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Report of the first Abingdon Horticultural Society Autumn Show.

From the Abingdon Herald September 1885

The Flower Show and Fire Brigade     extract from     Abingdon Herald   5 September 1885  pp4,5


The newly formed Horticultural Society of Abingdon held it's first exhibition of flowers, fruit and vegetables, on Thursday last in Fitz-harris grounds, which the Mayor (Mr. J. Heber Clarke) one of the vice-presidents, kindly placed at their disposal.   The time selected was full late in the season, considering that this is the only show held in the year, but the absence of floral varieties which bloom early was counteracted by a better display of fruit.   The weather was, on the whole, favourable, for although a heavy thunderstorm in the morning caused some discomfiture, it was fortunately succeeded by the finest of afternoons, and the visitors were numerous.

As the first venture of a self-supporting society, the exhibition was creditable to all concerned, and augurs well for future success.   The exhibits, staged in three commodious tents, were divided into five divisions, allowing persons of all stations to compete.   Cottagers and gardeners, within a radius of  four miles, were allowed to exhibit in division C and D, and no entry fee was charged, only a recommendation from a member of the society being required.   In division A, open to all subscribers, there was a fair show of plants, fruit, and vegetables.   The first-prize for six stove or green-house plants, was awarded to a group of which the chief feature was a splendid specimen of vallota purpuria, and in the second lot the principal plant was a well-grown fuchsia, while the set adjudged third consisted of an even group of foliage plants, not, however, large specimens, though two pots of artillery plant were noticeable.   The ferns and coleus were nice specimens, the latter being of beautiful colour.   One end of the tent was furnished with a pretty group of begonias, lent by Mr. Morrison, and the fuchsias which took honours in class 4, were well matched and plentifully bloomed.   Mr. Fruin and Mr. T. Simpson deserve commendation for their double and single dahlias, which were very fine;  and the competition in asters was rather keen.   The fruit made an excellent display, and culinary apples were heavy.   In division B  for amateurs, there was nothing particularly good in plants, but the fancy dahlias were very creditable to the grower, and cut flowers were for the most part choice.   The first card in class 39 was taken by a well-arranged basket of anemone japonica and sprays of begonia, garnished with maiden-hair fern and antelopsis foliage.   Potatoes formed a strong feature of the show, there being no less than 1,500 tubers.   The prizes chiefly went to internationals, and in rounds the purple varieties were decidedly the best, but schoolmasters were not so good as usual.   Some remarkably clean and good samples of carrots were exhibited, and marrows and beans were fine for the season, but cabbage was light and turnips poor.   Honey was as near perfection as possible.   The children deserve a word of praise for their collections and arrangements of wild flowers, the baskets being particularly attractive.   It should be mentioned that these were satisfactorily judged by Mrs. Baker, Mrs. W. H. Trendell, and Miss Tomkins.   Among the things sent "not for competition" was an admirably designed model garden, which had a ground-work of moss, with beds consisting of pipes of lobelia and tagetis, and of drummondi, scarlet verbena, etc.   This was sent my Mrs. Trendell, while Mr. F. Harris contributed a quantity of  honey, Mr. Morrison, flowers, and many more staged some fine vegetables.   The driving and transferring of bees, by an expert connected with the Berkshire association, proved interesting, and the ladies conducted a sale of work in aid of Zenana and Home Missions.   The Secretary of the society (Mr. J. G. T. West) was most assiduous, and the same may be said of a few members of the Committee.


     The Judges - Messrs. J. Rose, J. Watson, and W. Howell - head gardeners to Lord Wantage, E. W. Harcourt, Esq. M.P., and G. H. Morrell, Esq., - gave their awards as follows:-


DIVISION  A   (Open to all Subscribers.)


Six stove or greenhouse plants, not less that four varieties -  ........

Six ferns, distinct -  ......

Three Coleus, three varieties - .....

Three fuchsias, distinct - .....

Six geraniums, distinct, three varieties - .....

Dahlias,  twelve blooms, six varieties -..........

Dahlias, twelve blooms,  six varieties, single  

Roses, twelve blooms, six varieties - no exhibit

Asters (German), twelve blooms, not less than six colours -........

Asters (French), twelve blooms, not less than six colours - no exhibit

Zinnias, twelve blooms, - .

Hand bouquet - ......

Collection of  fruit, six distinct kinds-....... (?) excluded

Grapes, two bunches, white - ........

Grapes, two bunches, black-.....

Peaches, six - ................

Nectarines, six - ............

Melons, one (by flavour)

Pears, eight - ............

Apples, culinary, twelve (?) - .......

Apples, dessert,  twelve (?) - ...............

Collection vegetables (?) - .........

Collection potatoes (?)-...........

Brassicas (?)-.......

Tomatoes, dish of nine


DIVISION B (Amateurs)



Fuchsias, three, 3 varieties - ..

Collection six plants blooms (?) six varieties - ....

Ferns, three distinct - .......

Geraniums, three in bloom -....

Best six bunches of garden flowers -.........no exhibit

Roses, six, cut blooms, distinct -.........

Dahlias, six cut blooms, self (?) -.........

Dahlias, six cut blooms, fancy -........

Zinnias, six cut blooms -........

Asters (German) six cut blooms - .........no exhibit

Asters (French) six cut blooms - .........

Verbenas, six trusses, three varieties - .........no entries

Button-hole bouquets, three (for ladies only) - .....

Basket or vase of cut flowers (for ladies only)-.........

Group of three vases, or other articles for table decoration with flowers and foliage, not necessarily grown but arranged by exhibitor (ladies only)

Grapes, two bunches, black- ........
Grapes, ditto, white - ...................no exhibit

Peaches, six - ...........no exhibit

Collection of fruit, four dishes, four kinds - .............

Collection of vegetables, six varieties - .....no exhibit



DIVISION C (For Cottagers, not employed as Gardeners)


Collection vegetables, six varieties -......

Collection potatoes, six varieties - .......

Potatoes, three dishes of nine, white round -.....

Ditto, three dishes of nine, kidney white -.........

Ditto, one dish of twelve, round white -........

Ditto, one dish of twelve, kidney white -........

Ditto, one dish of twelve, round coloured -.......

Ditto, one dish of twelve, kidney coloured -........

Runner Beans, thirty  pods -.......

French beans, thirty pods -.........

Cauliflowers, three - ...........no exhibit

Carrots, short, six -..........

Carrots, intermediate-.......

Carrots, long, six -.........

Lettuce, three  cos - .......no first awarded.

Cabbage, three

Celery, three sticks - .........

Parsley, bunch - .........

Onions, twelve, spring sown -.........

Onions, twelve, by weight -........

Marrows, three, fit for table -...........

Turnips, six, fit for table -...........

Apples, two dishes of 12 each, two varieties -.........

Apples, one dish of twelve -............

Pears, one dish of twelve -..........

Collection of miscellaneous Fruit from one garden - ......no exhibit

Nosegay, the produce of Cottager's garden - ........

Three Window Plants in pots (not annuals), three varieties -...........

Two Window Plants in pots (not annuals), two varieties -...........

Fuchsia, one -..........

Geranium, one -...........no first awarded.

Sample of Honey, in glass -...........no second

Collection of Honey, in comb - .......

Model of Flower Garden -............



DIVISION D


Six window Plants - ......no exhibit

Three Window Plants - ...........no first awarded

Three dishes of Fruit (distinct) -.........no exhibit

Six bunches of Garden Flowers - .................

Potatoes, six dishes of nine -......

Ditto, one dish of nine, round white -..............

Ditto, one dish of nine, round coloured -..............

Ditto, one dish of nine, kidney white -........

Ditto, one dish of nine, kidney coloured -..........

Onions, twelve, spring sown -.......

Best collection of Vegetables, six dishes -.......




DIVISION E  (For children under 15 years of age)



Best design in Wild Flowers, 1. A. Yate  2. L. Steptoe;   special prizes, Emily Roberts,  Sandford-on-Thames and Rose MacIntyre

Collection of Wild Flowers in basket -...........

Best arranged bouquet of Wild Flowers - ........

Collection of Wild Flowers  -.......

Button hole Bouquet of Wild Flowers -.........





NOTES from the transcriber.





Not all categories had entries, and several had only one or two awards. Some had no first or second. Further research is needed to establish which classes were dropped in subsequent years.



Some wining names to appear were:


Division A   Townsend, Rouse, Trendell, Baker, Simpson, Chambers, Clarke.


Division B  Taylor, Simpson, Franklin, Fruin, Peyton, Morrison, Jones, Eagle, Woodbridge, Newitt


Division C  Grimes,  Abel, Holt, Gardner, Middleton, Wise, Weaving, Tinson, Painter, Trussler, Leach, Sburey, Lloyd


Division D   Leach, Chambers, Reeley



1. vallota purpuria.  Scarborough Lily. Greenhouse bulbous plants that are useful for the cool house. S. Africa 1774.


2. artillery plant. Pilea. Stove perennial herbs. Interesting plant with fine fern-like foliage, flowers insignificant. 1793.


3. antelopsis. Possibly Ampelopsis.  Unlikely to be Cornu antelopsis, a chinese medical herb.


4. schoolmasters............probably an heirloom Dutch variety called gBintjeh (Pronounced gben-jeeh).   gBintjeh or gMiss Bintjeh as it was known at its introduction in 1910 was the work of a botanist schoolmaster named Kornelis Friesland.  The problem with this is that the dates seem wrong!


5. Zenana. The Church of England Zenana Missionary Society was founded in 1880 when it separated from the interdenominational Indian Female Normal School Society (founded 1852). Its main aim was to evangelise the women of India by means of normal schools.



Stove Plants


Two houses at least, wherein different temperatures can be maintained, should be devoted to their growth . The minimum temperature during night from about 55‹ in the cooler to 65 in the warmer house, and from 65‹ to 75‹ by day, allowing a few degrees further rise by sun heat . In summer the temperature may range 10‹ higher by artificial heat, night and day, and will often by sun heat run up to 90 or even 95 , beyond which it should be kept down by ventilation and frequent syringing and damping down of the pathways . During the growing period atmosphere must be kept moist by damping the walls and pathways, and by syringing the plants according to their needs; when growth is completed less moisture will be necessary . Watering, which, except during the resting period, should generally be copious, is best done in the forenoon; while syringing should be done early in the morning before the sun becomes too powerful, and late in the afternoon to admit of the foliage drying moderately before night .  (1911 definition)