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 a grand exhibition. Competent judges were agreed that it brought together the finest list of plants seen for a long time. But how can magnificent plants be seen to advantage in these horrible arcades?
Stove and Greenhouse, Flowering and Fine-foliaged Plants formed one of the main features of the exhibition, and were well represented in the various classes. Mr B. Peed, gardener to Mrs Treadwell, Lower Norwood, S., was first for twelve, with good specimens of Franciscea calycina and confertifiora, Pimelea Hendersoni, a good Erica Cavendishiana, a beautifully grown and flowered Allamanda grandiflora, and Ixora coccinea, and Eriostemon buxifolius, in fine condition. Mr Wilkie, the Gardens, Oak Lodge, Kensington, was second with Dracophyllum gracile, nicely flowered, Pimelea mirabilis, a good specimen of Erica depressa, Francisca confertifiora, etc.; and Mr J. Wheeler came third with well-bloomed specimens of Erica Cavendishiana, Epacris miniata splendens, Aphelexis rosea, and Darwinia (Genetyllis) tulipifera, etc. In the nurseryman's class for six, Mr B. S. Williams came first with a fine Azalea Brilliant, a well-grown well-flowered Boronia pinnata, Pimelea mirabilis, and a good specimen of Phsenocomo prolifera, etc.; and Messrs Glen-dinning & Sons second with Polygala oppositifolia, Eriostemon buxifolius, Aphelexis macrantha purpurea, and Stephanotis floribuuda, in good condition.
The first for six was taken by Mr J. Ward, with good specimens of Bougainvillea glabra, Clerodendron Balfourianum, Stephanotis floribunda, Aphelexis macrantha purpurea, etc, all grand and well-furnished specimens. Mr Carr, gardener to P. L. Hinds, Esq., was second with fine young vigorous specimens, among them an admirable bush of Phcenocoma; and Mr A. Wright, who had fine specimens of Pimelea mirabilis, Ixora coccinea, and Dipladenia amabilis, etc, was third. Mr W. Kemp was placed first for six in 12-inch pots, with tolerable examples of Leschen aultia formosa, Aphelexis humilis rosea, Erica ventricosa coccinea minor, Azalea rosea superba, etc. Mr Wilkie came second, and Mr G. Wheeler third, with plants of a very inferior character. The best specimen stove or greenhouse plant was an admirably-grown freely-flowered Medinilla magnifica, exhibited by Mr Wilkie. Messrs J. & C. Lee took the second prize with a monster specimen of Erica Cavendishiana, and an extra prize was awarded to Messrs Glendinning & Sons, who had a large and finely-flowered Pimelea spectabilis.
The best nine fine-foliaged plants came from Mr Fairbairn, Syon House Gardens, who had a good specimen of Alocasia metallica, Ficus Porteana, a well-grown plant; and a similarly healthy - looking Theophrasta imperialis, Cocos nucifera, very large; Phoenix farinifera, and a grand Thamnopteris Nidus, etc. Mr W. Taylor, gardener to J. Yates, Esq., Higbgate, was second. In his collection were well-grown specimens of Rhopala corcovadesis, Curculigo recurvata, Encephalartos Caffra, Dracaena lineata, and Dion edule; and Mr Burley, Albert Nursery, Bayswater, third with a well-grown Aralia Sieboldii variegata, Chamserops Fortunei, a very large, a very good Dracsena indivisa, Dieksonia Antarctica, Eurya latifolia variegata, etc. For six, the first prize was taken by W. Taylor, who had admirably-grown specimens of Littsea juncea, Croton variegatum, Cycas revoluta, etc. Mr Fairbairn was second with Thrinax elegans, Latania borbonica, Anthurium acaule, and a well-grown Maranta rosea picta, etc.; and Mr A. "Wright third, showing amongst his group admirable specimens of Pandanus ornatus, and Cupania filicifolia, etc.
Ferns were numerously exhibited, and the collections generally were very effective. For twelve stove or greenhouse varieties, Mr A. Wright was first with beautifully-grown specimens of Gleichenia semivestita, Brainea insignis, Blechnum corcovadense, Adiantum cuneatum, Cibotium Schiedei, etc. Mr W. Taylor was second with a very effective group, in which Cyathea princeps, Gymnogramma ochracea, Adiantum formosum, Cyathea medullaris, Microlepia strigosa, Davallia builata, etc, were well-grown examples. Mr J. Carr was first for six, with good specimens of Alsophila excelsa, Adiantum Farleyense, etc.; Mr "Wilkie second, showing Lomaria gibba and nuda, Cyathea dealbata, etc.; and Mr C. Smith, who had good specimens of Woodwardia radicans and Adiantum cuneatum in his collection, was third. In Hardy Ferns, Messrs Ivery & Son, Dorking, were first with a group of charming plants, while well-grown plants of Adiantum Capillis-Veneris, Onoclea sensibilis, Polystichum angulare var. proliferum, etc, were shown by Mr C. Smith, gardener to C. Walton, Esq., Acton; and Messrs Salter & Son contributed Struthiopteris Pennsylvania, Osmunda Claytoniana, regalis rubra, and spectabilis, Lastrea Standishii, etc, in excellent condition.
For the best six Agaves, the first prize was taken by Mr B. S. Williams, who had nicely-furnished specimens of geminiflora, filifera, longifolia, densifolia, Americana medio-picta, etc.
Twelve varieties of Coleus, in 8-inch pots, was contributed by Messrs Downie, Laird, & Laing, who took the first prize with Princess Beatrice, very showy; Albert Victor, very distinct; Bausei, Prince Consort, Baroness Rothschild, and Her Majesty; and by Mr Turner, who came second, with Princess of Wales, Tel-fordi, Princess-Royal, Pretender, and Royal Purple, a dark variety, after the style of Berkeleyi. Messrs E. G. Henderson and Messrs Carter & Co. also exhibited small though well-coloured plants of the now well-known varieties. These prove to be very effective plants for exhibition purposes.
New plants were not so numerous as on the last occasion. Messrs Veitch were first and second for the best six with Thunia Bensonise, Darwinia fimbriata, Mas-devallia Veitchiana, Nepenthes rubra, Iresine Lindeni, Ansectochilus Dawsoni, etc. The same firm were also first and second for one new plant shown for the first time, taking the first with Begonia Sedeni and the second with Masdevallia coccinea, to both of which first-class certificates were awarded. For one new-plant not found in commerce, the Messrs Veitch were again placed first and second with Davallia Moorei and Croton Veitchii, which were also honoured with first-class certificates.