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 Cottage Gardener has the following remarks- on staging plants at'exhibitions: "The managers here have introduced a new and grand improvemenl on the former systems of exhibiting plants; the greatest improvement, in fact; and the one which was most needed in our day. They offered £30 for the best staged collections of thirty plants, as a gardener would say; that is, for a Collection of thirty plants, so placed as to give the best effect. Just the very thing which we have always held forth about flowerbeds, vases, baskets, and all other accompaniments to the flower-garden. One man cuts out his beds at random, goes to a great expense to fill them with the best plants of the day and yet fails, for 'want of eye/ to give the right effect to'them. Another grows his plants into 'specimens' with the highest degree of skill, exhibits them for competition, or 'sets them in the conservatory, or show-house, or in the living-rooms of his employer; or, may be, on the dinner-table, before ' all the company/ yet, for want of an eye, he fails to make the best of them; and, although he is the best gardener in that part of the country, his employers are' dissatisfied, because they see such things ' in better style' with common people, who cannot afford to pay much for their gardening - the secret being, that the eye goes further than the purse in all such things - dresses among the rest.
The Crystal Palace as a school, is founded on the principle of teaching by the eye. Its Directors have placed all their own collections and creations on that principle, and now they offer the highest prizes to gardeners, to induce them to learn this principle, and to follow it out through the whole range of the ' establishment/ even to the setting of two pot-plants on the mantelpiece in the drawing-room, or on the window-silln.