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 the second of the small spring shows, but so meagre was the tent room provided that a good many of the plants had to be placed in the conservatory, and visitors came upon them quite unexpectedly in nooks and corners, and quite away from other groups of a like character. It was very hot, too - quite a foretaste of the summer; and the company were glad to get under the shade of the umbrageous trees, where the band discoursed sweet music.
Roses in pots were the chief feature, and they were very fine. Two splendid collections, of nine varieties each, were staged by Mr W. Paul, Waltham Cross, and Messrs Paul & Son, Cheshunt, and the awards were bestowed in the order of the names. The Tea Roses in each collection were specially fine. Mr Paul had Senateur Vaisse, Glory of Waltham, John Hopper, Pierre Notting, and Baronne Adolphe de Rothschild, Hybrid Perpetuals; Paul Ricaut, Bourbon; and Souvenir d'Elise Varden, Madame de St Joseph, and Alba Rosea, Tea-scented. Messrs Paul & Son had splendid examples of the following Tea Roses, - Celine Fores-tier, President, Madame Willermoz, Souvenir d'un Ami, Souvenir d'Elise, and Madame Margottin; and of Hybrid Perpetuals, - Madame Therese Levet, Mademoiselle Marie Rady, Madame Victor Verdier, and Princess Mary of Cambridge. Mr W. Paul was also first with three new varieties, having fine examples of Antoine Ducher, Horace Vernet, and Monsieur Furtado; Messrs Paul & Son being second with Imperatrice Charlotte, Monsieur Furtado, and Madame Margottin. There were also some plants from amateur growers, as well as cut blooms, but they did not call for any special notice.
Excepting Mr Turner's six plants of half-standard Azaleas, which were nearly identical with those shown at South Kensington, the others were very poor; but who would care to bring out good plants on such a day to compete for miserably small prizes? Mr Turner was placed first, and a third prize was awarded to some one. There was a much better competition with six foliage and flowering plants, and equal first prizes were awarded to Mr G. Fairbairn, The Gardens, Sion House, and to Mr G. Wheeler, gardener to Sir F. Goldsmid, Regent's Park. In Mr Fairbairn's collection were grand specimens of Alocassia Zebrina and Anthurium acaule; also examples of Sobralia macrantha, Vanda tricolor, and Phalaenopsis amabilis. Mr Wheeler furnished an exceedingly well grown and well flowered specimen of Chorozema cordatura splendens, about 4 feet through; good examples of Eriostemon linearifolius and Clerodendron Thomsonse; a fine Dicksonia Antarctica, and a rather poor Alocassia metallica. Mr D. Wright, gardener to C. H. C. Roberts, Esq., St John's Wood, and Mr A. Wilkie, The Gardens, Oak Lodge, Addison Road, Kensington, also exhibited.
There were also good exotic Ferns from several sources, a decent lot of French spotted Pelargoniums from Messrs Dobson & Son, and some Zonal varieties from Mr George Wheeler, trained like floricultural pancakes, without a trace of freedom or natural grace. From such absurdities may common-sense speedily deliver us!
Mr Baxter, gardener to C. Keizer, Esq., Broxbourne, sent six splendid Amaryllis, very rich and handsome, named respectively Olga, Beauty of Broxbourne, Alexandra, Edmund Sibeth, Mrs Sibeth, and Othello, quite new in character, and very novel. Mr James of Isle worth, and Mr Bragg of Slough, had Pansies, and the former had Calceolarias representing his own fine strain; Messrs Dobson & Son, and Reeves Brothers, of Notting Hill, had Cinerarias and Lily of the Valley.
The florist found much of special interest in the fine lot of Auriculas staged by Mr C. Turner. In point of massiveness, of rich colouring, and the most desired variation, the magnificent group of some fifty Alpine Auriculas from Mr Turner quite eclipsed the old show kinds, though among the last there were a few flowers of excellent quality. In the nurseryman's class for show Auriculas, Mr Turner, who was the only exhibitor, received the first prize for Colonel Champneys, Miss Brightley, and Countess of Dunmore, edged flowers; and Constellation, Eclat, and Chieftain, belonging to the Alpine class. In the amateurs' class, Mr James of Isleworth was first with some flowers that were much past their best.
First-class certificates were awarded to Mr J. Butcher for Mrs Butcher, a very fine green-edged variety; and to Mr Turner for two very fine Alpine varieties named Constellation and Brunette. The same award was also made to Mr B. S. Williams for Miltonia Virginalis, a pretty white-flowered species, with a pretty rosy-striped lip. Baskets of new Variegated Pelargoniums were contributed by Messrs Carter & Co. that were quite a special feature, being varied in character, and very healthy and well coloured.