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.
This is the Society's largest exhibition of the season held at South Kensington. The weather has been very severe, which caused a falling-off in some of the classes, exhibitors not wishing to expose such subjects as Orchids and the more tender stove-plants to a temperature but little above the freezing point. In the Stove and Greenhouse plants some handsome well-managed specimens were staged; the "foliage " plants comprised some noble and magnificent specimens; and there was likewise a very good show of fruit. This is always an attractive part of the exhibitions, but the Society, unfortunately, only hold one fruit show at Kensington in the season.
Classes 1, 2, 3, and 4 are for Orchids, and in the open class for nine, Mr Ward, gardener to T. G. Wilkins, Esq., Leyton, was first with Dendrobium formosum giganteum, Odontoglossum Bluntii, and species he has already shown; Mr W. Bull, Chelsea, second; and Mr Wheeler, Stamford Hill, third.
In the nurserymen's class, Mr B. S. Williams staged an excellent collection - Cypripedium barbatum superbum, a very fine specimen of C. caudatum, and others; Mr Bull was second; Mr Parker, of Tooting, third. For a single specimen, Mr J. Linden, of Brussels, was first with Cypripedium caudatum, a magnificent specimen with four flowered spikes; Mr Williams second, with a grand Cattleya lobata; and Mr R. Laing, gardener to B. W. Flowers, third, with Laelia purpurata.
In Stove and Greenhouse plants, Mr Ward was first, Mr J. Wheeler second, and Mr G. Wheeler, Regent's Park, third; the prizes in the nurserymen's class being awarded to Mr Jackson, of Kingston, and Mr Morse, of Epsom.
In the open class for nine fine-foliaged plants Mr Bull was first. Pre-eminent was a magnificent Dicksonia antavctica, Cyathea medularis, and a grand specimen of Encephalartos Ghellinckii. M. Dalliere, of Ghent, was second with handsome and valuable specimens - Cocos Weddeliana, Zamia Lehmannii, and others; Mr Taylor, gardener, Lauderdale House, Highgate, was third. Mr Woodward, gardener to Mrs Torr, Ewell, had the best Azaleas. Superb Roses in pots came from Mr C. Turner and Messrs Paul & Son, and six well-managed pots of Liliums from Mr Bull were awarded the first prize in that class.
In the classes for hardy Ferns there were some exceedingly interesting collections. In the two amateurs' classes, Mr C. Chaff', gardener to A. Smee, Esq., Wallington, was first, the most remarkable being Scolopendrium cristatum digitatum, Struthiopteris germanica, Adiantum pedatum, and a fine mass of Hymeno-phyllum tunbridgense. Mr James, of Isleworth, had two nice collections.
In the nurserymen's class, Messrs Ivery, of Dorking, were first, and their collection consisted principally of remarkably fine varieties of the Lady Fern.
Messrs Veitch, of Chelsea, took first honours for the miscellaneous groups, Mr Williams second, and Mr Bull third.
The only exhibitor for the collection of 8 dishes of fruit was Mr Lynn, gardener to Lord Boston, Hedsor, and he received the first prize.
Mr Ward, gardener to T. N. Millar, Esq., Bishop-Stortford, took a first prize for three excellent Queen Pine-Apples.
In the class for one Pine-Apple, Mr R. H. Smith, gardener to H. Walker, Esq, Calderstone, Liverpool, was first with a moderately-good Providence, the crown too large, and badly set on the fruit; Mr Ward was placed second with a magnificent Queen, well finished and well proportioned, and weighing 5 lb. 14 oz.; Mr G. Miles, gardener to Lord Carrington, Wycombe, was third with smooth-leaved Cayenne.
As usual, there was a good show of Grapes. For a basket not less than 12 lb., Mr Osborne, Kay's Nursery, Finchley, was first with excellent Black Hamburg; Mr Bannerman, gardener to Lord Bagot, Blithfield Hall, Rugley, and Mr Coleman, gardener to Earl Somers, Eastnor Castle, being respectively second and third with the same variety. For the best 3 bunches of Black Grapes, Mr Banner-man was first; Mr Douglas, gardener to T. Whitbourn, Esq., Loxford Hall, second; and Mr Coleman third. Three bunches White Grapes, Mr Douglas was first with Buckland Sweetwater; Messrs Standish & Co., Ascot, second with Muscat of Alexandria; Mr Sage, gardener to Earl Brownlow, Ashridge, third; and an extra to Mr Osborne.
The best came from Mr Brown, gardener to Earl Howe, Gopsall Hall, a very fine dish of Grosse Mignonne; Mr H. Harris, gardener to G. A. Ashby, Esq,, being second, and Mr Miles third.
Mr Miles had the best dish of Figs, and Mr Sage the second-best.
Mr Miles was first for Cherries, and Mr Lynn second.
Mr Douglas was first, and Mr Miles second.
The best green-fleshed Melon came from Mr Burnett, gardener to Mrs Hope; Mr Ward second, and Mr Lynn third. In scarlet flesh, Mr G. Masters, gardener, Sherburn Castle, was first, and Mr Lynn second.
There was not much to comment upon at this meeting; Mr Temple, of Balbirnie, and Mr Tillery, of Welbeck, both sent Lady Downes Grapes, the stalks having been kept in water. These examples were very fine, the berry-stalks quite green, and the flavour exceedingly good for this variety.
M. Linden of Ghent contributed new plants. First-class certificates were awarded to the following: Acer palmatum roseo dissectum, A. palmatum crispum, Dracaena lutescens striata, Xanthosoma Lindeni; and a second class for Epidendrum paniculatum. M. Mackoy, of Liege, likewise received first-class certificates for Lycopodium mandiocanum, L. dichotomum, L. taxifolium, and Tillandsia Morreniana. Messrs Ivery & Son, Dorking, came in for first-class certificates with Polystichum angulare pulchrum Belairsiae, and Polypodium vulgare Whytei, a very interesting and beautiful form of the common Polypody; and a second-class certificate to Athyrium filix-foemina trifidum. Mr J. Atkins, of Pains wick, received the highest award for Linum campanulatum; the plants were covered with a profusion of orange-yellow flowers, and are of a much more compact habit than L. flavum. The Perpetual Clove Miss Joliffe, noticed last month, received a first-class award on this occasion. A very fine white Pink from Mr C. Turner, Slough, received a second-class award. Mr W. Paul, of Waltham Cross, exhibited a set of Zonale Pelargoniums, raised by Dr Denny; these are certainly decided acquisitions; there are new colours amongst them; others are remarkable for perfect-shaped flowers and trusses.
First-class certificates were awarded to Wellington, a Hybrid nosegay with immense trusses of well-shaped, rich, dark-crimson flowers. Sir C. Napier - the flowers of this are of the largest size, and of a brilliant dark scarlet colour; and Ianthe - this has a good bedding habit, and the flowers, which are of good shape, have a slight shade of blue in their composition. Mr W. Paul also received a second-class award for Silver Tricolor Pelargonium Lady Dorothy Nevill. Mr George, gardener to Miss Nicholson, Putney Heath, also sent Zonale Pelargoniums. A very fine scarlet nosegay named Flame obtained a first-class, and Polly King, a very good salmon-coloured variety, a second-class certificate. Mr Foster again showed a collection of stage Pelargoniums. First-class certificates were given to Conquest, Lord Byron, Blue Bell, Caesar, and Achievement; the last a very fine flower of a deep rose on the upper, and light rose lower petals. Mr Bull had a first-class award for Oncidium cryptocopis; the flowers are brown, with a very narrow yellow margin, and are thinly placed on a very long straggling spike. Mr Croucher, gardener to J. T. Peacock, Esq., Hammersmith, was also voted a first-class certificate for Agave revoluta variegata.
Second-class certificates were given to Messrs Carter for Solanum ciliatum; and to Mr Thomson, of Ipswich, for Lathyrus Sibthorpii, a hardy perennial species from Greece, with light purple flowers.