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 fruit department was quite as well represented as at Manchester, and occupied the central staging of a long tent. Pines were not quite so numerous, Black Grapes were scarcely up to the average, Muscats and other White Grapes were very good. The show of Peaches and Nectarines was not over large, though some very good fruit was shown. The ' Gardeners' Chronicle' prizes were taken by Mr Miles, gardener to Lord Carrington, "Wycombe Abbey, and Mr J Simpson, gardener to Lord Wharncliffe, Wortley, though the prize in the latter instance was not awarded in accordance with the wording and proper interpretation of the schedule, more than 6 distinct kinds of fruit being shown; whilst the 'Journal of Horticulture' prize fell remarkably easily to Mr J. Miller, gardener to Lord Foley, Worksop Manor, there being no other competitor. The exhibits were certainly not worth the prize, and it is a question whether the judges would not have done better by withholding it altogether.
For the prizes offered by the ' Gardeners' Chronicle' there were five competitors. It was a very close race between Mr Miles and Mr J. Simpson, Wortley, for the 1st prize; and had it not been for a mishap on the railway it would have been even more so, with the probability of the prize going to Mr Johnson, gardener to the Marquis of Aylesbury, Savernake, whose fruit, from some cause or other, was much bruised. In Mr Miles's collection were three very fair bunches of Buckland Sweetwater Grapes, a good Queen Pine (weighing 5| lb.), nice Scarlet Gem Melon, very fine Barrington Peaches, Downton Nectarines, and Kirk's Plum; and of vegetables, Globe Artichokes (good), flat Tripoli Onions (of immense size), French Beans, wonderful Broad Beans, and Myatt's Prolific Potatoes. In Mr Simpson's collection, the Grapes - Black Hamburg and Muscat of Alexandria - were good in bunch and berry, but wanting in colour. His other fruit were very good Pines, Melons, Peaches, and Nectarines - and of vegetables, Cauliflowers, Peas, Artichokes, Turnips, Potatoes, and Cucumbers, etc. Mr Johnson came next in order of merit; his vegetables were first-class, but the fruit was rubbed and disfigured.
The other competitors were Mr Challis, gardener to the Earl of Pembroke, Wilton House, Salisbury; and Mr R. Kean, gardener to J. G. Sheppard, Esq., Haigh House, Campsy, Suffolk. In Mr J. Miller's collection, which took the ' Journal of Horticulture' prize, the Pines and Nectarines were of a very fair order; but the Grapes, Peaches, and Strawberries were of the poorest description, and in one or two instances were positively bad.
The best 3 Pines came from Mr Paton, gardener to H. S. Lucy, Esq., Charlcote Park, "Warwick, and were very fine specimens of Moscow Queen; the next best were large examples of the Providence variety, exhibited by Mr Allen, gardener to J. B. Glegg, Esq., Withington Hall, Congleton; whilst the third position was occupied by Mr W. Gardiner, gardener to E. P. Shirley, Esq., Eatington Park, with two Moscow Queens and a Providence. Mr G. Ward, gardener to T. W. Miller, Esq., Bishop Stortford, sent specimens of Smooth Cayenne, weighing 7 lb.; a Queen, 4 lb. 11 oz.; and a Charlotte Rothschild, 7 lb. 10 oz.: other examples of Black Jamaica, Queens, etc, were shown. Mr Paton also came in first in the class for a single fruit, any variety, with a fine Enville, weighing 8 lb. 14 oz.; the second best was a Moscow Queen, 4 1/2 lb. in weight, from Mr Gardiner; and the third a specimen of the smooth-leaved Cayenne, weighing 7 lb., from Mr G. Ward. Only one collection of 12 dishes, 6 distinct kinds, was shown in that class, which came from Mr Clark, gardener to Earl Cowper, and consisted of Pines, Grapes, Peaches, Nectarines, Apricots, Melons, etc.
Eight dishes of Black Grapes were staged, the best being contributed by Mr Coleman, gardener to Earl Somers, Eastnor Castle, Ledbury, which consisted of three exceedingly well finished bunches of Black Hamburg, weighing 12 lb. 6 oz.; Mr J. Smith, gardener to the Earl of Gainsborough, Exton Park, came in second with fine examples of the same variety; and to Mr Turner, Slough, and Mr J. Ralty, gardener to C. Scholefield, Esq., Turville Park, Henley-on-Thames, equal third prizes were awarded, the competition being so close. The number of competitors in the class for White Grapes exceeded the former by one, the specimens shown being uniformly good. The first prize was awarded to an excellent dish of Muscat of Alexandria, large in bunch and berry, and of a good colour. These came from Mr J. Thomas, gardener to Mrs T. Drake, Bignell, Oxon. Mr Turner came in second with good bunches of the same variety; Mr R. Ianson, gardener to S. Statter, Esq., Stand Hall, Manchester, was third. Mr Colegrave sent large bunches of Buckland Sweetwater, but deficient in colour. Several examples of Muscat of Alexandria were shown, in very green condition.
Mr Coleman sent the best basket of Grapes, good specimens of Black Hamburg, the next best coming from J. Thomas, and consisting of very fine Muscat of Alexandria; Mr R. H. Smith, gardener to H. Walker, Esq., Calder-stone, Liverpool, and Messrs Standish & Co., were placed equal third. Eleven baskets were shown; among them one of Gros Colmar attracted much attention from the highly-finished style in which it was shown by Mr Ward, gardener to T. W. Miller, Esq.
For the best 6 varieties of Grapes, 3 bunches of each, there were several competitors. Mr Turner took Professor Lawson's prize of 5 guineas, with very fair specimens of Royal Ascot, Buckland Sweetwater, Muscat of Alexandria, Black Prince, Black Hamburg, and Black Alicante; Messrs Lane & Son secured the second prize, given by S. Davis, Esq., with, amongst others, Golden Champion, fine in size, but quite green, and apparently unripe; Foster's Seedling, Buckland Sweetwater, etc.; Mr J. "Wallis, gardener to J. Dixon, Esq., Astle Park, Congleton, secured the third prize, given by Mr Sheriff Hanley, with fruit of a very moderate quality. Whilst noticing the Grapes, we must not forget to mention a fine exhibition made by Mr Speed, gardener to the Duke of Devonshire, Chatsworth, which were "cut from Vines 37 years old, rejuvenised upon the extension system." The exhibition consisted of three remarkably fine, compact, and well-finished bunches, each of Mill Hill Hamburg, Black Prince, and Black Hamburg. The berries of the former were very large, as also were the bunches of Black Prince.
Fourteen dishes of Peaches were shown, the best being very fine well-coloured Barringtons from Mr J. Wallis; Mr Miles, gardener to Lord Carrington, came in second with first-rate specimens of Groose Mignonne; and Mr Sage, gardener to Earl Brownlow, Ashbridge, third with Bellegarde. Good examples of Royal George Gallande, Violette Hative, Barrington, and Noblesse were also staged by other exhibitors. In the corresponding class for Nectarines, 10 dishes only were staged: Mr H. Tuke, gardener to R. Nicholls, Esq., Bromley, Leeds, came in first with Violette Hative, large and finely coloured; specimens of the same variety, from Mr J. Miller, were placed second. Pitmaston Orange, Elruge, and Hunt's Tawny, were also very fairly represented. In Apricots there were only three competitors; Mr J. Smith took first honours, and Mr W. Early, Digswell, second.
Vegetables were numerously represented, and, the season considered, generally of good quality. There were many other articles staged, but not of a character to call for special remark.
The show of glass structures, garden implements, requisites, etc, was as numerous as ever, and these will be attended to and illustrated as their value becomes * demonstrated, and opportunity offers.