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 was another very poor show, altogether unlike the displays that used to be made here a few years ago. So much has the schedule been cut down, that exhibitors scarcely care to bring their plants; and the groups of stove and greenhouse plants arranged for effect were of a very ordinary kind. Such a class as this admits of a great deal of stuff that is little better than rubbish being mixed in with what is of a respectable appearance.
On this occasion only two groups were shown in competition, Messrs J. & C. Lee, of Hammersmith, securing the first prize, and Messrs Arthur Henderson & Co. the second. In neither case was the exhibition at all striking, yet the large sum of £25 was taken between the two. Messrs E. G. Henderson & Son sent a collection of bedding - plants, similar to that shown at the last exhibition, and secured a first prize; a second award being made to Mr John Aldred, Kil-burn, for a modest but pleasing display, including a faithful representation of an anchor - presumably of Hope - worked out with Pyrethrum Golden Feather and blue Lobelias. Mr R. Parker, Tooting, had the best collection of 24 hardy herbaceous plants, including excellent specimens of Betonica grandifiora, CEno-thera venusta, fine yellow; Paeonia albiflora Lucrece, large, white, and rose; Potentilla hybrida William Rollisson, with large semi - double orange - scarlet flowers; Tradescantia virginica alba, and Pyrethrum, etc. A neat collection of 20 moderate - sized greenhouse plants, in 8 - inch pots, came from Messrs Jackson & Son, and a first prize was awarded.
Some very good Heaths were contributed by Mr J. Carr, Mr J. Wheeler, Mr J. Ward, Messrs Jackson & Son, and Mr Ransley Tanton, and lent much towards enlivening the exhibition tent. Mr B. S. Williams sent the best 6 Orchids, including a magnificent Cypripedium; and Mr Ward the best 8 in the amateurs' class; Mr Bull being second in the former, Mr I. Hill taking a similar position in the latter class.
Fuchsias in pots were pretty well done, both in the amateurs' and nurserymen's classes. The best in the latter case were staged by Mr Cannell, of Woolwich, who had Alba coccinea, Lizzie Hexham, Puritani, Lustre, Starlight, and Try-me-Oh. Show Pelargoniums were past their best, though nicely shown: of Zonal Pelargoniums, Mr J. Catlin, gardener to Mrs Lermitte, Finchley, had well-grown and finely-flowered plants of Clipper. Tintoret, Leader, Commander, Oliver, and Mons. Rendatler.
The exhibition of fruit was excellent, and quite up to the average. The best collection of fruit, arranged as a dessert for the dinner-table, came from Mr T. Bannerman, gardener to Lord Bagot, and consisted of good dishes of Black Hamburgh and Foster's White Seedling Grapes (?), two nice Pines, two good dishes of Peaches, and one of Nectarines, the latter being fine in size but pale in colour; a handsome-looking Melon, and dishes of Cherries and Strawberries. Mr Clark, gardener to Earl Cowper, Brocket Hall, was second with a similar collection. The first prize for one Pine-Apple, any variety, was adjudged to a handsome Queen, weighing 5 lb. 11 oz., from Mr Ward, gardener to T. N. Miller, Esq., Bishop-Stortford; equal second prizes being taken by Mr Bertram, gardener to R. S. Crawshay, Esq., Cyfartha Castle, with a Providence, weighing 10 lb., and Mr Penford, gardener to Earl Radnor, Longford Castle; while Mr Grant, gardener to G. Plucknett, Esq., Finchely, came in third with a Queen, weighing 4 lb. 7 oz. Twenty Melons were shown in competition in the class for green-fleshed varieties, and, as a rule, were much better flavoured than the scarlet - fleshed kinds.
The best of the former was a finely-flavoured fruit, named Colston Basset Seedling, shown by Mr Lamb, Colston Basset, Bingham; the next best being a large unnamed variety from Mr Cross, gardener to Sir F. Goldsmith, Rendcombe Park, Gloucestershire; Mr J. Douglas, gardener to F. Whitbourn, Esq., Loxford Hall, taking third honours with a good specimen of Meredith's Hybrid Cashmere. Weir's Eclipse, a medium-sized, moderately thick-fleshed, and good-flavoured Melon, from Mr J. Weir, gardener to Mrs Hodgson, The Elms, Hampstead, was first in the scarlet-fleshed class. The best basket of Grapes, of not less than 12 lb., came from Mr G. Ward, being Black Hamburghs, with good berries, well coloured, and having plenty of bloom; Mr M. Henderson came in second with a smaller-berried lot, but with plenty of colour. Mr M. Henderson was first for the best dish of Black Grapes, with medium-sized bunches, very large berries, and well finished; Mr Miller, Combe Abbey, taking second honours, with fine bunches, smaller in berry than the former, but fine in colour and bloom.
A very good dish of Buckland Sweetwater, contributed by Mr A. Reid, gardener to L. Huth, Esq., Passingworth, Essex, was placed first in the class for White Grapes; Mr G. Douglas being second with large, well-grown bunches of the same variety. Of Peaches, 2 dishes, 13 lots were staged, the best being very fine examples of Bellegarde and Royal George, from Mr Jack, gardener to the Duke of Cleveland, Battle Abbey: Mr W. Davies was second with the same varieties; and Mr C. Ross, gardener to C. Eyre, Esq., third, with Violette Hative and Royal George, large, but pale in colour. In addition to the above varieties, shown in other collections, were some fine Grosse Mignonne. Mr Miles, gardener to Lord Carringtou, showed the best Nectarines, very fine Elruge, of a beautiful colour; Mr Carmichael, gardener to H. R.H. the Prince of Wales, being second with good examples of Elruge and Violette Hative. Mr Miles was also first for Black and White Cherries, with admirable fruit of Black Circassian and Bigarreau Napoleon. Mr J. Douglas took first honours for 4 and 2 dishes of Strawberries, with well-grown specimens of Frogmore Late Pine, La Constante, Mr Radclyffe, Sir Harry, and British Queen.