This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
The event of the past week has been the second show of the Horticultural Society at Chiswick. A sunless but dry day brought together 9383 visitors,form-ing such an assemblage of rank and fashion as is to be seen in these gardens only, in the open air, near London. At an early hour the exhibition had the distinguished honor of being inspected by her Royal Highness the Duchess of Orleans.
In speaking of the objects presented for examination, we can do little more than repeat ted last Saturday would have swept away the first prizes 20 years ago. The miserable penny, pressed Pansy flowers, which once collected a crowd of simple admirers, would now be considered a disgrace to the place, and are satisfactorily represented by well cultivated specimens in pots. The gawky straggling half-starved sticks, first exhibited as roses grown in pots, are replaced by plants of exquisite beauty prepared with unrivalled skill. And let us add. injustice to one class of exhibitors, even the Cape Heaths, which were for so many years produced in billy imitation of beehives, or Hottentot kraals, have at last been permitted to assume their natural forms. The pruuing-knife, in moderation, has taken the place of the shears with which some innocent gardeners thought it necessary to clip their bushes into shape (!), and the genus Erica now merits, for its beauty, the high place in these exhibitions which was once given it merely because of the difficulty attending its cultivation.
As to Orchids, the fondness for them is evidently extending; new and good exhibitorsare threatening the ancient lords of the region of epiphytes; and we have no doubt that in a few years the sanguine expectations of our friend "Dodman" will be realised, through the instrumentality of Mr. Williams' capital practical papers, now appearing weekly in our columns. The continual sales by auction of these plants afford opportunities of purchase suitable to the means of different classes of buyers, and it is not extravagant to predict that Orchids will some day be as common as Heaths and Pelargoniums. It is not impossible indeed that they may dislodge the latter, admiration of whose tawdry charms is more and more clearly on the decline.
As usual Messrs. Veitch, of Exeter, stood pre-eminent among the exhibitors of new or rare plants. Their exhibition of Pitcher plants was one of the most remarkable sights that have yet been chronicled in the annals of Horticulture. Some, the Nepenthes, from the forests of the Indian Ocean, threw abroad their tendrils, and suspended their curious bags of green and crimson and white by whatever they could cling to. Others, the Sarrocenias, from the swamps of North America, stood erect, like living trumpets, or imitating ewers and jugs of green and crimson; even while the spectator was looking at them, the unhappy fly might be seen entrapped amongst the relentless teeth with which the recesses of these cups are guarded. The most curious of all, perhaps, and the most beautiful in form, was the Cephalote, from the Australian bogs, whose delicate goblets reared their richly-carved and many-tinted crests above their bed of moss. No one in the
Diemen's Land, a tree with glaucous leaves and an abundance of large white flowers, which has lived without injury for several years at Exeter in the open grouud, where it is now 20 feet high.
New hybrid plants are slow in appearing. The only one which caught our eye was a hybrid Pelargonium obtained between the lemon-scented (Citriodorum) and one of the Fancies, by Mr. Thomas Kempster, of Blackheath. His object was to add good flowers to sweet foliage, and we are glad to see that he is evidently on the road to success: the specimen exhibited was very pretty, ana was accompanied by a cross between Radula and Rollisson's Unique, which we also look upon as a good beginning. If growers would but persevere in this way they would soon strike a rich vein, and occupy themselves more profitably in every sense, than in trying for results which only end in running out their breed. What is wanted among Pelargoniums is new blood, of which the wild species can furnish an abundance.
Among miscellaneous objects, was a remarkable collection from Syon, consisting of a tree bearing ripe nutmegs; a branch of Vanilla with flowers, and ripe as well as unripe pods: a Gamboge-tree, with rich orange fruit; and a piece of the Serpent Trichosanlh ( Trichosan-tkes colubrina,) loaded with its long striped and twisted Cucumbers.
Of Mr. Hosea Waterer's magnificent display of American plants in the Society's Garden, we spoke at length last week. On this occasion it was open to all visitors, throngs of whom were gratified by one of the most varied and beautiful spectacles which the gorgeous varieties of Rhododendron and Azalea can produce. Under the influence of the beauty of so grand a scene the clumsiness of the awning which screened it from the weather was hardly remarked. A few hours however after the close of the meet-ing this awning gave way before a gale of wind, and it became necessary to close the ground for some days, till it could be repaired. This has naturally given rise to expressions of surprise, and to inquiries, which we take this opportunity of answering, by stating that the awning in question (not furnished by Mr. Edg-ington) was contracted for by the gentleman lately removed from his office of Secretary by the Fellows of the Horticultural Society, at their anniversary meeting; and that the contract was made, not only without the concurrence of the proper officer, but in opposition to all experience and remonstrance. - Gardeners' Chronicle.