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.
Cyclamens and Cinerarias were the principal subjects invited at this meeting: it is too late in the season for the former, and the latter were shown in second-rate order only, so that they were of minor importance to the numerous fine collections of Orchids and other plants, and to the magnificent groups of Roses in pots sent for exhibition. Also growing in a large tub, and placed in the centre of the Conservatory, was a grand specimen of Rhododendron arboreum, upwards of 20 feet in height, and covered with fully-expanded trusses of its striking deep blood-red flowers. Roses were sent for exhibition by Mr W. Paul of Waltham Cross, Messrs Veitch of Chelsea, Paul & Son, and Lane & Son; all of them had healthy well-grown plants. Messrs Paul & Son sent their new climbing Rose, Victor Verdier, and the first-class award given to it at the Royal Botanic was confirmed here. Of varieties which ought to be universally grown I noted the following: - Marquise de Mortemart, delicate flesh, shading to white. Mr W. Paul had it very fine, but it is not generally of free growth.
Madame Creyton, very beautiful; Francois Treyve, dark shining scarlet; Madeline Nonin, a fine globular Rose; Marie Ducher, extra fine Tea; Princess Christian, an immense rosy peach flower, with great breadth and substance of petal; Souvenir de Poiteau, Hippolyte Flandrin, and Paul Neron, a fine dark rose flower, but has a tendency to show the centre in old flowers. Mr Needle, gardener to the Comte de Paris, York House, Twickenham, sent thirty pots of Orchids and Ophrys, natives of Spain, Italy, and Sicily. The plants were in luxuriant health, and flowering profusely; certainly a more interesting and attractive little group of plants has never before been exhibited: and the Lindley Medal could not be more worthily bestowed than on the cultivator of these little gems. The Floral Committee recommended to the Council that it be awarded to them.
The collections of plants were too numerous to be indicated separately. In the collection of Messrs Veitch was a plant of Anthurium Scherzerianum from Costa Rica, with the largest and most brilliant-coloured flower-spathes yet seen. Mr W. Bull had a fine Palm for dinner-table decoration, named Daemonorops cinna-monica, and "Welfia regia, an equally desirable variety for general decoration. Mr "Williams of Hollo way exhibited Chamaedorea Ernesti-Augusti in flower; the inflorescence resembles the catkins on the "Willow. Mr Noble of Bagshot sent a collection of new Clematises; nearly all of them possess vigour of growth, and the flowers are of good form and substance, possessing at the same time many distinct shades of colour; the best are - Miss Bateman, creamy white; Albert Victor, bluish lilac; Princess Mary has a distinct rosy-pink shade. Lord and Lady Lon-desborough are also fine; they must certainly be well adapted for greenhouse and conservatory decoration. Thus early in the season, Mr C. Turner of Slough had collections of alpine and show Auriculas; they will doubtless be shown better at the next meeting. The plants on this occasion were not so good as they are generally shown.
I hear the Auricula is not doing very well "down south." this season.
Messrs Carter & Co. of High. Holborn sent a seedling Cucumber named Marquis of Lome, evidently presuming that size was the main point of merit: it measured 28½ inches long by 8 inches in girth. As exhibited, it can hardly be said to be an acquisition. The same firm sent examples of Sandringham Celery, much the same as Turner's Incomparable White. Mr Cadger, The Gardens, Luton Hoo, also sent a brace of seedling Cucumbers, but they were too old to judge of their merits. So-called seedling Cucumbers are shown in abundance, differing little from existing varieties. As a smooth Cucumber, both for winter and summer use, there is none better than Telegraph. For exhibition purposes, as a white Spine take Pearson's Long Gun, and Turner's Blue Gown as a black Spine variety; but it is not easy to get a true stock. Mr Lockie, who is the raiser of Blue Gown and the best grower in these parts, keeps his stock true from cuttings.
Some very interesting subjects were sent to this meeting. Messrs Veitch were specially awarded for Darlingtonia californica, the North American Pitcher-plant in flower, the first time it has bloomed in Europe; the whole plant is of the most curious construction; the flowers droop, and are of a greenish-yellow colour streaked with dull red: it is, I believe, quite hardy in England. A special certificate was also voted to Messrs Bell & Thrope, Stratford-on-Avon, for a remarkably fine plant of Rhododendron Jenkinsii; it seems to be related to R. Dalhousiae; it was bearing numerous trusses of fine flowers. Messrs Rollisson & Son received a first-class certificate for Torenia auric-ulsefolia, a charming little plant, with ovate leaves forming a tuft, from the centre of which its small flowers are thrown up; they are of a pleasing light-blue streaked with white. The same award was given to Mr J. Atkins of Painswick for a perfectly hardy succulent plant named Cotyledon spinosa, a very neat compact thing, with prettily-rounded spines; also for Saxifraga valdensis, a very pretty species with pure-white flowers, which are borne on slender stalks 1 inch in height.
Mr B. S. Williams of Holloway also received a first-class certificate for Amaryllis Prince Henry; it has well-formed flowers of a large size, creamy white streaked with crimson.
Mr W. Lee, florist, Arundel, sent cut flowers of a new forcing Pink named Princess Louise, with large full flowers of a bright-red colour; it will be a great acquisition, and would doubtless have received a first-class certificate if the Committee had been assured that it was not a Carnation, Mr Lee not having sent a plant or foliage.
Prizes were offered by the Society in Class 1 for six Odontoglossums, distinct. Mr Bull was the only exhibitor, and received the first prize; his plants were very small. He had a good variety of O. Alexandra?, O. gloriosum, O. triumphans, O. cordatum, O. nebulosum, and O. luteo-purpureum.
Collection of Cyclamens. Mr Goddard, gardener to H. Little, Esq., Cambridge Villa, Twickenham, was first with a fine collection containing many beautiful and distinct varieties; Mr C. Edmonds, Hayes Nursery, second; and Mr James, of Isleworth, third.
Classes 3 and 4 were also for Cyclamens, the same exhibitors taking the prizes.
9 Cinerarias, distinct. Mr Lacey, gardener to C. S. Mortimer, Esq., Wigmore Park, Dorking, was first, and Mr James second; the plants exhibited being very inferior to those exhibited some years ago, the heads of flower measuring only 15 inches across.
6 Amaryllis, distinct. Mr Baxter, gardener to C. Reiser, Esq., Brox-bourne, Herts, was the only exhibitor, and was awarded first prize with seedlings of his own: he has not only succeeded in raising some very fine varieties, but he also grows them well.
For 6 Bulbous Plants in Flower, Mr Ware was again the only exhibitor, and received a first prize with Narcissus juncifolius, Muscaria botryoides, Triteleja uniflora, Fritillaria pyrenaica, and Crown Imperials.
Classes 9, 10, and 11 were for braces of smooth, white, and black spined Cucumbers. Mr Lockie, gardener to F. W. Berger, Esq., Court Gardens, Great Mar-low, was first in all the classes with Telegraph smooth, Gillet's Recruit white spine, and excellent examples of Blue Gown black-spine variety, although they are not nearly so good as he has shown it in previous years. Mr Douglas, gardener to F. Whitbourn, Esq., Ilford, was second in the smooth and black-spine classes.
Forced Salading, collection of (open). Mr Hepper, gardener to C. P. Millard, The Elms, Acton, was first with a large and varied assortment, forced and unforced, set up in plates, garnished with leaves of Mrs Pollock, Coleus, and variegated Rale. Mr Record complied with the terms of the schedule, and sent a collection, all forced, for which he was placed second.