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.
In the order of dates, the next great exhibition in the London district took place at the Crystal Palace, Sydenham, on Saturday the 15th of May. There was a falling off in some things - probably the frequency with which shows are held at this time of the year would tend to produce this. Then the great size of the building assists not only to dwarf things almost to comparative insignificance, but those at all defective have their defects brought out very prominently indeed. True it is that awnings are stretched across the naves of the building and those parts of the centre transept in which the show is held; but these fail to produce the desired effect, while on a hot summer day the light above them is very glaring. Still the Crystal Palace is a place of favourite resort, and thousands of persons go there to visit the flower-shows, and appear to be delighted with them.
The collections of stove and greenhouse plants in flower were very numerous, the specimens on the whole very good and in excellent bloom, but the kinds almost, if not quite, the same as last year. Mr W. Chapman, gardener to J. Spode, Esq., Hawkesyard Park, Rugeley, was most deservedly first in the class for sixteen, with, among others, beautifully grown and flowered specimens of Eriostemon pulchellum and neriifolium, Epacris miniata splendens, Ixora coccinea, Pimelea spectabilis rosea, Adenandra fragrans, Chorozema varium nanum, Acro-phyllum venosum, Clerodendron Thomsons Balfourii, Azalea Iveryana, Pimelea mirabilis, and Polygala Dalmaisiana not fully out. Mr Peed, gardener to Mrs Tredwell, Lower Norwood, was second with Tetratheca ericsefolia, Acrophyllum venosum, Lescheuaultia formosa, of which the scarlet flowers made a pleasing variety; fine plants of Erica Cavendishii and ventricosa magnifica, a large Gene-tyllis Hookeri, Eriostemon buxifolium and neriifolium, Allamanda grandiflora, not fully out, but which will be very fine; Azaleas, etc. Mr Wheeler, gardener to J. Philpott, Esq., Stamford Hill, and Mr Kemp, gardener to the Duke of Northumberland, Albury Park, Dorking, were third and fourth.
In the nurserymen's class for ten, Mrs Glendinning & Sons of the Chiswick Nurseries were first with an excellent collection, most noticeable in which were a balloon-trained Kennedya inophylla floribunda, Stephanotis floribunda, Pimelea spectabilis, Aphelexis macrantha purpurea, and Eriostemon buxifolium. Messrs Jackson & Son, Kingston, were second; Mr Williams, Holloway, third. In the corresponding class for amateurs the prizes went to Mr Wilkie; Mr Donald, gardener to J. G. Barclay, Esq., Leyton; Mr Carr, gardener to P. L. Hinds, Esq., Byfleet Lodge; and Mr Peed, an extra prize being awarded to Mr Kemp. Among their collections was a splendid plant of Medinilla magnifica from Mr Donald, Genetyllis tulipifera and Hookeri, Dracophyllum gracile, Chorozemas, Rhynchos-permum jasininoides, Clerodendron Thomsonse, Boronia tetrandra, the pretty Rose-flowered Adenandra fragrans, Epacrises, Azaleas, and Ericas. In the amateurs' class for six, Mr Ward, gardener to F. G. Wilkins, Esq., Leyton, was first with a fine plant of Chorozema Chandleri 4 feet in diameter, Clerodendron Thomsonie Balfourii, very fine; Stephanotis floribunda, large, and in beautiful condition; Erica Cavendishii, Aphelexis macrantha purpurea, and a rather small plant of Genetyllis tulipifera.
Mixed collections of flowering and fine-foliaged plants, though good, were not remarkable. Mr Laing, gardener to P. W. Flowers, Esq., Furze Down, Tooting Common, was first for twelve, with a collection in which were good examples of Dracrcna indivisa, Yucca aloifolia variegata, Dasylirion longifolium, Pandanus ornatus, Dicksonia antarctica, Aphelexis macrantha purpurea, Ixora coccinea, Erica ventricosa coccinea, and a yellow-flowered Mahernia, which, though free-flowering, has rather a weedy appearance. Mr Young, gardener to W. H. Stone, Esq., Leigh Park, Havant, was second with a good collection; and equal third prizes were awarded to Mr Foreman, gardener to G. Maule, Esq., Denmark Hill, and Mr Gell, gardener to Mrs Beaufoy, South Lambeth. The former had a fine Anthurium Scherzerianum, and the latter fine specimens of Sanchezia nobilis variegata and Pandanus elegantissimus. For collections of six, Mr Wilkie was first, Mr Peed second, and Mr Carr third. Mr Young and Mr Woodward had also good collections.
Among the plants shown were good specimens of Rhododendron Countess of Haddington, Erica insignis and Spenceriana, Dracopbyllum gracile, Leptopteris superba, Zamia Lehmanni, Crotons, Alocasia metallica, Maranta Yeitchii, and Pandanus javanicus variegatus.
There was an extensive display of Heaths, and many of the specimens were all that could be desired, though, as a whole, the show of these plants appeared less effective than usual. The most conspicuous for their excellence were Victoria, Ventricosa of different varieties, Perspicua nana, Beaumontiana, Alberti, Candi-dissima, Tricolor elegans, Massoni major, Eassoniana, Tortulseflora, Aristata major, and Candolleana. Mr Rhodes, Messrs Jackson, and Mr Morse among nurserymen, and Messrs Ward, Wheeler, and Kemp among amateurs, took the prizes for eight kinds. Those for six kinds went to Messrs Peed, Ward, Carr, and Wheeler.
Azaleas, as already remarked, were not equal to what they were at previous shows; exception must, however, be made of the magnificent plants from Mr Carson, gardener to W. R. G. Farmer, Esq., Nonsuch Park, Cheam, who was first for eight. These consisted of Triumphans, Model, Murrayana, Formosa, the yellow Sinensis, Exquisite, Stanleyana, and Criterion. Mr Wheeler, gardener to Sir F. H. Goldsmid, Bart., and Mr Gell, gardener to Mrs Beaufoy, were second and third, with very good specimens of Apollo, Violacea superba, Roi Leopold, Iveryana, Mrs Fry, and other kinds. Among nurserymen the prizes for eight were taken by Mr Williams, Mr Turner, and Mr Rhodes; and for six, by Mr Williams, Mrs Glendinning & Sons, Messrs Dobson, and Mr Rhodes. In the amateurs' class for six, Mr Chapman was first with excellent bushy plants; Mr Wilkie, Mr Woodward, and Mr Wheeler, Regent's Park, taking the remaining prizes.
Of Orchids there was but a small show, though some of the specimens were very good. Mr Young, gardener to W. H. Stone, Esq., M.P., Leigh Park, Havant, was first for twenty with a good collection, in which we noticed Cypripedium Lowii, fine Vandas, especially two varieties of Vanda tricolor, Phalsenopsis amabilis and Schilleriana, the latter with a fine branching spike 3 feet in length; Aerides Fieldingii and odoratum, a very fine Cattleya Mossise, Oncidium sphacelatum, and 0. pulverulentum. Mr Peed, who was second in the same class, had a fine Oncidium ampliatum majus, Vanda tricolor, Dendrobium chrysotoxum, etc. In the nurserymen's class for ten, Mr Williams took the first prize with a splendid plant of Aerides virens, not, however, in fine bloom, good Vandas and Cypri-pediums, a finely-coloured Cattleya superba, Anguloa uniflora, and others. The best collection shown, however, was that which was first in the class for twelve, and which came from Mr Wilson, gardener to W. Marshall, Esq. of Enfield, who had beautiful examples of Odontoglossum Alexandra, Oncidium serratum, Cypripedium villosum, Odontoglossum luteo-purpurenm, Lycaste Skinneri, Cypripedium caudatum with nine flowers, and petals upwards of 2 feet long, Lselia grandis, a Stanhopea, said to be new, with cream-coloured flowers, Aerides crispum, and Trichopilia crispa.
Mr Eckford, gardener to the Earl of Radnor, Coieshill, was second in the same class. His specimens of Saccolabium guttatum, retusum, and praemorsum were very fine, especially the last, which had eight spikes, two of which were of great beauty.
Roses were not shown so numerously as might have been expected, nor were some of the flowers exhibited so fresh as could be wished for; nevertheless, in Messrs Panl & Son's collection of ten, which took the first prize, there was a magnificent specimen of Victor Verdier, and good examples of John Hopper, Lord Clyde, and Madame Margottin. Mr Turner, who took the second prize, had some well-grown and beautifully-flowered specimens of Charles Rouillard, Miss Ingram, Clotilde Roland, and Reine du Midi. For twelve varieties in 8-inch pots, Mr Turner and Messrs Paul & Son were placed equal first. The latter firm also contributed a large miscellaneous collection, which mainly consisted of the well-known kinds.
Pelargoniums, though few, were in fair condition. Messrs Dobson & Sons, Isleworth, were the only exhibitors in the nurserymen's classes, and received the first prizes in both instances; their specimens of Maid of Honour, Marksman, Charles Turner, Statesman, and Beacon, and (among Fancies) of Lucy, Tormentor, Godfrey, and Roi des Fantasies, were especially well grown and abundantly flowered. In the amateurs' class for twelve, Mr Ward, gardener to F. G. Wilkins, Esq., exhibited some very large and well-bloomed specimens, of which the following were particularly showy: Desdemona, Sir Colin Campbell, Lilacina, Garibaldi, Etna, and Mademoiselle Patti. For six Fancies in 8-inch pots, Mr D. Donald, gardener to J. G. Barclay, Esq., came first with a very good collection; and the third was awarded to Mr W. Foreman.
The show of bouquets, which formed one of the principal features of the exhibition, did not produce such an amount of competition as was expected, nevertheless there were a few tastefully-arranged groups of three, consisting of a vase bouquet, a bridal bouquet, and one suitable for the ball-room. Those shown by Mr W. Howard, gardener to J. Brand, Esq.,Balham, took the first prize; Mr Dickson, Covent Garden, who is an artist in the manufacture of bouquets, came in second, with fine examples of taste and skill in arrangement; Mr F. Perkins of Leamington was third, M. Van der Driessche, Leys, Ghent, being awarded a special prize. Single bouquets were exhibited by Messrs Lucking Brothers, West-bourne Park; Mr F. Perkins, Leamington; and M. Van der Driessche, Leys, Ghent, who carried off the prizes in the order in which their names are mentioned. Some of these were tolerably effective, but nothing was shown of striking merit.