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 Royal Horticultural Society of Ireland held a show of Hyacinths and early spring flowers at the Rotunda, Dublin, on the 24th of March, when the amateur cultivators round Dublin came out in strong force, and in all probability could have this season held their own against the best that any other Hyacinth-growing district could do in the United Kingdom. Some amount of external pressure had to be employed to induce the Council to take it up, and a charming show resulted; but as of old the "stars in their courses fought against Sisera," so now did the elements fight against the promoters of the show, and in consequence of the rain but few visitors comparatively could inspect an effective floral display. The chief amateur cultivator of Hyacinths was Mr Brannigan, gardener to S. M. Tandy, Esq., Appian Way, who carried off nearly all the leading prizes in the several classes in which he competed; while in the Nurserymen's classes, Messrs A. Campbell & Sons, of Glasnevin, who, like Mr Tandy, staged some very finely developed flowers, had it all their own way. Besides Hyacinths, there were Cyclamens and Tulips, both indifferently grown; Violets, Primulas, very fine; forced shrubs, Lily of the Valley, etc.
One feature of the schedule was a gardener's cup, subscribed for by the practical gardeners of Ireland, and awarded to the gardener who took the greatest number of prizes. This handsome trophy fell to the lot of Mr Brannigan, gardener to S. M. Tandy, Esq. The Council of the Royal Horticultural Society ought to be much encouraged by the floral success attending the attempt made to establish in Dublin a show of Hyacinths and early spring flowers, and we hope it will again appear in the programme of their doings for 1871.
The first spring show of the Royal Botanic Society was held at the Regent's Park, on the 30th of March, and presented a few very interesting features. Forced flowering plants and shrubs made an effective display; so did the Cinerarias and Cyclamens; of the last named a great number were staged, all of that fine quality incidental to London. In the class for 6 Cinerarias, Mr James, gardener toW. F. Watson, Esq., Isleworth, had nice specimens of Mrs Reeves, white, margined with rosy crimson, and dark disc; Uncle Toby, deep blue, a good self; Agrippa, white, with narrow edge of rosy purple; Lord Elgin, a free-blooming rosy-crimson self; Snowflake, white; and Master F. Watson, broadly margined with crimson-rose: the style of growth of these plants quite recalled the days when Mr Turner used to exhibit these charming spring-flowering plants. Cyclamens were grand in the extreme - the splendour of development of such young plants taught the utter fallacy of the resting process; and yet one of our weekly contemporaries, noted for sticking so closely by the old traditions of horticulture, in its latest issue, in replying to correspondents, actually recommends in each instance the period of rest! Mr James was first with 6 fine plants, each averaging from 60 to 100 flowers; Mr Edmonds was only just inferior; and Mr Stevens only just beaten for second honours.
Primulas were fine, but contained nothing calling for special remark. Mr Ware, Hall Farm Nurseries, Tottenham, who has made a great name for spring-blooming, hardy herbaceous, and Alpine plants, had a very interesting group of the former, comprising the fine white-flowered Trillium grandiflorum (what a pity it is this fine plant is not oftener seen !); Hoteia japonica, Richardia CEthiopica, the variegated Crown Imperial, etc. In addition, Mr Ware had a group of twelve Liliaceous plants, grown in shallow pans, and exceedingly interesting, comprising Scilla Siberica, S. bifolia, S. praecox, the charming Triteleia uniflora, Muscari botryoides, M. botryoides pallida, two very pretty varieties of the Grape Hyacinth; and the purple Erythronium dens-canis; and an equally charming group of Alpine plants, including some very pretty Primulas - viz., P. nivalis, P. den-ticulata, P. marginata, P. pubescens, P. erosa Fortunei, Narcissus juncifolius, a very pretty dwarf species, etc. Camellia blooms were plentifully produced, of good average quality.
In the Nurserymen's class, Messrs A. Henderson & Co., Pine-Apple Place Nursery, were first; and in the Amateurs, Mr A. Wilkie, Addison Road, Kensington. The stand furnished by Messrs A. Henderson & Co. contained Americana, blush; Carswelliana, red; De la Reine, pure white, a fine large flower; Sarah Frost, carmine red, large and full; Valtevaredo, deep rose, large and full, very fine; Henri Favre, rose crimson; Double white, fine; Napoleon III., pink, striped with red; and Mathottiana, deep blood crimson.
Of miscellaneous subjects of more than ordinary interest must be mentioned a fine group of pot Roses from Messrs A. Paul & Son; a group of the new Rose Princess Christian from Mr William Paul, a beautiful pale-blush flower, finely cupped, and invaluable for forcing; a first-class certificate was awarded to this, and we mention it here, fearing that the circumstance was omitted in our notes on "New Plants of the Past Month; " also a collection of small but well-bloomed plants of the new double-scarlet Thorn; Reseda odorata eximea, a giant Mignonette, with very large flowers and delightfully fragrant, from Mr F. Parsons, nurseryman, Brighton, awarded a first-class certificate; and blooms of the new perpetual-flowering Picotee, Prince of Orange, from Mr Perkins, Leamington, also awarded a first-class certificate, and a really perpetual bloomer, as Mr Perkins loses no opportunity of exhibiting it. Such are a few of the prominent points of this pretty show.