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.
The ordinary leading plants of a great show, somewhat the worse for wear in consequence of being knocked about at several exhibitions, came out indifferently here in consequence. The leading features were the table decorations and the variegated Pelargoniums. As a general rule, the former were much too elaborate and heavy. There was too much material in them - a very common fault. There were plenty of them, and they were arranged on tables running along the centre of the nave.
The best 12 variegated zonal Pelargoniums came from Mr Stevens, and consisted of Imperatrice Eugenie, Charming Bride, Glen Eyre Beauty, Italia Unita, Mabel Morris, and Gamos, silver-edged; and Lady Cullum, Mrs Turner, Lucy Grieve, Sophia Dumaresque, Sophia Cusack, and Countess of Tyrconnell, golden-edged. The best 6 Gold and Bronze Zonals came from Messrs Downie, Laird, & Laing, and were Prima Donna, Imperatrice Eugenie, Mrs Allan Lowndes, Red Gauntlet, Crown Prince, and Black Douglas - all of their own raising. The next best were Countess of Kellie, Black Knight, Cleopatra, Sybil, Red Ring, and Stanstead Beauty. The best golden-edged variegated Zonal was Prince of Wales, shown by Messrs Carter & Co.; the next best, Ealing Rival; the third best, Achievement. Mr Turner had the best and second-best silver-edged variety, in the former case staging Miss Pond, very fine; and Mrs Rousby, very good also. The best variegated Pelargonium - viz., with green leaves edged with white - was Bright Star, from Mr Turner; the second-best, May Queen. The best gold and bronze Pelargonium was Reine Victoria - a beautiful variety, furnished by Messrs Downie, Laird, & Laing. The best double-flowered Pelargoniums were: Wilhelm Pfitzer, E. G. Henderson, Triomphe, Madame Lemoine, Marie Lemoine, and Merveille de Lorraine.
Most charming and deeply interesting was a group of Ixias, Sparaxis, Iris, Tritonias, and many other beautiful plants of a similar character, staged by Messrs Hooper & Co., Covent Garden. Similar groups were also staged by this firm at the great show of the Royal Horticultural Society. There was so much of freshness and novelty about them that no wonder crowds of admirers were continually in front of them: it was a fitting homage paid to some very beautiful but sadly neglected plants.