This section is from the book "The Gardener V3", 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.
With the exception of Messrs Lane & Son, Great Berkhamstead, the collections of Azaleas staged for the Society's prizes were of an inferior description. In the open class for 9, in the nurserymen's class for 6, and in the open class for a single specimen, they obtained all the first prizes. In the amateurs' class for 6, a second prize was awarded to Mr G. Wheeler, gardener to Sir F. Goldsmid, Bart., of Regent's Park. Of President Humann, Messrs Lane had a fine pyramid, 5 feet high, covered with flowers of large size.
In the open class for 6 forced Rhododendrons, Messrs Lane were again first with well-bloomed plants of Minnie, Maculatum grandiflorum, Exquisite, Leviathan, Sir Isaac Newton, and Sir Charles Napier; Messrs Standish & Co. of Ascot were second with good plants - a very distinct variety, named Miss Briscoe, white, with dark spots, was noteworthy. For 12 cut trusses, Messrs Lane again obtained the first prize; Messrs Standish and Mr J. Woodward, gardener to Mrs Torr, Garbrand Hall, Ewell, being placed equal second, the last-named exhibitor also receiving a third prize for 6 plants.
For 12 show Auriculas, distinct, Mr C. Turner of Slough was awarded the first prize with Trafalgar, green-edged, Colonel Champneys, and Competitor - two fine new grey-edged varieties raised by him - Miss Giddings, Unique, and Morning Star, also grey edged, Mrs Sturrock and Miss Martin, selfs. Mr James, gardener to F. W. Watson, Esq., Isleworth, was second with a very creditable collection. In the class for 6 (amateurs) Mr James was first, and the Rev. H. H. Dombrain, Westwell Vicarage, Ashford, was second.
There was also a class for 12 Alpine Auriculas. Mr C. Turner was first with fine healthy plants, and some of the latest introductions - such as Queen Victoria, of a dark violet shade, and Defiance, crimson maroon - show a great advance in this class; Mr James was second. The Metropolitan Floral Society offered prizes on this occasion; there was quite as good a competition as could have been expected, and for the season, the quality was excellent. For 6 distinct varieties, the Rev. H. H. Dombrain was first with George Lightbody, a very fine grey edge, Metropolitan, Mrs Sturrock, Conqueror, Miss Willoughby, and May Flower. Mr H. Little, Esq., Cambridge Villas, Twickenham, was second. For single plants the competition was very close in some cases: in green-edged Mr James was first, with Lovely Ann; second, Mr Turner, with Prince of Greens. Grey-edged - first, Mr Turner, with Richard Headly; second, Rev. H. H. Dombrain, with George Lightbody. White-edged - first, Mr James, with Ne Plus Ultra; second, Mr Turner, with Earl Grosvener. Selfs - Mr Turner, first, with Bessy Bell; Mr James, second, with Miss Smith.
Prizes were also offered by the Society for 9 Pansies in pots. Mr James was the only exhibitor, and received the first prize; his plants were very fine, the following especially so: Rev. H. H. Dombrain, dark self; Lady Baxter, white; Beauty, yellow ground; and Mr Addison, white ground. As usual, the miscellaneous collections were the most interesting and varied. Roses from Messrs Veitch and Mr C. Turner were excellent. Orchids from Messrs Veitch were worthy of note, Odontogiossum niveum, a beautiful plant, and a grand specimen of Cypripedium laevigatus. Mr Denning, gardener to Lord Londesborough, also showed a fine lot of Orchids, the somewhat rare Cypripedium Lowii, with two spikes, and a fine specimen of Phaius Wallichii Mr Stalker, gardener to the Plight Hon. G. Hardy, Hemsted Park, Staplehurst, exhibited a grand specimen of Dendrobium densi-florum, with numerous fine spikes.
On this occasion a first-clnss certificate was awarded to Mr Cadger, the Gardens, Luton Hoo, for Cucumber Luton Hoo Seedling, a smooth variety resembling Telegraph; the fruit was about 18 inches in length, rather thick in proportion. Mr C. Turner sent a plant of Turner's Prolific Black Spine; it is a very useful variety; the fruit was about 1 foot long; it received a special certificate for good culture.
Mr Rivers of Sawbridgeworth sent a collection of Apples in excellent preservation; Spring Ribston Pippin, Claygate Pearmain, Lord Burghley, and Duke of Devonshire, were of superior flavour. A special certificate was awarded to this collection, and one to an excellent collection of kitchen sorts.
Some of the productions sent were of very superior quality, and well worthy of the distinction of the first-class certificates awarded to them. The Cypripedium niveum sent by Mr G. Ward, gardener to A. D. Berrington, Esq., Pant-y-Goitre, was exceedingly beautiful; the flowers, which are freely produced, are pure white, like fine porcelain, spotted externally with purple.
Mr W. Bull sent Azalea Marvel, a small-flowered semi-double variety of the Amcena type, with purple flowers. Messrs Veitch sent Acer japonicum ornatum, with copper-coloured leaves, and Acer dissectum, with similar leaves, which were deep green, and formed a striking contrast to the first-named species; both are highly ornamental. Rhododendron Bride, from Mr G. Fairbairn, gardener to J. T. Noakes, Esq., Brockley Hall, Lewisham, a very fine variety; the flowers measure 4 inches across, and are well shaped; it was raised by crossing R. Edge-worthii with R. Gibsonii. Mr W. Denning sent Odontoglossum odoratum, a species of no great beauty. Maxillaria luteo grandiflora, from Mr B. S. Williams; a species with long sepals and petals, yellow-tinged buff, is very ornamental. A fine plant of Tea Rose Belle Lyonnaise came from Mr C. Turner; it is one of the new French varieties of last year, having all the good qualities of Gloire de Dijon, but being quite distinct in colour, which is a deep lemon. Mr Turner also sent Alpine Auriculas, Marquis of Westminster and Sultan; the flowers are very similar in colour, crimson maroon with bright-yellow paste, very flat and circular.
Mr W. Lee showed two plants of his fine scarlet Pink, Princess Louise, which was noticed last month.
M. Louis van Houtte of Ghent, Belgium, sent Azaleas, Marquis of Lome, a very bright salmon-red flower of fine outline, and a decided acquisition; Comtesse de Beaufort, bright rose, with dark upper petals; George Loddiges, salmon-scarlet, with deep crimson spot on the upper petals; President de Ghellinck de Walle, a very fine semi-double deep rose; and Alice, another semi-double rosy-crimson variety. All the above-named productions had first-class certificates awarded to them. The same award was given to a plant of Anthurium Schertzerianum, var. Dixoni, which was shown in the Conservatory with a collection of plants from Mr Dixon, nurseryman, Beverley; it differs from the ordinary form in the duplication of the spathes, which are less than is usual.