Title: The Horticultural Exhibition

Periodical: The Citizen

Date: May 14, 1892

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"THE FLOWERIES," which may or may not be selected as the popular designation of the International Horticultural Exhibition, promises to be a distinct advance on anything hitherto attempted at Earl's Court. It is more than a quarter of a century since the last exhibition of the kind was held in England, and great strides have been made in gardening since that day. After this interval, too, Mr. Henry Milner's happy thought will come as a welcome novelty to most people, while that gentleman's name is an earnest that the exhibition will be thoroughly well carried out. Month by month the beds will be changed so that the plants and flowers proper to the season may be seen, while the usual concomitants of exhibitions in the way of bands and amusements will be provided. There is, however, one feature of exhibitions commendably conspicuous by its absence, and that is the long line of stalls packed with articles that no one wanted to buy, down which the unhappy visitor had to run the gauntlet. The only stalls present are those held for the purposes of exhibition by firms supplying gardening requisites, and these are of course an attraction rather than an excrescence, which is perhaps the best description of the bazaar element in exhibitions. On the programme is a series of flower and fruit shows, while floral fêtes are promised from time to time. Daily lectures and practical demonstrations will be given in the lecture and experimenting halls. It is worthy of mention that the entire net profits of the exhibition will be devoted to gardening institutions. Entering at Earl's Court, the visitor will hardly recognise
the appearance of which has been completely changed by the sweeping away of the stalls and the substitution of floral decoration. The hall is roughly divided into two parts. In the centre of the first section is a large fountain surrounded by statuary, palms and ferns, while roses and cut flowers abound. The side galleries are devoted to a very creditable collection of pictures. From end to end of the glass roof, which is tinted green, depend festoons of flowers, and the view right down the hall is striking in the extreme. At the far end is a sight on which the eye will love to dwell, for a large portion of the hall has been transformed into a lovely garden with winding gravel paths, fresh green sward, and flower-beds glowing with colour. The sides of the hall are lined with foliage, behind which is a cleverly-painted panoramic landscape. In the centre, too, are large palms, tree ferns, and flowering shrubs, while overhead droop clusters of climbing plants. Not the least of the attractions is a pretty little water-fall. About half-way down the hall, before this garden is reached, is a large fountain surrounded by masses of tropical greenery, and a pretty effect is produced at night by electrical illumination with a succession of changing colours. The four corners of this large central space contain groups of statuary and flowers, illustrating the four seasons. So much for the indoor garden, but let the visitor proceed to what formerly had the sole claim to the title of
Here the prospect is also very pleasing. In addition to the bandstand in the hall, and the old one near the switchback railway, there is yet another one in this portion of the grounds, the object being a more even distribution of music-listeners. Beyond the theatre, which has been smartened up by a [co]at of paint, is a scenic background representing [th]e Long Walk at Windsor, the perspective being excellent. This is quite one of the features of the exhibition. In this part of the grounds will be [f]ound the Japanese garden with its quaint temples and tea houses, while hard by is the Indian tea garden with tea-plants "all a-growing and a-blowing." In an adjoining house may be seen the various manipulations of the tea-leaf, from its growth on the shrub to its decoction in the teapot. Another interesting show will be found in the Insectivorous House, which contains specimens of plants which prey upon insects. It is claimed that though much has been written about this class of plants, there has been no previous opportunity in this country of bringing them under popular observation. Leaving this garden by the north bridge the visitor comes to a baronial castle with a courtyard and floral maze; and further on are a Roman garden, an Egyptian garden, and Italian garden, and a Jacobean garden, each with its distinctive characteristics. Both the landscape gardener and the scene-painter may be congratulated on a series of pretty pictures. Finally come gardens of the Georgian era, and the large bandstand and promenade. Close by is the distinctly Victorian switchback and other amusements. Returning by another bridge, the visitor will either, at three or eight, find his way to Colonel Cody's marvellous show,
which took the town by storm in Jubilee year. Since that time Buffalo Bill and his merry men have been on a grand tour on the Continent and elsewhere, and return with a European reputation. Indians boating in Venetian gondolas and camping in the Colosseum must be pronounced a novelty of distinctly American origin. Possibly they also turned the tables on Columbus by discovering Spain. In the troupe are several Sioux hostages who were engaged in the recent war; and another new feature is a herd of buffaloes, some of the very few left of this almost extinct class of animal. The entertainment has also the old features which delighted large audiences on the last visit—the bucking bronchos, the attack on the Deadwood coach, and the marvellous shooting feats of Miss Annie Oakley and others. The arena has been enlarged and re-seated.
was performed by the Duke of Connaught on Saturday last before a large and gaily-attired gathering of guests, among whom were the Bishop of London and Mrs. Temple, Earl Manvers, Viscount Powerscourt, Lord and Lady Kilmarnock, Lords Balfour or Burleigh, Ashbourne, Rowton, Basing, Lonsdale, the Lord Advocate, Lord and Lady Kilmore, Lord and Lady Bective, Baron de Worms, M.P., Sir Chas. Mills, Sir Chas. Tupper, the French and German Ambassadors, the American, Persian, and Greek Ministers, Col. and Mrs. North, the City Chamberlain, Messrs. Henniker-Heaton, M.P., T. Beard, C.C., H. E. Milner (Chairman of the Executive Committee), and G. A. Loveday (hon. sec.). On the arrival of the Duke of Connaught the band of the Grenadier Guards, under Lieut. Dan Godfrey, struck up the National Anthem, and his Royal Highness proceeded to a temporary daïs in the centre of the buildings, in front of which a large curtain was stretched, screening the indoor garden. On behalf of the Executive Committee, Mr. Milner received the Duke, and, asking him to declare the exhibition open, remarked that they remembered that his Royal Highness's illustrious father was one of the originators of the Royal Horticultural Gardens at South Kensington, and was for many years president of the society, while subsequently the Queen and Prince of Wales were patrons of the last International Horticultural Exhibition held in this country in 1866. In reply, the Duke observed that the country only required to see for itself what could be done in the culture of flowers in order to understand what great scope there was not only for beautifying our cities, our parks, and our homes, but for making money by horticulture. When they realised these aims they would surely appreciate the efforts to erect an International Horticultural Exhibition, and would derive important benefits from its existence. His Royal Highness then pulled the cord attached to the curtain, which fell back, disclosing a veritable floral paradise. Both the indoor and outdoor gardens were inspected by the Royal party, who expressed especial admiration for the clever scenic representation of the Long Walk at Windsor. The next event was the entertaining of some five hundred guests at
in the large French restaurant. Mr. Milner presided, supported by the Bishop of London on his right and Earl Manvers on his left. Proposing "Prosperity to the Exhibition," the Bishop of London said that it would have been difficult to arrange an exhibition of the sort which would give a greater amount of pleasure to a larger number of people, and the flowers and the admirable arrangements for the visitors (particularly the ladies) had contributed very much to an exceedingly pleasant afternoon. He trusted as time went on there would be hundreds upon hundreds who would partake of the pure and delightful pleasure given by the sight of one of the most beautiful things that God had created—the beauty of the world of flowers. God had appointed that man should subdue the earth, and in the resources of that sovereignty he did not know anything which might more worthily claim the attention of mankind, and which brought a greater reward to those who devoted themselves to it, than the cultivation of flowers. Those who promoted the exhibition were thinking, not simply of the pleasure that would be given, but also of the furtherance of the science of horticulture. Most assuredly they were doing a very great service to humanity, because the cultivation of flowers was unquestionably one of the most civilising influences that could possibly work upon the hearts and minds of men. Mr. H. E. Milner, in responding, said they had endeavoured to show that England, with the co-operation of Continental friends, could put before the public an exhibition not only of the science and art of gardening, illustrated practically by landscape gardening, but one indicating the progress that had been made in floriculture since 1866. It was doubtless very interesting to Earl Manvers to recall the difference between the plants that existed then and what he now saw. The progress [?] was very remarkable. Not only had new types been imported, but the old ones had been so improved as to be almost beyond recognition. The present exhibition was also to be a place of entertainment, and the beautiful day they were enjoying promised to begin a new era in the life of the shows which would be held at Earl's Court.