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.
I have no doubt there are a number of men, readers of the 'Gardener,' who are either natives of Essex, or have at some time of their lives acted as gardeners in that county; if so, they will still feel a slight interest in the Horticultural department of that county, and will be pleased to hear that gardening is progressing favourably - at least, so it seems by the number of flower shows held now to what there were a few years ago.
The Essex Weekly News gives an account of three in one week, with a long list of exhibitors and prize takers. The first was held the second week in June, at Saffron Walden, called "The Floral and Horticultural Exhibition." Everything appears to have been in excellent condition. Mr Chater, the well-known nurseryman, and Lord Braybrook of Audleyend, carried off a great number of prizes. The next recorded was "The Essex Agricultural Society's," held this year at Bromford: there appears to have been a good collection of plants, cut flowers, fruit, and vegetables of all kinds. Mr W. Bones, of Havering Park, quietly walked off with seventeen prizes.
The third is the sixth anniversary of the Wanstead "Floricultural Society," held in the grounds of G. H. Wilkinson, Esq., Grove House, Wanstead. This appears to be a small affair, got up chiefly for that part of Essex: there were good collections of plants and table devices; the highest prize, a silver vase, value £5, was appropriated to the best group of flowers arranged for table decoration. The competition in this class was large, the silver vase being awarded to Miss Child of Wanstead, whose pyramidal and beautiful design excited the greatest admiration.
Another, called "The Bishop-Stortford and Hertford Horticultural Society," held their opening exhibition in the grounds of the Grange at Bishop-Stortford. This was a sight well worth going to see: the Pelargoniums, Fucbsias, Stove plants, Roses, Ferns, and Pines were the finest I ever saw; while Melons, Grapes, and Cherries were very good. It would take up too much of your valuable space to state who were the prize takers: suffice it to say that Mr Hill, of Poles, Ware, in Herts; Mr W. Weeks, Hyde Hall, Sawbridgeworth; and several others in the neighbourhood, were very successful exhibitors.
Since that I have heard (without full particulars) of two more, one called "The Halsted and North Essex Horticultural Society," and another held at Chelmsford. W. Nokes.