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.
A south-west wind, with continued fine weather for the previous three or four weeks, changed decidedly for the worse on the night of the 14th, with a little change of the wind to the south by east. At Ashridge the thermometer fell to 19° Fahr. or 13° of frost; at Fulham there was 7°, and at Ilford, in Essex, the same thermometer showed 4° only. On the morning of the 15th the snow fell in continuous heavy flakes, but as the day advanced it cleared off, and a large number of visitors inspected the show. It was a grand show in every respect. Miscellaneous groups of plants, as usual, formed special features of the show. Orchids were well represented: the collection from Mr May, gardener to Lady Louisa Ashburton, Melchet Park, Romsey, was simply magnificent. The beautiful East Indian Phalaenopsis Schilleriana formed a grand mass of colour, and seemed to light up the collection; there were three plants in one pot with eight spikes, and, as stated by Mr Bateman, no less than 280 fully-expanded flowers. The Dendrobium speciosum was also very fine.
The Lindley medal, which is only awarded on rare occasions, was most deservedly awarded to these plants.
Mr Denning, gardener to Lord Londesborough, Grimston Park, Tadcaster, had a prize awarded for a collection of Orchids: Laelia cinnabarina was conspicuous, with its very brilliant orarge-scarlet flowers. Mr Bull of Chelsea sent Orchids intermixed with Palms, Cycads, and some nice little specimens of Aucuba, densely covered with ripe berries; and as Mr Bateman remarked at the General Meeting, they are the very best shrubs for town gardens, but that, to have a large crop of berries, the flowers must be artificially impregnated. Mr Cutbush, of Highgate, sent a very distinct and beautiful variety, the centre of each leaf being a distinct yellow, the margin of the leaf green and yellow. Mr Speed, gardener to the Duke of Devonshire, Chatsworth, sent cut spikes of Amherstia nobilis; this was stated by Mr Bateman to be the most noble and beautiful of all vegetable productions, and to have been introduced from India by the Duke of Devonshire, who sent Mr Gibson out for this special purpose. Mr Needle, gardener to H.R.H. the Comte de Paris, York, House, Twickenham, sent a box containing a number of fine healthy plants of Ophrys tenthredenifera, a very beautiful and interesting species of the Bee or Mimetic Orchids.
To all the above special awards were voted.
Also in the miscellaneous class there remains to be noticed the splendid collection of Roses from Messrs J. Veitch & Sons, Chelsea, comprising the best sorts in the finest possible health and vigour, and a collection of 150 pots of Hyacinths, with grand massive spikes, mostly single varieties. There are but few double Hyacinths adapted for exhibition purposes. Koh-i-noor, Lord Wellington, and Prince of Orange, double red; Garrick, Van Speyk, and Louis Philippe, double blue, are nearly all the doubles that are worth growing. The same firm had a collection of Tulips, which, for the effective way in which they were set up, and for the freshness and beauty of the individual specimens, have seldom been equalled. Extra prizes were awarded to the Roses and to the collections of Tulips and Hyacinths. Mr W. Paul also sent groups of Hyacinths, Tulips, and Narcissus. His Hyacinths were very effectively arranged, six plants of a sort in rows of six deep.
There were very few objects before the Fruit Committee. Mr Looker sent Lettuces and Endive grown under his "Acme Garden-Frame" and "Looker's Patent Plant Covers;" the examples were as good as, but no better than, with ordinary attention, could be grown under any other sort of glass protection. A collection of five sorts of Grapes was sent by Mr W. Phipps, gardener to the Earl of Shrewsbury, Ingestrie Hall, Stafford; there were three magnificent well - kept bunches of Gros Guillaume, to which a special certificate was awarded, and a special award was also given to four bunches, one each, of White Tokay, Trebbiano, Lady Downes, and Alicante; all were excellent in flavour, the Tokay being particularly fine. Mr W. Thomson, of Dalkeith, sent the White Lady Downes; the bunch and berries were large, the shape of the bunch unmistakably showing the parentage, the berries of a fine golden colour, but not so good in flavour as the examples of Black Lady Downes or the White Tokay sent by the other exhibitor.
On this occasion first-class certificates were very liberally dispensed. The best objects in the room were splendid plants of Hip-peastrum pardinum and the beautiful and distinct H. Leopoldii, to which a special certificate was awarded. A first-class certificate was awarded to Amaryllis Chel-soni, one of the very best varieties ever seen: the petals are very broad, and of the richest crimson scarlet. All the above came from Messrs Veitch. A first-class certificate was also given to Mr W. Bull for Areca regalis, a robust-growing species of Palm.
On this occasion Messrs W. Rollisson & Sons, Tooting, had a first-class certificate for Davallia clavata, a slender-growing, very graceful species, with fronds about 6 inches high. E. G. Henderson & Son, St John's Wood, sent a new species of Asplenium, from New Zealand, with pinnate fronds finely serrated at the edges. This also had a first-class certificate. Cyclamen persicum (Snowflake) from Mr Goddard, gardener to H. Little, Esq., with very large pure-white flowers, had a first-class certificate. The following Hyacinths had first-class certificates: Princess Louise, from Mr W. Paul, Waltham Cross, a double variety with a close compact spike of a deep rosy-pink colour; George Peabody, from Messrs Cutbush, a very bright crimson, but the flowers rather thin on the spike; Marquess of Lome, single magenta, with a fine spike of medium-sized bells; and W. M. Thackeray, single, deep mauve. A first-class certificate was also given to Mr H. Bennet, Manor Farm Nursery, Stapleford, for Rose, Marquise de Castellane, a variety that forces well. It is of a bright rose colour, globular in form, very large and full, and a great acquisition.
Primula Boviana, an Abyssinian variety, from Messrs Veitch, the young leaves and flower-stalks of which are covered with a white powder; the flowers small, pale yellow; received a second-class certificate.
The Society offered prizes in class 1, 18 Hyacinths, distinct, nurserymen. Messrs Veitch were first with, if possible, better spikes than in their collection, of double red, Koh-i-noor; double blue, Laurens Koster; single red, Vurbaak, Macaulay, Garibaldi; single mauve, Hayden; single white, La Grandesse, Alba maxima, Innocence, and Leviathan; single blue, King of the Blues, Charles Dickens, Blondin, Grand Lilas, La Grande Resemblance; single black, Feruck Khan and General Havelock; single yellow, Ida. Messrs Cutbush, who had also some very fine spikes, were placed second, and had single red, Von Schiller; and in single blue, Lord Palmerston, Czar-Peter, and Marie, very fine.
18 white Hyacinths, distinct (open). Messrs Veitch were again first with a fine collection; La Grandesse is magnificent; Paix de l'Europe, Mont Blanc, Snowball, L'Innocence, and Queen of the Netherlands, are the best pure-white varieties; Grandeur a Merveille, Leviathan, Lord Shaftesbury, and Oron-dates, blush. Messrs Cutbush were again placed second.
6 Hyacinths, distinct (amateurs). Mr Douglas, gardener to F. Whitbourn, Esq., Loxford Hall, Ilford, was first with good spikes of Koh-i-noor, Marie, Florence Nightingale, De Candolle, Alba maxima, and Baron Van Tuyll. Mr "Weir, gardener to Mrs Hodson, the Elms, Hampstead, second. Mr J. T. Stephenson, 10 Tredegar Place, Bow Road, third.
6 new Hyacinths, never before exhibited (open). Messrs Cutbush first, with Robert Lowe, single yellow; Lord Derby, single blue; Marquis of Lorn, single magenta; George Peabody, single red; W. M. Thackeray, single mauve; and Lelacina, single blue. Messrs Veitch were second.
Collection of Narcissi; Messrs Cutbush were the only exhibitors, and had a fine collection. The best sorts were Soleil d'or, Perle blanche, Grand primo, and Bagelman major; a first prize was awarded.
12 pots Tulips, 3 bulbs in a pot, 6 kinds (nurserymen). Messrs Veitch were first with Keiser Kroom, Proserpine, Pottebakker, Vermilion brilliant, Rose aplatis, and Fabiola; this was a very fine lot, and contained some fine blooms; Messrs Cutbush were second.
12 pots of 4 kinds (amateurs). Mr "Weir was first with good pots. Mr Searle, gardener to B. C. Steel, Marlesford Lodge, Hammersmith, being placed second. Crocuses were very poorly represented.
Messrs Cutbush were first in the nurserymen's class, and Mr J. T. Stephenson first in the amateurs' class.
Double Wallflowers in pots (open). One collection only was shown, and the flowers were not fully opened.
Group of 12 miscellaneous plants. Mr. A Wilkie was first with Orchids, Rhododendrons, Azaleas, and other plants; the second prize being awarded to Mr Ware of Tottenham, for a beautiful little lot of hardy spring flowers in pots, Erithronium dens canis, Scilla sibirica, and S. bifolia alba, a beautiful pot of Muscaria botryoides caerulea, and others.
6 pots of Mignonette (open). Messrs Rollissons & Sons, Tooting, had 6 fine specimens in pots about 20 inches high, and as much through: the first prize was awarded to them. Messrs Standish of Ascot were third with 6 small pots.
3 tree Mignonette (open). Mr R. Laing, gardener to P. W. Hower, Esq., Furze Down, Tooting Common, was first with fine specimens with a clear stem of 2 feet 6 inches, and fine pyramidal heads.
Dessert Apples, 3 dishes, distinct (open). Mr Lynn, gardener to Lord Boston, Hedsor, was first with Ribston Pippin, Scarlet Nonpareil, and Cockle Pippin; Mr Parsons, gardener to W. J. Blake, Esq., Danesbury, being second.
Mr Lynn was again first with excellent examples of Welliogton, Golden Noble, and Kentish Fillbasket; Mr Beach, gardener to C. J. Hemes, Esq., St Julians, Seven Oaks, Kent, was placed second. J. D.