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.
On the 21st May the members of the above Society held their annual festival at the pretty rural village of Stapleford, a few miles from Nottingham. The members mustered in strong force, as usual, but the blooms were not in such full numbers as we have been accustomed to see them staged, and consequently the stands were not so closely contested as in previous years. This was owing entirely to the ungenial month of May, throughout the whole of which the plants and buds had to struggle on against cold north-east winds and rains, varied very frequently with violent and pelting storms of hail of no small dimensions, when woe to those devoted beds without protection! "We heard of instances where plants, buds, and blooms in various stages were left a total wreck. And even with the tenderest care and most unremitting attention, the progress of the buds was so slow that numbers very promising in appearance, notwithstanding all that tenderness could devise, were not to be coaxed into fully-developed blooms for the day of trial, and had in consequence to be left at home, with the prospect and hope, weather permitting, of being in time for the "National," to be held a few days later in the month; others, mere buds, were cut from sheer necessity, the growers having nothing better to take their places.
On the whole, the show proved a good one, and very interesting; but the judges had no alternative but to place stands, not so correctly supplied with feathers and flames, in correct proportions, as the schedule set forth. However, the exhibitors did their best, but certainly feathered blooms were but few in number, and those not of first-class qualities; and that was a very favoured stand, indeed, that could boast the required number. On the contrary, flames abounded, and some remarkable specimens were to be seen in the stands, amongst which those chosen for premiers might receive honourable mention.
"We found beds generally had lost this year their proportion of feathers, these having run into flames, and again flames into selfs in a number of instances. This, doubtless, was owing to the excessive wet winter we had passed through. Hogg in his Supplement, published about 1836, makes an observation that winters with heavy snowfalls were sure to bring a superabundance of colouring matter into the Tulip the following season. Now it is questionable whether a fine Tulip, after exhibiting so great a profusion of colour, can ever be brought again to its original fine qualities, so as to bear its exact proportions as in previous years, leaving growers at a loss for varieties for years to come to make up their stands with.
Mr Haynes of Derby undertook the duties of judge, assisted by three or four of the leading growers, and their decisions were received with satisfaction by the exhibitors generally. The seedlings of Mr Storer formed quite a feature of the exhibition. They are deservedly held on the highest esteem for exhibitional purposes, as well as for their attractions on the bed. Several were in the room, as will be seen by running the eye along the stands; the character of the markings being sharp and clear, and their general constancy, which prevails in the whole, will make them favourites for many years to come.
The following were the awards: -
Headley's Adonis, fine; Walker's Duchess of Sutherland, fine flame; Headley's John Linton, a fine heavy flame, and rich in colours; Slater's Masterpiece and Charles X., two fair feathers; Storer's J. D. Hextall, a richly-coloured flamed Bizarre, full too heavy as shown; Henry Groom, moderate, but of very dull colours; Lea's Industry and Heroine were fine feathers; Triomphe Royale and Headley's Arethusa were flames, the last quite new in this locality, and likely to prove a favourite.
Violet Amiable, a fair feather; Barber's Clara, a new variety, and good.; an indifferent Lorenzo and a fine Duchess of Sutherland; Mrs Lomax, a good feathered Hose; Heroine, far better; Triomphe Royale, a superb flame; Mary Barber, a seedling, moderate; a very fine Storer's General Lee; a bad Dr Horner, placed as a feather; a very poor Perfection; and Storer's Mr Mills, flamed.
A grandly-flamed Aglaia, and Triomphe Royale, even finer; Heroine, a mere bud; Lea's Industry, very light feather; Victoria Regina, moderate; Gibbons's Venus, a fine flame; Mrs Pickerill, good; Gibbons's Sarah Anne, a grand flame; Sphinx, only moderate; William Lea, fine flame; George Haywood, fine flame, and the same feathered.
Violet Sovereign, a fine variety; Mrs Thackeray, feathered, and good; Nepaulese Prince, very fine; Headley's Adonis, fine feather; Heroine and Grace were fine feathers; Polyphemus, very fine flame; Paul Pry, a bad feather; Ira and Thomas Abbott, both very poor representatives of the red class.
Aglaia, a good flame; Beatrice, also flamed; Martin's Jeanette, a very fine variety, and well marked, but too young; Heroine, a bud; Candidate, a fine flamed seedling Byblcemen; Chancellor, a superb flamed Byblcemen; Adonis, finely flamed, a seedling flamed Bybloemen; Royal Sovereign, good feather; Polyphemus; Pioneer, fine, a new flamed Bizarre; and Storer's General Lee, very good flame.
Disley's Exile, fine; Abbott's Gem; Battersby's Chancellor, good; Violet Alexander, heavy flame; Miss Grace, a pretty feathered Rose; Napoleon, a pretty feathered Rose; Aglaia, flamed; Dixon's Bion, well marked; a fairly-marked Polyphemus; a good Royal Sovereign; but Sir Joseph Paxton and Paul Pry indifferent.
Lord Denman; Queen of the North, flamed; Adonis, a good feather; Lorenzo, too young; Aglaia, flamed, fine; seedling flamed Rose and Heroine, good; Merit, fine; Admiral Dun-das, a bud; Pilot and Delaforce's King.