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.
Dahlias, Asters, and Verbenas were invited as cut flowers. There were also Liliums and Asters in pots; these, with the numerous flowers and fruit sent to the committees, entirely filled the council-room, and made a very interesting show. This was a better arrangement, I think, than exhibiting the new things in the council-room and the others in a tent, when the subjects are not sufficiently numerous to fill both places. Not many stands of Dahlias were shown, but one or two of them contained very fine flowers. Messrs Kelway & Son of Langport were first in the (open) class for 21; Mr Turner of Slough being placed second with a stand containing all seedling flowers. In the amateurs' class, Mr C. J. Perry, Castle, Bromwich, had the best flowers.
Asters were well shown as cut flowers, the colours being very bright. For 21 blooms, not quilled, Mr G. Wheeler, of Warminster, was first; Messrs Kelway & Son, of Langport, being placed second. In the amateurs' class for 12 blooms, Mr Rowe, of the Rookery, Rochampton, had the best. Asters in pots were not remarkable: Mr Rowe was first; and Mr Porter, gardener to Mrs Benham, Sion Lodge, Isleworth, second.
Mr C. J. Perry exhibited an excellent stand of 21 Verbenas, 5 trusses of each variety, and received the first prize. A stand of very fine seedlings was also exhibited by Mr Eckford, gardener to the Earl of Radnor, Coleshill.
Mr Bull of Chelsea was the only exhibitor of Liliums in the class for 6, distinct. He showed well-grown plants of L. auratum, L. auratum pictum, L. speciosum album, L. speciosum superbum, and L. tigrinum.
There was a very good display of fruit on this occasion, the most notable of which was the new seedling Grapes raised by Mr Pearson of Chilwell; one of them, named Dr Hogg, was thought worthy of a first-class, certificate. The bunches are large, berries large, quite round, of a golden colour, with a fine Frontignan flavour. A seedling from Mrs Fince, which the Committee requested to see again, has a well-shaped bunch, large free-setting berries of excellent flavour, and seems to be a good keeping sort.
Mr Turner of Slough sent a basket of a new Plum, "Bonne Bouche;" it had previously received a first-class certificate. The fruit resembles Green Gage in flavour, is much larger, and a desirable acquisition.
A large box of Onions was sent from Mr W. G. Pragnelt, Castle Gardens, Sherbouine. The collection was specially awarded, and attracted much attention. They were perhaps the best examples ever exhibited - James's Keeping, Nuneham Park, Danver's Yellow, New Giant, White Tripoli, Giant Rocca, Giant Madeira, and White Lisbon, were the most remarkable.
There was a goodly number of florist flowers sent to this meeting, especially Dahlias. Messrs Veitch & Sons sent new plants - amongst them, Amaranthus salicifolius. It is one of the finest plants of the season, and will be invaluable for subtropical gardening. The plants sent were lifted from the open ground, and were exceedingly robust and healthy; the foliage resembles that of Croton angustifolium in its graceful weeping appearance, of a purplish crimson colour, some of the leaves having an orange tinge: Masdevallia (amabilis?), a very pretty species in the way of Lindeni, which has recently been introduced by them. Both plants received first-class certificates. The same award was given to Mr W. Bull for Dracaena splendens, a compact plant with short bronzy metallic leaves.
M. Jean Vershaffelt of Ghent sent a very fine collection of recently-introduced Agaves. The following were selected for first-class awards: A. dealbata compacta, a neat-growing, Yucca-looking plant, with short glaucous leaves; A. Toneliana, A. Celsiana albida, and A. nigrispinis. Second-class certificates were voted to A. dealbata compacta and A. angustifolia. The following Dahlias received first-class certificates: Mrs Saunders, yellow-tipped white, a large, well-built flower; Souvenir de Herbert Turner, fine white; John Standish, bright red; and Kate Haslam, a large lilac-rose flower, with well-formed petals, from* Mr C. Turner; William Keynes, an orange-red flower, of great depth and perfect arrangement of petal; Dolly Varden, fancy blush white, tinged and striped crimson, from Mr Keynes of Salisbury; Maid of Essex, petals blush-tipped purple, a compact, well-formed flower, from Mr Rawlings of Romford; Lady Herschel, a very neat crimson-tipped flower, from Mr Parker of Winkfield. Second-class certificates were given to Mrs Waite, from Mr Turner; William Laird and Marchioness of Lome, from Mr Keynes; and to Model, from Mr C. Lidgard of Hammersmith.
From the seedling Verbenas exhibited by Mr Perry, Emma Weaver was selected for a first-class certificate; it is a promising blush flower. Lady Edith, white carmine, red centre, and Pluto, brilliant crimson-scarlet, fine large flower, received the same awards, from Mr Eckford. Mr J. J. Chater, Gonville Nursery, Cambridge, received a first-class certificate for Hollyhock Peerless, a fine buff-coloured flower, with a high centre and distinct guard-petal. Jeanie, a fine white flower, and Rose of Sharon, rosy-crimson, from Mr D. Mackellar, gardener, Colewortb, Bedford, were thought worthy of the same distinction.
Mr Tillery, gardener, Welbeck, sent seedling Gladioli, to one of which - Celestial, a novel flower, white ground, with a distinct margin of deep red - a first-class certificate was awarded. J. Douglas.