the Exhibition both closely and as a whole from the gallery encircling the Waverley Market. Of primary importance as to the general aspect of the exhibition, were the groups of plants arranged on the floor of the building by the Lawson Seed and Nursery Company, and which certainly constituted the most striking feature in the Exhibition. It is scarcely too much to expect that the other trade firms will at future shows boldly follow and improve on the innovation so successfully initiated by the above-named firm. Following that, it may be hoped that the Staging Committee may see their way to group all plants on the floor, relegating the ugly tables now in use to some auction mart, where a better use may be found for them by some of the buyers. Then there are the vegetables. Could not there be a mode of setting up these brought into use at the shows, somewhat more in keeping with the dignity of the Society? Instead of huddling the several kinds in the collections together into a flit tray-box, would it not be more in keeping with the fruit-tables to stage the vegetables in the same manner.
The difference in the get-up of a collection of vegetables, where the different sorts are set up singly in dishes and arranged to the best advantage, is as different, perhaps more so, as would be the tout ensemble of a first-class collection of fruit huddled closely together in a tray in the one case and in the other as at present staged. And so also with the classes for particular kinds of vegetables: neatly set up on dishes, the interest in these would be greatly increased. It would also be an advantage were the Council to state in the schedule the number of each particular vegetable required when staged in a collection - as, for instance, two Cauliflowers or four, a brace of Cucumbers or two brace, and so on with other kinds. Whilst writing on these matters, might I be allowed to draw attention to a vegetable greatly slighted by the Society in question? Why is the noble Tuber left out in the cold? Well-grown Potatoes, when shown in collections, say of twelve to twenty-four sorts, form a feature not only of interest but of beauty to a horticultural exhibition.
Let us hope that the Council will overlook our humble friend no longer, and that if they do introduce the Potato in its finest form to the notice of the Edinburgh public, there will be a clause to the effect that they be staged, not on rough boards, but with each kind separately set up on dishes.
As the journal you, Mr Editor, conduct, is the best medium by which to approach this subject, it is hoped you will give your editorial adhesion to these remarks.
A Member of the R. C. H. S.