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.
As yet, the Royal Horticultural Society is alone in the field; but with the month of March the Royal Botanic Society will commence a series of five exhibitions announced. The meeting of the Royal Horticultural Society, on the 19th of January, brought together a most attractive display of Orchids, and foremost were some fine examples from the gardens of Lord Londesborough, at Grimston Park, comprising a noble specimen of the handsome Laelia Anceps Barkeri, with upwards of twenty fine spikes; L. furfuracea, a fine Mexican variety, somewhat difficult to cultivate, with one good flower; Odontoglossum Alexandras, a noble spike, with ten large and finely developed flowers; the curious though pretty Oncidium Kramerianum, and 0. leucochilum. From Mr Parsons, The Gardens, Danesbury, came a fine specimen of the dwarf Odontoglossum Rossii, with six fine white and purple flowers. Mr B. S. Williams finished a large specimen of Ansellia Africana, with five fine spikes; Angraecum sesquipedale, with four superb flowers; A. eburneum virens, a very healthy robust specimen, with four nice spikes, and some fine cut flowers of various Laelias, etc.
Messrs Veitch & Sons also had some grand things, such as Barkeri Skinneri, with thirteen fine spikes of warm rose-coloured flowers; the new Cypripedium Harrisianum, Saccolabium giganteum, with two handsome spikes; Laelia anceps, with ten fine spikes, etc. etc. Cyclamens and Primulas were furnished by Mr Wiggins, of Isleworth, both very fine, the last containing some fine striped flowers of great beauty; and a few other things bright and pleasant as these were also present.
Prizes were offered for nine Ivies in pots and nine hardy Conifers. Of the latter, the Messrs Veitch were the only exhibitors. Their collection comprised well-furnished specimens of Thujopsis dolabrata, Picea bracteata, and P. magni-fica; Retinospora plumosa, R. obtusa nana aurea, a small plant of stunted growth, but pleasing in colour, and the graceful drooping R. filifera; with a fine specimen of the handsome Cryptomeria elegans. In the class for Ivies the competition was very good, considering that this group of plants is a comparatively new one for show purposes; now, however, that the growers have taken them in hand, judging from the neatness of the specimens shown, there is no reason why the boldest foliaged variegated forms should not be improved, and grown for the decoration of cool greenhouses, and indoors in winter, and for terraces in summer, for which purposes they are eminently adapted. The first prize was taken by Mr Turner with compact pyramidal specimens of H. Algeriensis, H. grandifolia (canariensis) latifolia maculata, a large-leaved showy kind; H. grandifolia (canariensis) arbore-scens; and of small-leaved varieties, H. Helix major and H. Helix minor; H. elegantissima, silvery variegated; H. lobata major; H. marmorata minor, and H. lucida; all very healthy and well furnished specimens.
Mr W. Paul was second with H. Roegneriana, a dark leathery-leaved variety; H. Rcegneriana arborescens, a shrubby-growing kind, with bright dark-green foliage; H. arbore-scens baccata lutea, in fruit; H. canariensis follis aureis, etc. Messrs E. G. Henderson & Son also staged a nice group of smaller plants than the above, to which an extra prize was given; also a large and beautiful collection of green-leaved and variegated forms, which received a special certificate.
Several prizes were offered for culinary Apples and Pears. The competition in the class for the former was very spirited, good collections being shown by Mr Gardiner, gardener, Eatington Park; Mr Parsons, gardener, Fairlawn Acton Green; Mr Parsons, gardener, Danesbury Park; and Mr Earley, gardener, Digs-well Park, etc. Mr Parsons, Danesbury, took the first prize with fine dishes of Blenheim Orange, Burr Knot, and Wellington; and Mr Earley the second, with excellent examples of Golden Noble, Yorkshire Greening, and the Gooseberry Apple. Mr C. Ross, gardener to C. Eyre, Esq., Welford Park, Newbury, was first in the class for Pears, with very handsome specimens of Uvedale's St Germain and Catillac; Mr Hobbs, Thames Bank, Great Marlow, coming in second, also with large and fine examples of Catillac. Mr Gardiner, gardener, to Sir T. Dyke Ackland, Bart, Killerton, Devon, contributed good specimens of Verulam, Vicar of Winkfield, and Bellissime d'Hiver, an excellent stewing Pear, not generally cultivated. From Mr Meredith, The Vineyard, Garston, came a splendid basket of Grapes, consisting of Black Alicante, Muscat of Alexandria, and Lady Downes Seedling, all large and in fine order; a special certificate was awarded.
The same award was also made to some finely-flavoured and well-kept Muscat of Alexandria Grapes, sent by Mr Fowler, gardener to the Earl of Harewood, Harewood House. They were cut from the old Vine at that establishment, which last season produced over four hundred bunches, and were fully ripened in September. To Mr Paul, Waltham Cross, a special certificate was also awarded for a beautiful collection of Apples. From Mr Gilbert, gardener to the Marquis of Exeter, came a good specimen of the smooth-leaved Cayenne Pine-apple, which had been produced by a plant grown on the "cutting-over" principle. Mr Sharpe, Tangley-mere, Guildford, sent a fruit of a Pine received from Bahia, which was sound and juicy, and much better in flavour than imported Pines usually are. Mr Miles, gardener to Lord Carington, sent a dish of the fruit of Solanum betaceum, known in gardens as S. Guisados, which was said by Mr Berkeley to be good when cooked; also some very good home-grown Lemons. Messrs Carter & Co. exhibited a collection of English and new American Potatoes, and several varieties of Beet.
The meeting of the Royal Horticultural Society, held on the 16th of February, was again enlivened by some valuable contributions of Orchids. Foremost was a fine group from Lord Londesborough, which Mr Denning, the gardener at Grim-ston Park, sends through to London in a van heated with hot water. There were cut specimens of Phalaenopsis grandiflora, P. Schilleriana, and a very fine variety of the latter; also a very fine plant of Dendrobium speciosum, with fifteen spikes of flowers; several plants of Odontoglossum Alexandrae, Coelogyne cristata, some beautiful Cattleyas, Oncidium nebulosum, Brassavola glauca, etc. Mr Thomas Burnett, gardener to W. Terry, Esq., Fulham, had a magnificent plant of Ccelogyne cristata, densely covered with beautiful white blossoms, and finely grown. Messrs Veitch & Son had a fine group also, comprising Odontoglossum Rossii, 0. cervantesii, 0. cordatum, O. cucullalum macultatum, a small but very handsome Orchid; the charming Oncidium Phalaenopsis, Nasonia punctata, with two small orange-red flowers, not unlike those of a minute unex-panded Sophronitis; a fine spike of Dendrobium cucullatum giganteum; Laelia purpuracea, Dendrobium heterocarpum, D. crassniode, D. moniliforme, and D. nobile.
Prizes were offered for six Chinese Primulas, distinct. The best were shown by Messrs F. and A. Smith, who had one single and five double kinds, the last including two fine carmine-coloured varieties. The class for three Dielytras in bloom did not fill; and in the class for six Lycastes, Messrs Veitch & Sons were the only exhibitors, having among them the beautiful Lycaste alba, the flowers creamy white, with a yellow throat, each plant having from eight to twelve flowers.
Two prizes respectively of £3 and £2 were offered by the Rev. George Kemp, a member of the Fruit Committee, for the best winter dessert of Apples and Pears, 3 dishes of each. Mr Parsons, Danesbury Gardens, Welwyn, was first with Flat Nonpareil, Wyken Pippin, and Cockle Pippin Apples; and Neplus Meuris, Josephine de Malines, and March Bergamot Pears, the flavour of the Pears being very fine. Mr Garland, The Gardens, Killerton, Devon, was second with Sturmer Pippin,Royal Russet,and Hubbard's Pearmain Apples; and Winter Nelis, Glou Morceau, and Bergamotte Esperen Pears. The Society also offered prizes for the best three dishes of dessert Apples, and also of dessert Pears. Mr C. Ross, The Gardens, Welford Park, Newbury, was first with Apples, having Scarlet Nonpareil, White Nonpareil, and Carraway Russet; 2d, Mr M. Saul, The Gardens, Stourton Park, with Margil, Ribston Pippin, and Aromatic Russet. The best three dishes of Pears came from Mr Wells, Holme Lacy Gardens, who had Beurre Rance, Bergamotte Esperen, and Bergamot Hendrick. Mr Garland was second with winter Nelis, Bergamotte Esperen, and Beurre Rance. Mr Meredith, Garston, sent some capital Black Alicante, Muscat of Alexandria, and Lady Downes Grapes; and an immense bunch of Child of Hale, raised by crossing the Syrian with the Muscat of Alexandria, but closely resembling the Syrian in appearance.