Apart from the superb quality seen in the exhibits of Messrs E. Gibson with points, the setting up of the collections in each case was most elaborate and artistic, really in vegetables alone creating veritable works of art, and helping to make these splendid exhibits some of the most attractive features of the Show. Turning to the purely Scottish class for 18 dishes only, whilst there was good competition, the average quality was less high.
Mr Beckett's collection gave an average of 6 points to each dish, and Mr J. Gibson 5 ths. The first prize collection in the Scottish 18 dishes, that of Mr R. Gibson, with 96 points, gave an average of 5 ths. As the second prize collection obtained 94 points, the relative point proportions were in this case very similar to that seen in the first and second exhibits in the open class.
In the smaller classes for vegetables, and more especially in those for Potatoes, Scottish growers held their own most ably.
Peas, especially the Scots-raised Gladstone, Leeks, Onions, Celery, pots of Parsley, Cauliflowers, and all other vegetables were generally of superb quality and excellence. These vegetable competitions were indeed something of which the Exhibition Executive might well be proud. The contrast seen between the French vegetable exhibits, so kindly staged by the great Paris seedsmen, Messrs Vilmorin, Andrieux and Co.
The trade exhibits as a whole, but especially those of Potatoes, called forth very high commendation. The association in the judging of the vegetable classes of English and Scottish censors was a happy conception. For some months before the Show I had spent much thought on the display which I anticipated, and when the opening day arrived I was not disappointed. Although there were not many outstanding features beyond what one would expect in such a large number of well-thought-out classes as were seen on this occasion, the display was, on the whole, the finest I have seen during thirty years of horticultural travel in the United Kingdom and on the Continent, and nowhere else have I seen such general excellence as was exhibited here.
But while this is so, I do not mean to imply that some of the exhibits have not been surpassed in excellence at some time or other. One exception, however, must be made, and that is vegetables. These, I have no hesitation in saying, were superior to any which have yet been exhibited. It is not on vegetables, how- ever, that I purpose making any remarks I have to make, bat on the Floral display. Arriving in Edinburgh two days before the Show, I had ample opportunity of noting the arrangements which had been made, and when I saw the chaotic state in which the Waverley Market was at 10 a.
Mr Murray Thomson and his willing band of workers will never forget those hours, I am sure. If ever a man was required in ten places at once, Mr Thomson, I am certain, holds that record.
The grumbling of the exhibitors alone, at what they con- sidered to be want of arrangement, was sufficient to fill one with dismay. Being in the position of an " unemployed," I had ample opportunity of hearing and seeing what was going on. Now, as to the Show itself. The groups of plants arranged for effect were extremely fine, were, in fact, superior to any exhibits of the kind hitherto seen in Scotland.
Some of the finest Crotons imaginable were shown, exhibiting the highest possible cultivation, and the way in which the first prize group was displayed no doubt did much to secure for the exhibitor the leading award. Foliage plants in small pots are invariably a feature of Scottish exhibitions.
Nowhere in England can their equals be found. British Ferns were indeed a feature, but rather in point of quality than in the large size of the plants. The Welsh Polypody Polypodium vulgare, var. The Scolopendriums, too, were much superior to what one is accustomed to see in England. In the non-competitive groups the exhibits were remarkable. Of great interest was the varied and unique exhibit from the Corporation of Glasgow, so excellently arranged by Mr Whitton, the Parks Superintendent.
Plants there were in this group which are rarely seen outside of a Botanic garden, and yet they are so interesting.
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Messrs J. Crotons, Alocasias, Dracaenas, with Nepenthes, etc. Thomson, Edinburgh, had a wonderful display of retarded plants in flower, exemplifying well the method of controlling the flowering period of plants at will. In the cut flower department there was an immense display. Boses, considering the late period in the season, were remark- ably fine, and so differently arranged from what one usually finds to be the case. Abel Chatenay," and " Frau Karl Druschki " were immense in size and quality. In the smaller classes also were many noteworthy exhibits.
G-ladioli were admirably represented, and were much finer than we see them in England as a rule, although the premier exhibit came from Northumberland. Dahlias were exceedingly fine, especially the Show varieties exhibited by Mr J. Smellie, the huge size and superb finish of which were their leading- attributes. This exhibitor also proved that he can grow the Cactus section equally well. I cannot, however, admire the method so commonly adopted of securing the blooms to flat black velvet-covered boards. They were certainly worthy of better treatment. Sweet Peas were marvellously well grown, and well staged.
Their size of petal, lustre in colour, and freshness in appearance were such as we in England — in the southern counties at any rate — cannot obtain. Carnations were variable. Some handsome flowers were shown, but many were otherwise.
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Hardy flowers were contributed in enormous quantity, but I must confess to disappointment in not finding any new feature either in arrangement or in variety ; but perhaps constant visits to the Temple Show in London are apt to make one too exacting in this respect at other shows. Pansies and Violas were exhibited in large numbers. Although taught from a mere boy to appreciate the Pansy, I cannot for the life of me see what others so admire in these flowers ; and though I have no doubt whatever as to the quality of those which were staged here, I cannot but say that Pansies are not desirable flowers from a utilitarian point of view.
Violas were of special merit, and were effectively displayed, the delicate tints being simply charming, and the more one examined the flowers, the more handsome did they seem to appear. For Scotland, Pentstemons were exceptionally poor. Having a strong penchant for this flower, I had left a large gap in my imagination to be filled by what I was to see here ; but, alas! The site selected for the exhibits, however, was not of the best, as many of the magnificent wreaths, crosses, and bouquets could be but indifferently seen, placed as they were under the gallery.
Taken as a whole, the display was varied, interesting, and certainly educational ; and to me not the least interesting feature of it was the discussion which I had with Mr Murray Thomson, Mr M'Hattie, and Mr Eichardson over the knotty question of protests and disqualifications which crop up so frequently at shows. September By Wil Crump, V. Everybody expected to see a good display of high quality Grapes at this show. Taken as a whole, the exhibits were not disappointing ; they were, however, not uniformly good, for whilst the size, quality, and finish of many of the varieties were grand in the extreme, others were very indifferent, rendering the exhibits quite unworthy of the valuable prizes offered by this enterprising and up-to-date Society.
In fact, so inferior were the exhibits in some instances that the judges withheld the first prizes. But these remarks refer chiefly to the smaller or single- bunch classes. The varieties best represented in the exhibition were Muscat of Alexandria, Chasselas, Napoleon, Appley Towers, and Madres- field Court, and there were splendidly staged bunches of these by Mr J.
It was evident from the points awarded that the judges had set a very high standard. No bunch gained the maximum number of points, which was doubtless a correct decision ; but if the two bunches of Muscat of Alexandria, staged in Class 9, by Mr W. Galloway, gardener to the Earl of Wemyss, Gosford, had been point-judged by the same high standard, maximum marks would have been unanimously awarded.
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Indeed, it was the unanimous opinion of the judges that nothing finer or nearer absolute perfection of their kind had ever been staged before. Bunches, berries, and colour were grand, and the exhibit was quite worthy of the award of His Majesty the King's Cup, offered for the best fruit exhibit in the Show.
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The International Show of was without doubt by far the most extensive exhibition of the kind ever held in Scotland, and as a whole it may be characterised as the best and most effective of these exhibitions. Then the Music Hall, in George Street, afforded sufficient space for the Floral exhibits, and the adjoin- ing Assembly Eooms accommodated the Fruit exhibits. The exhibits of filled the interior of the spacious Waverley Market in all its parts, and overflowed extensively on to its roof. A striking feature of the Show was the very much larger proportion of nurserymen's exhibits as compared with what was seen at former shows, and perhaps the next most striking feature was the great falling off in the number of large land- owners whose names appeared in the list of exhibitors.
On this occasion a great improvement in the quality of the trade groups of miscellaneous plants staged for effect was very evident, and by staging them on the floor a great improvement was effected in the appearance of the Show generally. In these groups, too, a new departure was manifested in the transference, by retardation, of spring-flowering plants to the autumn-flower- ing groups.
In flowering stove and greenhouse plants there was a very marked falling off, and the entire absence of those grand specimens of hard- wooded Heaths and other greenhouse and stove plants which appeared at the earlier International Shows from the gardens of various noblemen, and which formed the most severe tests of high and persistent cultural skill, was very much to be regretted.
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Turning to the Fruit classes, which were very extensive as compared with previous International Shows, one could not but be impressed by the large number of bunches of Grapes shown ; but I think it was quite evident that the proportion of inferior bunches was very great as compared with what has been seen on former occasions. The very hest in quality fell considerably below the examples that were staged in , and in later years, from England and Scotland. Especially does this apply to Muscats and Black Hamburghs, which are the true test of cultural skill.
For the heavy bunches, too, the exhibits fell far below those of former shows, at which bunches from 20 lbs. It was generally conceded that the exhibition of vegetables was the outstanding feature of the show, and the display as a whole was very meritorious.
In the collections especially the quality was remarkably fine, and the way in which these were staged was really most effective. In looking back to forty years ago, and taking into account the way in which fruits and flowers were then staged for exhibition, one cannot but be struck by the very great improve- ment in the way in which flowers and fruit are now conveyed and staged as compared with the methods which were then in vogue, and this applies more especially to Grapes and other tender fruits.
The reference to improvement is quite as appli- cable to all the other arrangements connected with shows as it is to the conveying and staging of the exhibits. The magnificent display of hardy fruit at the late International Show of the Eoyal Caledonian Horticultural Society was, to those who had the pleasure of seeing it, an object-lesson in many ways. The handsome prizes offered by the Society and the advantage of a fine season induced strong competition in nearly all the classes, and the very finest fruit was shown. Taking Apples first, as being more extensively exhibited than any of the other fruits, what struck one most was the high colour and finish of the English and Irish exhibits as compared with the Scottish ones.
The English and Irish fruit seemed more like what we are accustomed to find in the orchard house than from trees grown in the open air.