It is the season of the gladioli, that flower as brilliant as the lily, as elegant as the palm. The gladiolus could not find an asylum more in keeping with its brilliance and elegance than the vestibule of the great greenhouse, whose ravishing interior M. Lancelot is reproducing for us today, just as he once painted the luxuriant vegetation of the great greenhouse.
A pretty fountain, from which water sprays out in pearls in bronze basins, occupies the middle of the hall. Through the golden trellises that serve as walls, the wind lifts the light white and pink fabric that covers them. Garnet velvet and gold twists serve as fringes on the outside. Benches are placed among the flowers to serve as resting places for the walkers, who hear the murmur of the nearby waterfall before them, and the muffled sounds of military music in the distance. It is truly an enchanting place, and made, as Fénelon would say, for the pleasure of the eyes.
It is here that the jury of Group IX marks the good points of the flowers which follow one another, according to the order of the season, while waiting for the prizes reserved for the best coefficients for October 15. On that day, the awards will also be given to Group VIII and Class 95 of Group X.
Just as the agriculture group has its headquarters in Billancourt, the horticulture group has its headquarters in the Jardin réservé, whose marvels we have more than once described, drawing inspiration from the magical style of Mr Edmond About. So we had left off with the fourth series of gardening prizes.
Let us resume our recapitulation of the prizes, from the fifth to the seventh series; and let us not forget that, in relation to the prizes of October 1 5, these prizes are only good points whose total will be used as a coefficient.
Has anyone noticed that the most charming flowers always have the most barbaric names? These names should be remembered in passing, as we write them down; and if you want to see what they hide, look them up in a botanical dictionary.
As for the winners, we find more or less the same names as in previous competitions.
The gardeners are creators, that's obvious: you know, by the way, that the black rose, or almost black, is found! But here's the problem: gardeners also try to be clever.
Here are some ornamental greenhouse plants, which I believe are called callodium bullosum. Fortunately, M. Bleu, from Paris, has found new varieties which he has had the good sense to name: 1° Triumph of the Exhibition, 2° M. Bleu, 3° M. Le Play, 4° M. Alphand, 5° M. Devinck. I will go to a florist and ask for a M. Le Play, and it is likely that I will get one. Le Play, and it is probable that I shall be better understood than at the commissariat general.
What I regret, because of the affordable name, is that neither the carnations nor the flowering kalmias got any good points.
On the other hand, the yloæinia won two first prizes; one to Mr. Linden, from Brussels, the other to Mr. Bonâtre, from Neuilly. What, you may ask, are gloxinia? They are exotic officinal plants.
Roses of all kinds, in the ground, in seedlings, in pots or in bouquets, offered me compensation. It is marvellous what an artist can do with a rosebush! It seems that M. Jamin, from Pari-, is incomparable for the clawed stem rose: it is true that M. Margotin, from Bourg-la-Reine, wins for seedling roses and for the invention of species. But M. Bernard, from Paris, has no rival for bouquets, especially for the table. It rained down on him a deluge of good points.
The orchids and pelargoniums in flower made many happy, first Messrs Linden, from Brussels, and Chenu, from Isle-Adam, three times named, then Messrs Thibault and Kateleer, and Mr A. Dufoy, from Paris, Mr Lemoine, from Nancy, and for seedlings Mr Cassier, from Paris. For second-growth orchids, M. Luddemann, of Paris, was the winner.
For tree ferns and temperate greenhouse plants, M. Chantin, from Paris, already named many times, had four first mentions.
But proper names, as well as flowers, are heady stuff; so I'll pass on, and the best.
The gardeners of Paris and the surrounding area have only to behave themselves; the foreigners, Dutch, English, Belgians especially, are fighting with them in terms of care, intelligence and invention, and are threatening to overtake them.
Let us say for the record that the cooperators obtained two first prizes, one for Mr. Chenu, gardener to Mr. the Count of Nadaillac, the other for Mr. Isidore Leroy, gardener to Mr. Guibert, whose collection of orchids in Passy is incomparable.
Viticulture was brilliantly represented by Mr. J. Marcon, of Saint-Émilion, for the new palmette, cordon and tree crops; by Mr. de Saint-Triviér, of Vaux-Renard in Beaujolais, for his short pruned stocks.
I would not be forgiven if I forgot the fruits and vegetables.
There is no first mention of melons, peaches or grapes: can you believe it? But on the other hand, the vegetables triumphed, not the peas from Clamart, but the asparagus from Mr Lhérault-Salbœuf, from Argenteuil, and the potatoes from Mr Besson, from Marseille. Why didn't the artichokes from Algiers compete?
That is our nomenclature up to and including the seventh series, that is, until the end of July. And to think that Mr. Lancelot's beautiful drawing was used to inform us about the horticultural competition!
©L'Exposition Universelle de 1867 Illustrée