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.
This annual show, as evinced by the number of exhibitors and attendance of visitors, is fast becoming very popular, and quite worthy of the distinguished patronage usually bestowed upon it. On the present occasion it was honoured by the presence, on the opening day, of her Royal Highness the Princess of "Wales, accompanied by the young Princess Victoria of Wales, the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, the Crown Prince of Denmark, the Crown Prince of Sweden, the Duke of Teck, etc. The tents in which the exhibits were arranged commenced near the Council-room with a long narrow one, which led up to a very large or monster tent in which was to be found most of the finest plants, including the Roses, all of which were arranged on turfy banks intersected with good walks. The Roses were shown in perfection for the first time this season, and were certainly the greatest attraction of the show. In the class for nine pot-Roses, Mr C. Turner, Slough, was first with magnificent specimens of Celine Forestier, Madame Therese Levet, Victor Verdier, Edward Morren, La France, Duke of Edinburgh, Madame de St Joseph, and Charles Lawson. The plant of the latter variety was perhaps the best in the show, and some idea can be formed of the size and beauty of this and the companion plants, when it is stated to be 7 feet high, and carrying fully three hundred perfect blooms.
The second prize collection, shown by Messrs G. Paul & Son, Cheshunt, were but little inferior to Mr Turner's, and far superior to those staged by them at the last year's show. Their largest and best-bloomed plant was a very fine specimen of Celine Forestier; and Charles Lawson, John Hopper, and Princess Mary of Cambridge were also very fine. In the class for twenty pot-Roses, the positions were reversed, Mr G. Paul securing the premier prize with a group of large, healthy, and well-bloomed plants, among which the Marquise de Castellane, President, and Madame Victor Verdier were very noticeable. Mr Turner was placed second with a group of smaller, but highly creditable plants; and Messrs J. Lane & Sons, Great Berkhampstead, third, for well-grown specimens in 10-inch pots. Mr Moorman showed well in the amateur class for six pot-Roses. Messrs Veitch & Sons, Chelsea, also exhibited a large group of pot-Roses, not for competition. Among these were interspersed a number of dwarf plants of Japanese Maples, the elegant and beautiful green foliage of which added much to the beauty of the group.
Near to the Roses, and apparently equalling them in their attractiveness, was the large group of Clematises exhibited by the Messrs Jackman & Sou, Woking. The plants were well grown and flowered, and included all the leading varieties, the various shades of blue, etc, contrasting well with the Roses. Azaleas, both as exhibited by nurserymen and amateurs, were very fine and showy, some of the plants being 6 feet high and literally covered with bloom. In the Nurserymen's class, Mr C. Turner, Messrs Jackson & Sons, and Mr Wills were 1st, 2d, and 3d respectively; and among the amateurs, Messrs Child, Ratty, and "Weston were successful.
Orchids were well represented: the finest group of fifteen distinct species in the show, and which obtained for the exhibitor the valuable prize of £20, was staged by Mr J. Douglas, Loxford Hall. His finest plant was a grand specimen of Dendrobium nobile, fully 4 feet through; and Cattleya Warneri, Cypripedium villosum, and Dendrobium thyrsiflorum were also very good. Mr H. James, Castle Nursery, received the second, and Messrs Jackson & Sons the third prize - good specimens staged in both instances. In the nurserymen's class, Mr B. S. Williams, Holloway, was awarded the first prize for an excellent group, which included excellent specimens of Odontoglossnm vexillarium, Masdevallia Lindenii, Cypripedium Swannianum, Cattleya Mossias, etc. Mr James was second in this class.
Mr W. Bull was the only exhibitor of Odontoglossums, and received the first prize for a highly creditable group.
There were three classes for stove and greenhouse plants in flower: in the open class for twelve, Messrs Jackson & Sons, Kingston, were placed first for fine plants of Chorozema Lowii, Dracophyllum gracile, Anthurium Schertzeri-anum, Pimelia Hendersonii, Erica depressa, Azaleas Due de Nassau and Stella, Clerodendron Balfourianum, Hedaroma Fuchsioides, Aphelexis purpurea, and Macrantha rosea. Messrs Jackson & Sons were also first in the Nurserymen's class for eight plants in flower. In the corresponding class for amateurs, Mr J. Child, Garbrand Hall, Ewell, secured the first prize with a very meritorious group.
In the Amateurs' class for eight fine-foliage plants, Mr Rann, Handcross, Sussex, was placed first with grand specimens of Crotons multicolor, varie-gatum, and augustifolium, Areca sapida, Latania borbonica, Cycas revoluta, Dasylirion glaucum, and Zamia Lehmannii. Mr Penfold also showed well in this class, and obtained the second prize.
Mr Child had the best six stove and greenhouse Ferns, his specimens of Gleichenias Mendellii and G. Microphylla, C. ibotium Sehiedei, Dicksonia antarctica, Leptopteris superba, and Adiantum Farleyense being remarkably good.
Mr W. Bull was placed first for twelve new plants; Mr Wills second; and Mr B. S. Williams third. There were three competitors for the handsome silver cups, offered by Mr W. Bull for twelve new plants, sent out by him since 1876. Mr Rann secured the first prize with well-grown plants of Lomaria Dalgairnsite, Kentia Wendlandi; Croton3 princeps, picturatum, Hendersonii, and Williamsii; Dracaenas, rex, vivicans, Goldieana, Robinsoni-aua, and Dieffenbachia illusoris. Mr Penfold, Beddington, was placed second; and Mr J. Hammond, Brayton, third. There were four groups arranged for the prizes offered for a group of miscellaneous plants arranged for effect, and occupying a space not exceeding 300 square feet, all of whom showed great taste in their arrangement of innumerable, and in some instances very valuable plants. Mr Wills secured the premier prize (£15) with a grand group, arranged in his well-known and unequalled style, though in our opinion scarcely so good as those arranged by him last year. The groundwork consisted of Lycopodiums, Adiantums, etc. Out of these were springing out groups of choice foliage and flowering plants; and towering over the whole many noble specimen Palms, Ferns, etc.
Messrs Laing & Co. secured the second prize with a well-arranged and valuable group; and Messrs Peed & Sons and Mr Aldons were placed equal, third; the group arranged by the latter consisting entirely of white flowering and green foliage plants, and was both chaste and novel. Mr B. S. Williams had the first prize for a group of flowering-plants, staging a splendid lot of plants in his well-known style. Several valuable groups of plants, not for competition, were sent by the Messrs Veitch & Sons, Cutbush & Sons, Osborn & Sons, Mr B. S. Williams, and Mr Boiler. In addition to the group of foliage and flowering plants, Messrs Osborn & Sons staged an attractive and instructive group of hardy plants. Boxes of cut Roses came from Mr W. Paul, and a group of remarkably well-flowered Azaleas from the Societies' garden at Chiswick. The liberal prizes offered for fruit and vegetables failed to attract many competitors; this, however, is rightly attributed to the backwardness of the season, of which complaints were to be heard on all sides. The class for Black Hamburgs was a fair one; but the white Grapes staged in the other classes were of very inferior colour, although said to be fit for the table.
The first prize bunches of Black Hamburg, staged by Mr P. Edwards, Liphook, were rather loose, but in other respects were very good; and the same remark applies to those staged by Mr W. Johnstone, Bay-ham Abbey, to which was awarded the second prize. The only stand of Muscat of Alexandria was put up by Mr J. Maher, Stoke Court, which, although apparently unripe, secured that exhibitor the first prize. In the class for any other white Grape, Mr Atkins, Wantage, was placed first, and Mr P. Edwards second, both staging fair examples of Buckland Sweetwater. The competition in the classes for Pine Apples was very weak indeed, none of the fruit staged being particulurly fine; and in one instance - that for two specimens - the first prize was withheld, Mr Rutland, Goodwood, being awarded the second for a moderate-sized Charlotte Rothschild, and a small Queen. Mr Rutland secured the first prize in the class for one Queen (no second was awarded), and was the only exhibitor in the class for any other variety, receiving the first prize for a well-ripened Charlotte Rothschild. Mr G. T. Miles was the only-exhibitor in the class for one Smooth Cayenne, and received the first prize for a good fruit.
Melons were staged in good numbers, and of good quality, the prize fruit being of fair size and well netted. Mr C. Deaven, Staines, was placed first for Windsor Gem, a seedling of his own raising; Mr J. Chilton, Setsworth, second, with Queen Emma'; and Mr Goldsmith, Tonbridge, third, with Reade's Hybrid. One dish of Peaches and two of Nectarines only were staged. A dish of small fruit of Stirling Castle Peach gained Mr Maher the first prize; and the same exhibitor was first for Nectarines with very high-coloured and handsome fruit of Hants Tawny. Mr Nash, New Shoreham, was awarded the second prize for a good dish of Violette Hative Nectarine. Mr G. S. Miles met with no opposition in the classes for Cherries, and obtained both first prizes with excellent dishes of Black Circassian and Elton. Strawberries were well shown, notably the first prize collection of three varieties, consisting of Sir J. Paxton, Sir C. Napier, and President, staged by Mr Norman, Hatfield Park; and the single unnamed dish, apparently either President or Vicomtesse Hericart de Thury, staged by the Messrs Barnwell & Tilbury, Worthing. The best dish of Tomatoes was staged by MrW. Iggulden, Romford; and the next best by Mr G. T. Miles. The former staged a good dish of Trophy, and the latter Stamfordian.
Mr G. T. Miles was awarded the first prize for a collection of new dishes of vegetables; and Mr Iggulden, the only other exhibitor, was a very good second. Mr Miles's collection consisted of Stamfordian Tomatoes, Queen Onions, Nantes Horn Carrots, Unique Peas, Canadian Wonder Beans, Veitch's Ashleaf Potatoes, Mushrooms, Broccoli, Tender and True Cucumbers, and Asparagus - all being creditable examples.