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 Society held its annual meeting on this date in the Baxter Park, with results most gratifying to all connected or interested in its success. The show was contained in three tents, situated near the entrance gate from the town, the large marquee being allotted to pot-plants, and the two lesser ones afforded accommodation for cut flowers, fruits, and vegetables. Immediately in front of the large tent, and between the two smaller ones, a space was enclosed and tastefully furnished with dwarf Firs and evergreen shrubs. On no former occasion has there been such a display of really fine pot-plants, and one can only attribute this success to the prizes offered for groups, for which four separate prizes were given.
Conspicuous among the groups of from twenty to twenty-five plants shown by gardeners was that furnished by Mr Heath, Clement Park Gardens, who was first with a well-assorted lot. In the nurserymen's group of thirty stove and greenhouse plants, Mr James Cocker, Aberdeen, was first; Messrs Stewart & Sons, Dundee, second; and Messrs Laird & Sinclair, Dundee, third. Other groups of less numbers were good, and the prizes well contested. Cut flowers made a good display, notwithstanding the dry summer. Dahlias were numerous, and some really excellent. Mr M'Pherson, Aberdeen, took first prize in the nurserymen's class for a stand of eighteen blooms, and Mr Cocker was second. Hollyhocks were comparatively poor, both in spikes and cut flowers. Gladioli, as is usual here, were excellent, especially those staged by Mr M 'Pherson. Roses formed a good array, the blooms nice indeed for this season of the year. Coleuses were numerously shown, and, we are inclined to think, shown to disadvantage. They stood above the reach of the eye, and too near the canvas for effect. On the whole, they formed a gloomy feature in the show. The Fuchsias were creditable to the exhibition, as also to the growers.
Pelargoniums were shown in abundance and in excellent blossom; Mr George Philip, Huntly Castle Gardens, carrying the palm with four splendid doubles; tricolor and bronze-leaved kinds were also superb. We have seen the Ferns in greater strength here, but any deficiency in numbers was amply compensated for by their fine quality. A plant of Lilium auratum was of remarkable excellence. This plant came from Mr James Fergusson, a mechanic, and any gardener might have been proud of it. One large stem sprung from the centre, adorned with thirty full-sized expanded blooms. There were also two lesser stems, the three coming out of one bulb. Strange that a company of Japanese should have visited the show, and the first object to greet them was this plant, which they at once recognised, when an exchange of warm glances, accompanied by happy mutterings, passed amongst them.
In regard to the fruit, an exceedingly fine collection came from Mr William Brow, Kilmaron Castle Gardens, which was placed first. Regarding the Grapes, suffice it to say that Mr Johnston, from Glamis Castle, was here, and was conspicuous wherever his fruit lay. His four bunches in that class were very superior, but his bunch for bloom beat all that has been witnessed on these tables. We may safely say that scarcely a bad bunch of Grapes was present, and there was a great number staged. Peaches were shown extensively, and many fine fruits were among them. Mr Philip, Castle Huntly Gardens, took first with full-sized and beautifully-coloured'fruits. A large golden-coloured sort called "Titon de Venus," sent by Mr Irvine, gardener. Hermitage, Broughty Ferry, was so good that many thought it ought to have had a prize awarded it. These Peaches were the largest on the table, very regular in form and size, with first rate flavour, but wanted the rich appearance of the others. Plums were also good and plentifully produced. Pine-Apples not very large, but in fine form and colour.
In short, the whole range of fruits did credit to the exhibition.
Vegetables were not so formidable in quantity, but their quality was unimpeachable. A. K.
[A list of prizes was sent with this, but our space is so occupied that we are compelled to abandon the publication of mere prize-lists. - Eds].