Old News

Watford Horticultural and Floricultural Show

From the Illustrated London News, No 754, Saturday, July 28, 1855


EXHIBITIONS of flowers, fruit, and miscellaneous plants have, through the extensive application of scientific principles to the various departments of gardening, become everyday sights at this season. Nevertheless, a " flower show" is a somewhat formal scene of trim nature, especially when the specimens exhibited are ranged in rows beneath tents, from which the visitors often pass to their carriages - and the fete is over. A flower show in a picturesque park is, however, a much more enjoyable scene. Of this advantage the Londoners lately witnessed a specimen in the grand Floricultural display at the Crystal Palace at Sydenham; the park of which is, however, in all its grandeur, a much less delightful place for a flower show than the beautiful domain of Cassiobury, celebrated for its pic-nic parties, its stately avenues, its majestic trees and delightful boscages, its retired glades animated by herds of deer and cattle; and its congregated attractions ot wood and water, and picturesque building, from the castellated mansion to its numerous lodges and cool retreats, in their rusticated designs, harmonising most happily with the natural beauty of the entire domain. Here, by the kind permission of the Earl of Essex, the Watford Horticultural and Floricultural Society held their annual exhibition, on Wednesday week. The Hon Artillery Company had also obtained permission for a field-day in the park; and the combined attractions of Flora, Pomona, and Mars, drew to The exhibition a larger company than is often assembled in the private park of a nobleman.

The Show took place under a tent erected near the mansion. The display of plants was magnificent, and the fruit was very rich for a provincial exhibition. From one o'clock until five the Show was open to subscribers, and from five o'clock until seven to the public, on payment of a shilling: and during the whole time the tent and park were thronged. An excellent band performed a selection of music during the afternoon alternately with the band of the Hon. Artillery Company.

The arrangements for the Show were excellent, the shops in the town of Watford were closed in the afternoon, and the festival was the occasion of a general holiday.

During the day two companies of the Hon. Artillery under the command of Major Reed, formed in the park, in front of the Flower Show tent Their military operations comprised attacks on advanced posts; skirmishing parties were thrown out, and a brisk fire was commenced; alternate retreats and advances were made; bridges were stormed and taken; but the grand assault was upon the lock-keeper's house, on the Grand Junction Canal.

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