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.
The last meeting for 1870 of the Fruit and Floral Committee of the Royal Horticultural Society was held on Wednesday, December 7. It was a very successful meeting. Not many Orchids and tender plants were exhibited, which could hardly be expected, as the weather was very unfavourable.
Prizes were offered in class 1 for 24 cut blooms of Japanese and large-flowering Chrysanthemums. Mr Douglas, gardener to F. Wbitbourn, Esq., Loxford Hall, Ilford, was 1st with, amongst others, good examples of Miss Marechaux, Princess of Teck, Virgin Queen, Blonde Beauty, Lord Derby, and Plutus, amongst the large-flowering sorts; of Japanese, Dr Masters, the Mikado, and Comet. Mr Goddard, gardener to H. Little, Esq., Cambridge Park, Twickenham, who was 2d, had some very pretty Japanese varieties - Mandarin, a fine bright yellow, the Sultan, the Daimio, Aurantium, and Ne Plus Ultra, were the best of them.
Messrs Standish & Co., Ascot, exhibited a very effective collection, consisting of scarlet-and-yellow berried Hollies; some fine specimens of Aucuba covered with berries, which will be more effective a month hence, as not many of the berries were ripe; a fine Skimmia oblata; and a plant with black berries, Raphiolepis ovata. Mr Standish neglected to enter his plants, which would have been awarded the 1st prize: they were deservedly awarded a special certificate.
The 1st prize was awarded to Messrs E. G. Henderson & Son, St John's Wood, who were the only exhibitors. They had compact little plants of Thymus strictus, T. citriodorus aureus, Achyrocline Saundersii; and very conspicuous amongst them was Lilium candidum aureo variegatum - in all about two dozen plants.
Mr Hepper, gardener to C. P. Millard, Esq., the Elms, Acton, was 1st with a good collection put up on plates neatly garnished with Beet leaves and curled Kale. He had Cucumbers, Australian and curled Cress, Lettuce, Onions, red and white Celery, three sorts of Endive, Beet, etc. Mr Gilbert, gardener to the Marquess of Exeter, Burghley Park, Stamford, was 2d, and had his collection neatly set up in a new box specially made for exhibiting salads by Mr Chapman of Landudno. A deep tin trough 2 inches wide sown with Mustard and Cress made a neat fringe round the inside of the box, which was divided into suitable compartments for the larger salads. The Fruit Committee had their attention drawn to this box, and it was highly approved of by them.
The most notable objects before the Fruit Committee were three new seedling Grapes from Mr W. Paul of Waltham Cross. One of them, which was named Waltham Cross, received a first-class certificate. The berries are amber, long in proportion to their width, resembling in shape the Morocco, very large. The flesh is firm, flavour moderately rich. It was thought to be a good late-hanging Grape. Messrs Lucombe, Pince, & Co. sent a new white Grape, Mrs Pince's White Muscat. As shown, the Muscat flavour was not perceived; the berries were medium-sized. It was not considered worthy of a certificate. From G. F. Wilson, Esq., Heatherbank, Weybridge, came a magnificent dish of Josephine de Malines Pear. The fruit was the produce of a plant which had been kept under glass when in blossom and until the fruit was set, when the pot was removed out of doors until the fruit was gathered. Mr Wilson grows most excellent Pears and Plums of the finer sorts in pots in this way, and it is deserving of attention from those who have not got a large extent of wall-surface. A special certificate was awarded.
Mr Turner, of the Royal Nurseries, Slough, sent a Pear named International, of exquisite flavour; it had previously received a certificate. A very fine dish of Cornish Aromatic from the same exhibitor had a special certificate. Messrs Rutley & Silverlock sent very fine examples of improved white Spanish Onions grown at Banbury. They received a special certificate for superior cultivation. Messrs Carter & Co., High Holborn, sent Red-skinned, Flourball, and American Red Potatoes for comparison. In appearance, when cut open, they are very similar, and some cooked for the Committee were not sufficient to settle the distinction: it was suggested that they be planted side by side before a definite conclusion could be arrived at.
White Nun seedling perpetual Carnation from Mr W. Lee, Arundel, Sussex, received a first-class certificate; Maiden's Blush, a very distinct flower of large size, had a second-class award. Mr Goddard received a first-class certificate for a very beautiful and distinct purple Cyclamen named Cyclamen persicum purpureum. Selaginella albo-lineata is a very beautiful plant, and well deserved the first-class certificate awarded to it. Mr Berkeley stated at the "general meeting" that its great beauty was brought out under a gleam of sunshine. It was sent by Messrs Perkins & Son, Park Nursery, Coventry. A collection of Orchids came from Mr Williams of Holloway, and a number of compact little plants in 5-inch pots of Solanum hybridum compactum; they were 10 inches high and as much through, covered with beautiful large scarlet berries. A special certificate was awarded. Mr Green, gardener to W. Wilson Saunders, Esq., Hillfield, Reigate, received a first-class certificate for a variety of Mormodes Car-toni; the flowers were a deep red, but in a young state they were stated to be orange. Capsicum Yellow Gem, from Mr Robins, gardener to Sir E. Kerrison, Bart., was awarded a special certificate; the plant was trained as a dwarf standard, and will be useful for decorative purposes.
Messrs W. & A. Brown, florists, Hendon, had seedling Cinerarias, and 12 plants of an excellent strain of Chinese Primulas. The plants were compact, and the flowers very brilliant deep red. A special certificate was awarded. Mr Wiggins also received a special certificate for a very fine collection of Primulas in variety.
At this meeting Mr Bateman offered a prize of £5 for a collection of cut Catt-leyas. As there was no exhibitor, the prize will be again offered in two prizes of £3 and £2 on January 18th. It was also announced that the Rev. G. Kemp had offered prizes of £3 and £2 for a dish of Grapes consisting of 6 bunches grown in the open air against a wall without any protection, to be awarded at the meeting on the 1st of November. J. D.