The Weald of Kent, Surrey and Sussex
Horticultural Fete, Tunbridge Wells - 1st July 1859
Source: Private collection
Horticultural Fete - 1st July 1859

A grand horticultural fete was held at Tunbridge Wells, in the grounds adjoining the Calverley Hotel, on Friday, July 1, 1859 which was honoured by the presence of the Countess de Neuilly, the Duke de Nemours, the Count d'Eu, and suite. They were conducted from the Calverley Hotel, at which they have been staying for some days, by the Hon F. G. Molyneux and other members of the committee; and, on their arrival at the entrance to the grounds, the Countess, and each of the ladies of her suite, was presented with an elegant bouquet by Mrs. George Goldney, the wife of the Rev. G. Goldney, one of the members of the committee. We will follow the noble party in their tour through the tents.

The first entered was that devoted to the productions of cottagers' gardens, where the fruits and vegetables exhibited by W. Brown, of Southborough, attracted much notice. The next tent was filled with cut flowers. Here the collection of roses shown by Mr. Hollamby, of the Strawberry Hill Nursery, near Tunbridge Wells, was most splendid; nor should we omit to notice that of Mr. Mitchell, of Tower Nursery, near Heathfield, or a box of cut verbenas exhibited by Mr. Foreman, gardener to the Rev. G. Goldney, which was deservedly commended. Among the fruit (which, however, was decidedly poor considering the liberal prizes offered) were some very fine grapes, grown by Mr. Powell, gardener to Dr. S. Newington, and a fair collection of six dishes of fruit from Eridge Castle, exhibited by Mr. Ogle, gardener to the Earl of Abergavenny. The collection of stove and greenhouse plants in this tent contained some very fine ericas, shown by Mr. Gilbert, gardener to E. L. Mackmurdo, Esq., of Hastings, and some gloxineas from the gardener of H. Reed, Esq., of extraordinary growth, also a fine collection of British and exotic ferns, grown by Mr. Maxted, gardener to J. Field, Esq. Beyond this were some splendid plants, exhibited by Mr. Gilbert, which obtained the first prize, among which were conspicuous Aphelexis sesamoides Barnsii, Rhyncospernum jasminoides, and Alamanda cathartica. Mr. Pring, gardener to Henry Reed, Esq., had many fine plants: two noble vincas, the rare and beautiful plant Cyanophyllum magnificum, Cissus discolor in great beauty, an immense plant of Coleus Blumei, Caladium bicolor, and C. distillatoria with leaves of enormous size, and a very fine Araucaria excelsa. Messrs. Rycroft and Wells, gardeners to Alderman Salomons, M.P., had a Medinella magnifica which eminently deserved its name; five or six achimenes highly commended by the judges, and many other very well-grown plants; and Mr. Drummond, gardener to J. Scott Smith, Esc., Phoenicoma prolifera Barns -, a very well-flowered Statice Holfordii, and Roella Ciliatra. The pelargoniums, though past their best, were very beautiful, Mr. Gilbert obtaining the first prize for six shows, and Mr. Pring for six fancy varieties.

The band of the Royal Artillery, consisting of fifty performers, under the able superintendence of Mr. Smith, was in attendance, and played some beautiful pieces. There could not have been less than live thousand visitors in the grounds during the day.

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Calverley Hotel [a.k.a. Mount Pleasant House, Hotel du Vin]
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