This section is from the book "The Gardener V2", 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 chief attraction of this Show was the collections of Hyacinths. Messrs Veitch, of Chelsea, and Mr W. Paul, of Waltham Cross, each had excellent groups of new varieties, and the best of the old sorts. I noted a few of the best new or little-known sorts which were shown on this occasion and at Kensington, probably as fine as they can be grown. Really double varieties of the type of Lord Wellington, D. R., and Prince of Waterloo, D. W., are not at all adapted for exhibition, as the bells are so thinly-placed at the top of the spike. Koh-i-noor, a variety with a perfect spike of semi-double salmon flowers, is very distinct, and fit to be placed in the most select collection. Of single varieties - Albert Victor has rich dark-crimson bells, with a well-arranged spike; Vuurbaak, crimson scarlet, and Garibaldi, dark reddish crimson, are really grand; La Grandesse is unapproached by any other pure-white sort for its bold massive spike; Snowball has the best-formed bells, but the spike is too short for exhibition; it is inferior to older sorts.
L'Innocence, blush white, immense bells, and massive spike; King of the Blues, dark blue, large bells, and handsome massive spike, a grand exhibition variety; Czar Peter, porcelain, fine large bells; the best black blue is General Havelock, but it has the fault of nearly all the black varieties - the stalks of the bells are too slender. Ida, clear primrose, and Bird of Paradise, yellow, are the best of this section. Of new varieties not yet sent out, Mr W. Paul had Princess Louise, D. R, and Messrs Veitch had Princess Louise, S. W.; both had first-class certificates awarded to them. Mr Paul's flower had a first-class award the previous week at South Kensington. The single white variety exhibited by Messrs Veitch, had very large-sized bells, but they are too far apart ever to form a symmetrical spike.
In the class for 12 Hyacinths (nurserymen), Messrs Veitch exhibited 12 distinct sorts, staging similar varieties to those which gained the first prize at Kensington; they were again awarded the first prize.
In the similar class for amateurs distinct sorts are not required, and one of the exhibitors had as many as four plants of one sort.
The Cyclamens were a fine show in themselves. Mr James, gardener to W. F. Watson, Esq., Isleworth, was awarded the first prize, with 12 large compact specimens. The flowers were of large size, and produced in the greatest profusion, some of the specimens having no less than from 300 to 400 fully-expanded flowers upon them. Mr Goddard, gardener to H. Little, Esq., Twickenham, was second with excellent specimens, having a greater number of distinct sorts; Mr Edmonds, Hayes Nursery, being third. The last-named exhibitor also showed two small plants with very large flowers of Cyclamen persicum var. giganteum, with rosy-purple flowers, and grandiflorum with pure-white flowers and a rich purple base: they each received first-class certificates.
In the class for Roses in pots, Messrs Paul & Son were awarded the first prize with four handsome well-flowered specimens. Celine Forestier had two dozen of very fine flowers, good enough to put in any exhibition-stand; Elie Morel, Dr Andry, and Duke of Edinburgh, were also fine. They also staged a collection in which was a new climbing variety called Climbing Victor Verdier. The flowers are of the same form and quality as Victor Verdier, but of a darker rose; as a climbing Rose it must be an acquisition. It was awarded a first-class certificate. Messrs Veitch also staged a large bank in small pots, which were well arranged and exceedingly effective.
Messrs Rollisson of Tooting had a fine collection of plants, Orchids, etc.
Mr B. S. Williams of Holloway had a miscellaneous collection of plants, Aucuba luteo-carpa, with large pale-yellow berries, had a first-class certificate awarded to it.
Messrs Lane & Son of Great Berkhampstead received first prizes in the classes for hardy forced shrubs, Greenhouse Azaleas, and Deutzias: in the last-named class they had very fine plants of Deutzia gracilis, 2 feet in height and as much through, and the flowers were of large size.
Tulips were shown very fine by Messrs Veitch, and some excellent pots were staged in the class for amateurs.
Chinese Primulas were not well represented. When prizes are offered, the ordinary single varieties are put up: the double varieties, which require careful attention as regards culture, seem to be going out of cultivation altogether. Mr W. Paul had a basket containing four plants of a splendid single variety, Wal-tham White; the flowers are pure white with a greenish-yellow eye, of large size and great substance. A first-class certificate was awarded to it.
First-class certificates of merit were also awarded to the following subjects: - To Messrs Rollisson for their pretty little Fern, Davallia clavata; to Messrs Henderson & Co. for Ficus lanceolata; and to Messrs Veitch for Primula Boveana and a species of Acropera, also for their beautiful new hybrid Amaryllis Chelsoni, which had first honours at South Kensington; A. Leopoldii, which had a first-class certificate at Kensington last year; A. maculata, lighter in colour than Chelsoni, and more profusely spotted; A. Brilliant, a perfectly-shaped flower of a decided scarlet shade. All these fine flowers have been raised through crossing the Amaryllis with Hippeastrum pardinum; they are far in advance of anything yet exhibited; the petals are of great substance, and in shape the flowers approach the true florist standard. No better proof could be afforded of their merit than the fact that all the four had first-class certificates awarded to them.