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.
At the periodical meetings of this Society prizes are offered for a few things, and though the amounts of these are not very large, they generally occasion a smart competition. On this occasion the fungologists had an exhibition, prizes being offered for collections of edible Fungi, as well as for collections of edible and poisonous Fungi, separately arranged.
The Fruit Committee had to award prizes for the best dish of Grapes, consisting of six bunches of any variety, grown in the open air against the walls, without any protection whatever. A large number of Grapes were staged: the first prize was awarded to Mr Hepper of Acton, with Royal Muscadine; and the second prize to Mr Norris of Broadclyst, with the same variety. There were good examples of Black Hamburg, West's St Peter's, Bidwell's Seedling, Esperione, Black-cluster, etc, and, in awarding the prizes, the judges appeared to give too much importance to flavour, and nothing to cultivation. The best collection of black Grapes came from Mr Bannerman, Blithfield Gardens, Rugeley, and consisted of Barbarossa, Lady Downes, Alicante, and Blithfield Seedling, a Black Hamburg type in the way of Mill Hill Hamburg - these being the best; also Gros Guillaume, Mrs Pince's Muscat, Black Prince, and West's St Peter's. Messrs Lane & Son, Berkhamstead, was second; their collection contained some nice berries of Muscat Hamburg and Frankenthal. Two somewhat indifferent collections of white Grapes were staged by Messrs Lane & Son, and Douglas, Loxford Hall Gardens, and equal second prizes were awarded them, the first prize being withheld.
Mr Douglas had a small bunch of Golden Champion, with some nice berries on it, and a very good bunch of Buckland Sweetwater. In the class for a single dish of black Grapes, Black Alicante took the first and second prizes; a glorious bunch came from Mr Mattram. The best single bunch of white Grapes was Muscat of Alexandria, from Mr C. Turner, a truly regal bunch, large, handsome, fine berries, and beautifully coloured.
Mr Barron of the Chiswick Gardens exhibited a fine bunch of the Madresfield Court Black Grape, in grand condition, and its excellent development and flavour was rewarded with the high approbation of the Committee. This appears to be in every respect the best new Grape of modern introduction; and Messrs J. & C. Lee deserve praise for their unfaltering faith in the high qualities of this variety. A green-skinned Fig, named Monaco bianco, having a deep-red flesh, and of most excellent flavour, was also sent from Chiswick.