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.
On March 13th the battle of the floral exhibitions opened for the present season. Hyacinths were the prime feature, and they were produced to an extent almost unprecedented in a London show. In addition to the usual prizes given by the Royal Horticultural Society for Hyacinths, there were also some special prizes given by the bulb-growers of Holland severally for thirty-six Hyacinths, distinct sorts, and the same number in twelve sorts, three of a sort. In each instance Messrs W. Cutbush & Son, Highgate, London, were first, and Mr W. Paul, Waltham Cross, second, with splendid collections of Hyacinths, the superb finish of the flowers, and the dwarf yet vigorous foliage of the plants shown by Messrs Cutbush & Son giving them the pre-eminence. The latter had, in thirty-six distinct sorts, the following: Baron van Tuyll, Feruk Khan, Leonidas, Garrick, Charles Dickens, Oron-dates, Couronne de Celle, General Havelock, Marie, Grand Lilas, Lord Palmerston, La Nuit, and Mimosa, shades of blue; La Jeune Anne, Emmeline, Howard, Macaulay, Gigantea, Solfaterre, Ornament de la Nature, Florence Nightingale, Von Schiller, Princess Beatrice, Lord Wellington (double), Lady Sale, and Prince of Orange, shades of red; Paix de l'Europe, Mont Blanc, Princess Helena, Alba maxima, Queen of the Netherlands, Mirandoline, and Alba superbissima, whites; Due de Malakoff and Ida, yellows; and Haydn, mauve.
Mr W. Paul had Garrick, Sir John Lawrence (a fine dark sport from Charles Dickens), Grand Monarch (a fine pale blue), Couronne des Bleus, and Princess Mary of Cambridge, all three in the way of Grand Lilas; Baron van Tuyll, Charles Dickens, Bloksberg, General Havelock, Feruk Khan, Lourens Koster, Grand Lilas, and King of the Blues, shades of blue; Princess Clotilde, La Joyeuse, Macaulay, Koh-i-noor, Vuurbaak (a splendid deep bright-red new variety), Tubiflora, Princess Helena, Le Prophete, Garibaldi (deep red, very fine), Von Schiller, Prince Albert Victor, Gigantea, and Fabiola, shades of red; Alba maxima, La Gran-desse (a magnificent new variety), LTnnocence, Snowball, and Grandeur a Merveille, whites; Due de Malakoff, Ida, and Bird of Paradise, yellow; and Haydn and Sir Henry Havelock, mauve. 3d, Mr George Davies, Old Swan, Liverpool. 4th, Mr C. Turner, Slough. Messrs Van Waveren & Sons, Hillegom, Haarlem, exhibited a fine lot in glasses that had been grown in Holland; and Messrs Potter and Hawkins also staged collections.
In the class for thirty-six Hyacinths, twelve sorts, three plants of each, Messrs W. Cutbush & Son had splendid examples of Grand Lilas, Marie, Feruk Khan, General Havelock, and Baron van Tuyll, shades of blue; Gigantea, Macaulay, and Florence Nightingale, reds; Snowball and Queen of the Netherlands, whites; and Due de Malakoff and Ida, yellow. Mr W. Paul had Garrick, Feruk Khan, Princess Mary of Cambridge, and Grand Lilas, blue; Fabiola, Gigantea, Von Schiller, and Garibaldi, reds; La Gran-desse, Snowball, and Grandeur a Merveille, white; and Ida, yellow. Mr W. Cutbush, Barnet, and Mr Thomas Hawkins also exhibited.
"With eighteen Hyacinths, distinct, Mr W. Paul was first, with fine and even specimens of Baron van Tuyll, Garrick, Grand Monarch, Charles Dickens, Prince Albert, King of the Blues, and Grand Lilas, blue; Charles Dickens, mauve; Vuurbaak, Koh-i-noor, Fabiola, Von Schiller, and Ornament de la Nature, red; La Grandesse, LTnnocence, and Seraphine, white; Ida and Bird of Paradise, yellow. 2d, Messrs "W. Cutbush & Son, with Charles Dickens, Baron van Tuyll, General Havelock, Grand Lilas, and Marie, blue; Emmeline, Mrs Beecher Stowe, Macaulay, Florence Nightingale, Ornament de la Nature, and Gigantea, red; Mirandoline, Alba maxima, Grandeur a Merveille, and Queen of the Netherlands, white; Haydn, mauve; and Ida, yellow. 3d, Mr. George Davies, Messrs Turner, Yan Waveren & Sons, and W. Cut-bush, also exhibited. A new class for eighteen red Hyacinths was scarcely attractive enough to lead one to wish it should again form a part of the schedule, as, light Hyacinths predominating, there was an inevitable sameness about the collection. Mr W. Paul staged a fine lot of average size, and with an equal preponderance of dark and light shades; but unfortunately this collection was disqualified, owing to two plants of Von Schiller being staged.
The dark-red flowers were Linnseus, Prince Albert Victor, Peine des Jacinthes, Annie Lisle, and Solfaterre; of medium shades, Von Schiller, Princess Clotilde, Macaulay, Mrs Beecher Stowe, Princess Helena, and Koh-i-noor; and of pale flowers, Noble par merite, Geant des Roses, Fabiola, Ornament de la Nature, Lord Wellington (double), and Cavaignac. Messrs W. Cutbush & Son were placed fifst with Solfaterre, Lady Sale, and Cynthia, dark red; Macaulay, Mrs Beecher Stowe, Princess Clotilde, Milton, Duchess of Richmond, and Von Schiller, medium red; and Le Prophete, Cavaignac, Sussanah Maria, Ornament de la Nature, Gigantea, Duke of Wellington, Prince of Orange, Florence Nightingale, and Hogarth, pale red. There was no second prize awarded, owing to the disqualification of Mr Paul.
The Hyacinths exhibited by amateur growers were very good indeed, especially those grown in the neighbourhood of Highgate. With six kinds, Mr James Weir, gardener to Mrs Hodgson, The Elms, Hamp-stead, was first with Charles Dickens and Raphael, blue; Von Schiller and Duchess of Richmond, red; and Grandeur a Merveille and Gigantea, white. 2d, Mr Potter, gardener to B. Noakes, Esq., High-gate, with General Havelock and Grand Lilas, blue; Macaulay and Lord Wellington, red; and Snowball and Paix de l'Europe, white. 3d, Mr George Wheeler, gardener to Sir F. H. Goldsmid, Bart., Regent's Park. Three other exhibitors also competed with six Hyacinths grown in windows in pots. Mrs Noakes, North Hill, Highgate, was first - Prince of Orange, Princess Helena, and Duchess of Richmond, red; Baron van Tuyll and Grand Lilas, blue; and Grandeur a Merveille, white: 2d, Miss Wilding: 3d, Mr Janes.
But one collection of six new Hyacinths, never before exhibited, was staged, Mr W. Paul being the exhibitor. The sorts were Hector, a pale-blue flower of the build of Grand Lilas, but with more of mauve in it; White Swan, single, very poor; Double Diebitsch Sabal-kausky, a double form of this red flower; Dante, single, dark-blue, of the style of Mimosa, but, as shown, not so good; Purple Queen, a very poor dark purplish-blue single kind; and Andromache, single red, having a spike of flower similar in build to Von Schiller, but not so good in colour.
Mr W. Paul was first with six pots of Polyanthus Narcissus, having Soleil d'Or, Queen of the Netherlands, Gloriosa, Queen of Yellows, Her Majesty, and Lord Canning; 2d, Mr C. Turner, with Belle Prin-cesse, Medio luteo de France, Grande Monarque, Gloriosa superba, Bathurst, and Bazelenan Major. Messrs W. Cutbush & Son were first with twelve pots of Tulips, in six kinds, having Keizers Kroon, Proserpine broken, the flowers flaked with white; Vermilion Brilliant, Buttercup, Yellow Pottebakker, Couleur Cardinal, Van der Neer, Superintendent, and Rose Applaite. 2d, Mr W. Cutbush, Barnet, with Keizers Kroon, Proserpine, "White Pottebakker, Thomas Moore, Vermilion Brilliant, and Duchesse de Parma. Mr T. A. Steel, Hammersmith, was first in the amateurs' class for twelve pots of Tulips in four kinds, having kinds similar to the foregoing. Collections of Crocuses were shown by Messrs W. Paul and W. Cutbush & Son, the prizes being given in the order of the names; but the Crocuses were past their best, the forward season having told upon them.
Splendid pots of Lily of the Valley were shown by Mr W. Cutbush, Barnet, and fine Primulas and Cyclamens were shown by Mr Wiggins, gardener to W. Beck, Esq., Isle worth, the first prizes being awarded in this way.
There were also cut Camellias, a collection of forced Roses in pots from Messrs Paul & Son, and large groups of miscellaneous plants from Messrs W. Bull and B. S. Williams, to whom special prizes were awarded. Messrs Downie, Laird, & Laing had capital examples of three of the new Golden-leaved Coleuses they are shortly to send out - viz., Baroness Rothschild, Albert Victor, and Princess Beatrice, the two first named being well coloured and bright-looking. Mr H. Cannell had a group of bedding Pelargoniums, and Mr Thomas Ware, Tottenham, an extremely interesting basket of spring flowering plants. Altogether, the show was a great success; and the day being fine, the company was large.
In the evening, the representatives - nine in number - of the Dutch bulb-growing houses, who had come to England to witness the competition for the prizes they had given, were entertained at dinner at Freemasons' Tavern by some of the leading exhibitors and others; Mr Thomas F. Wilding, F.R.H.S., one of the judges, being in the chair, and Mr James Cutbush, Highgate, in the vice-chair, Messrs William Paul, R. Dean, Peter Barr, etc, being also present. The general opinion expressed by the guests was to the effect, that the Splendour Hyacinths exhibited on that day far transcended their most sanguine expectations, and that the response made to the competition they had invited was satisfactory in the highest degree to those who had given the special prizes.