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.
Although the leading features of the show were the Zonal Pelargoniums of various sections, and the Roses which are above reported on, there was a large and very interesting display of other plants, including numerous novelties submitted to the Floral Committee.
The President's prize for the best nine Azaleas was taken by Mrs Glendinning & Sons of the Chiswick Nurseries, with large plants in fine bloom, among which were Extrani, Optima, Madame Miellez, Iveryana, Eulalie, Duke of Devonshire, and Petuniseflora. Extra prizes were awarded to Messrs Lee of Hammersmith, and Mr Wilkie, gardener at Oak Lodge, Addison Road, Kensington, for well-bloomed specimens of Broughtoni, Coronata, Elegans superb, Magnificent, Duke of Devonshire, and other well-known sorts.
Of groups of fine-foliaged and flowering plants, the best came from Mr Turner of Slough. In this there was a fine specimen of Charles Lawson Rose, but far from equal to the dazzling plant of the same variety in the collection of nine, with which he gained the President's prize. He had also Iveryana Improved Azalea in fine bloom, and among fine-foliaged plants large specimens of Aralia palmata, Pan-danus utilis, and Dracaena australis. Mrs Glendinning & Sons were second, and had a fine bushy Pimelea spectabilis, and a handsome Theophrasta imperialis. Mr Wheeler, gardener to Sir F. Goldsmid, Bart, M.P., Regent's Park, and Mr Wilkie, also exhibited neat groups in this and the class for six flowering stove and greenhouse plants, in which they were respectively first and second.
The Silver Flora Medal for six new plants sent out in 1867 or 1868, was gained by Messrs Yeitch with Dendrobium Bensoniae, a beautiful Moulmein species with white flowers, having an orange lip; Retinospora filicoides; Sanchezia nobilis variegata, one of the most effective of variegated plants; the true Vanda insignis, not that which has hitherto passed under that name; Dracaena regina, a handsome broad-leaved variegated kind; and Alocasia Jenningsii, a fine specimen, with the black blotches contrasting beautifully with the green ground colour. The same firm also took the Bronze Flora Medal, or second prize, with a beautiful pan of Abutilon Thompsoni, Begonia Boliviensis, Nepenthes hybrida, Acalypha tricolor, a fine addition to ornamental-foliaged plants, and of which a specimen was exhibited in one collection of these at the last Regent's Park Show; Phormium Colensoi variegatum, with narrow leaves edged with white, becoming red at the base; and the pretty small-growing Davallia parvula.
Messrs Veitch were again first and second for six new plants sent out in 1869. Their first-prize collection consisted of Croton maximum, beautifully veined and spotted with yellow, very handsome; Maranta tubispatha, very striking by its small regularly-placed reddish chocolate blotches; Davallia hemiptera, a charming little dark green Fern; Dracaena Macleayi, with dark bronzy foliage; D. nigro-rubra, with red and bronze leaves; and Croton Hillianum, with foliage richly marked with orange and crimson. Messrs Veitch's second-prize collection consisted of Darwinia fimbriata, with pleasing white flowers tinged with pink on the outside of the bells - this received a second-class certificate, a first being given to Leptopteris Wilksiana; Dieffenbachia Wallisii, with a white band along the midrib, and white markings; Maranta princeps, and Chimboracensis, two handsomely-marked kinds, especially the latter; and Croton aucubaefolium, with the leaves marked with small yellow blotches.
Of a new plant shown for the first time in flower in Great Britain there was only one exhibition, that of Messrs Veitch, who took the first prize, as well as a first-class certificate from the Floral Committee, for Dendrobium Jamesianum, with large white and orange flowers, which, when it comes to be grown to a larger size, will no doubt be a handsome addition to this highly ornamental genus.
The first prize for a new ornamental-foliaged plant, shown for the first time in Great Britain, was also taken by Messrs Veitch with Croton Hookeri, a magnificent plant from the New Hebrides, with the leaves of a most beautiful clear yellow in the centre, edged with green. The second prize was likewise taken by Messrs Veitch with Dracaena magnifica, from the Solomon Isles, with very broad brownish-red leaves. Both the above plants received first-class certificates, as also Canna Smithii, having yellow variegated leaves, from Mr Wimsett. Dracaena albicans, from Messrs Veitch, in which the leaves are variegated with white, was also shown in this class, but it was not equal to D. Regina; also Alocasia Sedeni, a hybrid raised between A. Lowii and A. metallica, having large handsome leaves of a metallic greyish green on the upper side, and purplish crimson on the reverse. A first-class certificate was awarded to the same firm for Dracaena Chelsoni, from Banks Island, with bronze leaves edged with rich rosy red.
Messrs Veitch were again first in the class for a new garden seedling in flower, with Rhododendron Lady Rolle, a flower of fine outline, white tinged with blush, with a blotch of cinnamon spots in the upper petals. Mr Wimsett was second with Pelargonium Willsii rosea, one of the new hybrids between the Ivy-leaved and Zonal sections, having large broad leaves resembling those of the former, and deep Rose-coloured flowers, with petals of fine outline. Both the above plants received first-class certificates from the Floral Committee. Mr Wimsett also exhibited Willsii with handsome foliage, but the flowers not so large nor of such good form; and Mr Groom, of Ipswich, had also a hybrid Ivy-leaf, but not equal to either of the preceding.
Coming now to the portion of the Exhibition devoted to the Pelargoniums, it may be observed that for two years past an annual exhibition of variegated Pelargoniums has been held at the end of the summer, the prizes being subscribed by raisers and growers of the same. This year the show has been held much earlier than usual, and that for a very intelligible and substantial reason - namely, that some of the variegated Pelargoniums are in much better condition at one season of the year than at another, consequently those which colour well in the early months of the year would be getting out of condition at the end of the summer. There were classes for the best example of each of the many divisions into which Pelargoniums are now arranged - the condition being that three plants of each variety be shown, in order to exclude seedling plants. In the class for the best golden-edged variegated Zonal Pelargoniums, thirty-six varieties were staged; Messrs E. G. Henderson & Sons alone staging twenty-two varieties.