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 spring show of this Society took place last week in the City Hall. The weather was propitious, and the exhibition was made up of some very choice materials, Dutch bulbs forming the staple. Never before in Glasgow were there so many good Hyaciuths shown; indeed, it is a matter of wonder, expressed even by the Dutch growers, how well the flowering properties of these bulbs are brought out by the gardeners of this country. In the open and nurserymen's classes Mr P. M'Kenzie earned off the palm with some very fine specimens; and from his collections were selected the first and second best Hyacinths in the exhibition. In the gardeners' classes there was much more excitement and considerably more rivalry, in some cases not fewer than twelve different lots competed for the awards. It is due to Mr N. Glass, gardener to Mr Bolton of Carbrook, Mr J. Sutherland, gardener to Mr Denny, Dumbarton, and Mr Mackay, gardener to Mr Reid, Rutherglen, to say that their respective lots were well grown, well selected, and well staged. When we come to individualise, we find the old sorts that took position ten years ago still prominent, beating many of the higher-priced rivals of modern introduction.
There is nothing finer in whites than Alba maxima and Mont Blanc, unless it be Snowball, which lacks in strength of spike what it gains in substance and size of flower. Among deep reds, Koh-i-noor, Lord Macaulay, and Von Schiller stand out boldly among their fellows; and in the various shades of blue we have Maria, Charles Dickens, and Grand Lilas - all flowers that one sees in every winning stand, and such as ought to recommend themselves to all interested in the culture of Hyacinths. Curiously enough, the double-flowered sorts which the florist is anxious to encourage, and the botanist to discourage, cannot at all approach in point of excellence their single rivals, unless it be a blush called Duke of Wellington, and a blue one, looking like a Delphinium, called Garrick. Of the amateur class, which labours under difficulties, and even in the midst of city smoke triumphs in the cultivation of bulbs, Messrs Robertson, J. H. Sharpe, and Wilkie, all from the Hutchesontown district of the city, not only took prizes, but earned them meritoriously. The Tulips were quite marked plants, while the Narcissi and Croci were an exhibition of themselves.
The king of the bulb race is the Brazilian Amaryllis, the tall scapes and large and prominent flowers of which invest these bulbs with no small importance. It was here but sparsely shown, the best lots coming from Messrs Fleming and Sutherland.
Among the miscellaneous hard-wooded plants, the Azaleas claimed paramount attention; but their great pyramids of colour would have been relieved by the arching fronds of Tree Ferns, or some of the choicer foliage plants that have beauty of foliation and outline to recommend them. The collections from Mr Boyd, gardener to Mr Finlay of Easterhill, and Mr R. Caskie, gardener to Mr A. Graham, Thornwood, were closely matched. Heaths, Epacris, and some of the choicer Orchids, were only indifferently contested for, the best plant of a purely bridal Orchid (Coelogyue cristata) being furnished by Mr Jas. Forbes, Beachwood. New Holland plants came very well handled, the Chorozemas, with their wreaths of showy orange and scarlet leguminous flowers, deservedly attracting notice, as did the catkin-like inflorescence of the various Acacias, which were numerous and well grown. Not the least decorative plant of easy culture, which any citizen with a greenhouse, however small, could manage, was the Deutzia gracillis. The flowers of this plant are sometimes mistaken for Orange blossoms, and they come forth in such quantities as to delight all who tend them. Gardeners, however, are evidently erring in training the plants into shapes far too formal; even the first-prize lots had this fault.
It was pleasing to turn from these to the Dielytras, which bear well the pressure of artificial heat, and remunerate the grower with a large crop of depending flower-stems. Camellia blooms and Camellia plants are always desirable to look at, and although there were not quantities of them, the flowers were conspicuous and good, particularly the cut blooms from Mr James Dalglish, gardener to Mr J. Alston, of Muirburn. The Rhododendrons and Roses were general favourites, but there was not a large exhibition of either of them. The best lots were good, and particularly the Gloire de Dijon Rose from Mr David Coghill. Many very excellent hand-bouquets were shown, and formed a most interesting feature. Some excellent Strawberries and Cucumbers came from Mr Methven, gardener to Colonel Campbell of Blythswood. Vases in earthenware, and representations of tree stumps in the same material, for Ferns and suchlike plants, came from J. & R. Howie, Kilmarnock. It is due to those in charge of the proceedings, as well as to the newly-appointed secretary, Mr F. G. Dougall, to remark that the first exhibition of the Society's 58th season passed off with great eclat.
The Society's office-bearers met the judges and a few friends at dinner in the afternoon. - Gardeners' Chronicle.
[Note. - We failed to obtain a list of the prizes. - Ed].
At the above Exhibition, prizes are offered for every conceivable article that is in the remotest degree connected with horticulture. We give the circular of the British Committee, any one of whom will be happy to give any information required. The latest date for entering subjects for exhibition is the 31 st of July.