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.
There were but few prizes offered by the Society, and little or no competition in any of the classes. Begonias, Celosias, Penstemons, Stocks, Zinnias, etc, were the subjects invited.
A new seedling white Grape named Winter Muscadine was exhibited by Mr W. Paul, of Waltham Cross. It was much admired, and the Committee requested that it be sent in the winter to show its keeping qualities. The Potatoes were well represented by the best growers. Mr It. Fenn, of The Rectory, Woodstock, sent a number of seedlings and graft-hybrids. Of the last-named the opinions of practical men are wide as the poles asunder, but nine out of ten are agreed that it is a very uncertain speculation. The seedlings raised by Mr Fenn, on the other hand, are of high merit; both in shape and quality there is not much room left for improvement. Rector of Woodstock, a very fine white round variety, has already received a first-class certificate.
As it is now getting late in the season, there were but few new plants exhibited. Messrs Veitch, of Chelsea, exhibited a choice group of stove and greenhouse plants, Orchids, etc. Vriesia brachystachys, a handsome compact plant with spikes of gold and crimson flowers, and Agave rotundifolia, received first-class certificates. Mr Green, gardener to W. W. Saunders, Esq., Hillfield, Reading, received the same award for Hechtia argentea; as did Mr Denning, gardener to Lord Londesborougb, for Pescatorea Wallisii. The same award was given to Mr Knight, Hailsham, for his new climbing Rose Princess Louise: it was exhibited in June. The flowers are medium-sized, pale rose, and nicely cupped.
The following florist flowers received first-class certificates - Verbenas, Lady Braybrook, Lady Gertrude, and Mauve Queen, from Mr Eckford, gardener to the Earl of Radnor, Coleshill. Seedling Dahlias have been unusually numerous this season, and some of the flowers exhibited were of a high order of merit. Mr C. Turner, of Slough, again sent Mrs Waite. This time it received a first-class award, as did Livonia and Mephistopheles. Mr Parker, Maidens Green, Winkfield, sent a very fine fancy named Admiration, which received a first-class, and John Batten, a maroon-coloured flower, second-class certificates.
Second-class awards were also given to Mr Turner for Master M'Grath, Ranunculus, and Bucks Lass; to Mr Rawlings, of Romford, for Golden Beauty and Mrs Bennet. Worthy of special note was a magnificent spike of Saccolabium Blumei Dayanum, 20 inches in length, from Mr Russell, of May field, Falkirk, and a cut spike of Cattleya elegans. The first named was thought worthy of a medal, and the Cattleya received a special certificate.
This was the usual meeting of the Royal Horticultural Society's Fruit and Floral Committee. Exhibition of Grapes, of edible and poisonous fungi. An international exhibition of fruit was also announced by the Council. Only four weeks' notice was given, but valuable gold and silver medals were offered for collections of fruit. Both home and foreign exhibitors were invited, and the result was the best exhibition of fruit held in London since the International of 1862. Apples came first on the list, and numerous meritorious collections were put up. Mr W. Paul, of Waltham Cross, gained the gold medal with 171 distinct varieties, culinary and dessert; MM. Baltet freres, of Troyes, France, being a close second. At first sight the foreign collection seemed the best, the fruit in most instances being larger; but on a closer examination the solid, cleanly-grown, and even-sized fruit sent by Mr Paul was at once apparent. For collections of dessert Apples, Mr Chaff, gardener to A. Smee, Esq., Carshalton, was first with fifty distinct sorts; Mr R. Webb, Calcot, Reading, being second. In culinary Apples, Mr S. Ford, gardener to W. E. Hubbard, Esq., Leonardslee, Horsham, Sussex, was first with eighty dishes; Mr Chaff coming in second.
To particularise even the principal collections would be a hopeless task, but I noted as the best dessert Apples the following - Adam's Pearmain, Dutch Mignonne, Golden Pippin, Kerry Pippin, King of the Pippins, Manx Codlin, Nonpareil, Orange Pippin (Cox), Pearson's Plate, Ribston Pippin, Reinette du Canada, etc. Of culinary varieties, there were fine examples of Alexander, Blenheim Pippin, Cox's Pomona, Dumelow's seedling Cellini, New Hawthornden, Lord Derby, Bess Pool, Lord Suffield, Tower of Glamis, and Warner's King.
For the most complete collection of Pears, the gold medal went to MM. Bal-tet freres - for a most magnificent collection containing over 300 distinct varieties of large, clean, well-grown fruit. The same exhibitors carried off the first prizes both for dessert and culinary Pears; the most conspicuous for size and beauty being of dessert - Beurre Bachelier, Beurre de Nantes, Beurre Baltet frere, Beurre Superfin, Beurre Diel, Beurre Hardy, Conseiller de la Cour, Columba, De Tongre, Duchess d'Angouleme, General Todleben, Fondante Chirriot (a new variety), and Triomphe de Jodoigne; of culinary varieties there were fine examples of Crassane d'Hardenpoint, Belle Angevine, De Livre, Lieutenant Poitevin, and Catillac.
The gold medal for the collection of Grapes fell to Messrs Lane, of Great Berk-hampstead, with excellent examples: the Muscats were magnificent; the varieties were Gros Guillaume, Trebbiano, Bowood Muscat, Muscat Hamburg, Alicante, Buckland Sweetwater, Pope's Hamburg, Esperione, Golden Champion, Black Hamburg, Lady Downes, Duchess of Buccleuch, Frankenthal, Black Prince, Foster's Seedling, West's St Peter's, Mrs Pince, and Burchard's Prince. Mr Meredith, of Garston, was second with bunches inferior to what he generally exhibits. For a single bunch of "White Grapes, Messrs Lane were first with Bowood Muscat. The best bunch of Black was a well-finished one of Alicante from Mr E. Clark, gardener to J. C. Brown, Esq., Horsham. The heaviest bunch of Grapes came from Mr Bannerman, gardener to Lord Bagot, Blithfield Hall, Rugeley, a fine one of Gros Guillaume weighing 6 lb. The best collection of Black Grapes also came from Mr Bannerman, six varieties; Messrs Lane were second with thirteen varieties, - the last-named exhibitors coming in first for the collection of white Grapes with nine distinct sorts. A very interesting collection was sent from the Society's Gardens, Chiswick. The stoneless Monukka and Madresfield Court were remarkable.
The last named is decidedly the best of the new Grapes, the examples exhibited being grown in a cool house with Black Hamburg, and were superior in flavour to that good old sort.
Splendid fruit of Brockworth Park Pear were exhibited by Messrs Wheeler. They were of large size, but are very similar to the best examples of Louise Bonne of Jersey.
This was one of the most interesting meetings of the season. Some very fine collections of Potatoes, Onions, and other vegetables were exhibited. Messrs Veitch of Chelsea received a special certificate for collections of Beet and Endive. The best Beets for flavour and appearance were Cattell's Crimson, Dewar's Dwarf, and Dell's Crimson. The Endive was very remarkable: Veitch's White curled, Green curled, and Moss curled were the best sorts. Mr J. Parsons, of Leamington, sent bunches of the Abercairney Grape; they proved to be excellent examples of Alicante. Many new Grapes were sent to this meeting. Mr Bannerman exhibited a seedling black variety with immense berries. Mr A. Ingram, Alnwick Castle, sent a black variety similar in appearance to Mrs Pince, but more juicy and of good flavour. Mr Pearson, Chilwell, Nottingham, sent Abram Bass, a new black Grape of much promise; the berries are large, oval, of excellent flavour, and it forms a large compact bunch. A special certificate was awarded to Mr Cox, of Madresfield Court Gardens, for fine examples of Victoria Nectarine.
Mr Williams, of Holloway, sent Macrozamia spiralis, a dense-growing species, with graceful recurved dark-green leaves. A new hardy shrub, Desmodium penduliflorum, a very floriferous plant of graceful appearance, with drooping racemes of purplish crimson flowers, came from Mr W. Bull, of Chelsea; both the above received first-class certificates. Several groups of plants were exhibited. Mr Bull, of Chelsea, had a large collection containing some fine plants. Messrs Veitch had a small collection of choice things: Cattleya exoniensis, with fine spikes; this is one of the most startling results of Mr Downing's labours as a hybridist: C. Dominiana, another superb hybrid; and Cypripedium Harrisianum, the best hybrid Cypripedium; the pure-white Saccolabium Harrisoni, and some others. Messrs Standish exhibited hybrid Gladioluses, the results of crosses between Cruentus and the Gandavensis and Brenchleyensis section, but he has not yet raised any startling novelty. J. Douglas.