The Dundee Flower Show

Dedicated to the Right Honourable Earl of Dalhousie

Twas in the year of 1886 and in the 2nd day of September
Which the lovers of horticultural beauty will long remember
Especially those that visited the Flower Show, on the Magdalen Green, Dundee,
Must confess it was really a most magnificent sight to see

The Right Honourable Earl of Dalhousie, he was there,
And delivered an eloquent opening address, I do declare
To the ladies and gentlemen that had come to see the show
Which was received with hearty pleasure by the high and low

The 4th Hussars Band were there in grand military array,
Good looking soldiers all young and gay
And at the opening ceremony they played God Save The Queen
In the grand flower show on the Magdalen Green

And the Mars Boys band were there on Friday afternoon
And their Instruments seemed to be in very good tune
They discoursed sweet music until six o clock
While the people around them did flock

I hope the noble boys will be spared for many a day
While on board the good ship in the silvery Tay
May they always be obedient to their officers in command
And may God enable them to discourse sweet music by sea and by land

The Industrial School Boys Band were there on Saturday
And played most eloquent music both plaintive and gay
Which met with the appreciation of the people there
And for the time being helped drive away dull care

For beauty such plants and flowers here have been seen
That were displayed in the Flower Show on the Magdalen Green
Especially plants in pots, were most lovely to see
Belonging to W. P. Laird & Sinclair, Dundee

As for beautiful plants they were there by the score,
And some belonging to William Alliance and Peter Balmore
Also exotic Ferns most charming to be seen
In the Grand Flower Show on the Magdalen Green

There were also some beautiful Chrysanthemums, distinct
All in full bloom, with a charming tint
Some of them short and some of them tall
And some of them belonging to Provost Ballingall

And there were twenty four roses distinct to be seen
Belonging to James Cocker and Sons Aberdeen
Also some beautiful roses as ever sprang from the earth
And some of them belonging to Dickens & Turnbull Perth

There was also a collection of eight varieties of Fruit
And two varieties of Grapes and pines to boot
Which certainly was magnificent to see
And belonging to Colonel Moray of Abercairney

Likewise there were beautiful Apples there to be seen
Also beautiful pears which enchanted the scent
Besides red Gooseberries and White currants
And distinct six fine foliage Plants

As fine as ever sprang from the earth or sod
Which shows the handiwork of God
That he has created Flowers and Plants to let us see
The beauties of horticulture in its grandest majesty

There were also Potatoes Leeks and Onions there to be seen
Likewise Turnips and Cabbage green
Also two heads of parsley and two curled greens
Besides twenty five pods of full grown broad beans

Besides there was extracted honey in a show glass
And for quality ’twas said none could it surpass
Likewise in a glass a variety of busy little bees
All working away in their cells at their ease.

Success to the undertakers of the grand Flower Show
And to those that helped make the beautiful flowers grow
That tended them most carefully and brought them to Dundee
So that the beauties of the wise creator the people might see.

Dundee – Show of the Horticultural Society

The annual show of the Dundee Horticultural Society was opened by the Earl of Dalhousie yesterday. The exhibition this year occupies three large marquees on the Magdalen Green, and in every department the entries are not only numerous but of very high excellence. Stove and greenhouse plants are in fine form and health, and some show very skilful cultivation, the gardeners being in some cases excelled by amateurs. Of cut flowers there is an imposing display, Messrs Cocker & Son, Aberdeen, taking the first place with 24 kinds of roses; and that firm is also first for 24 dahlias. Of fruit, especially grapes, there is a highly meritorious collection; and in the vegetable department the specimens exhibited show great improvement on previous efforts. There is also a large exhibition of honey, and some of the exhibits are of great purity and richness. Lord  Dalhousie and the judges were entertained to dinner in the British Hotel in the afternoon.

Aberdeen Journal, 3rd September 1886

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Comments (1) »

  1. In the year 2018, on the 5th day of April at 11:38 am

    Although the topic is one somewhat unexpected in the annals of the Poet’s Posey, it is an excellent example of what makes McGonegall, McGonegall.

    Compare the work itself to it’s more mundane counterpart from the Journal. The Journal is a classic example of a “society” piece… to the point, mentioning names of persons of note (of which there were precisely one, an obligatory member of the aristocracy), a winner of prizes, and some minor mention of other floral and floral-derived sundries (i.e., honey, which comes from flowers). It’s a classic example of filler, in fact, the sort of thing put into the paper to stroke a noble’s ego just a touch (always a good move), and fill space that otherwise would have been left blank due to a shortage of advertising.

    McGonegall, on the other hand, goes into far more detail, mentioning names of various entrants, firms, notables, and no less than three musical bands (one military, one of a local school, and one of apparently nautical nature– unless the Mars Boys happen to have been an extraterrestrial contingent!) as well. Far from limiting himself to mentions of roses and dahlias, he goes into an extensive list of flora, and where the article is willing to limit itself to the mention of grapes, our good Topaz cannot be restrained to such a minor thing– no, we are regaled with the greater part of the greengrocer’s stock.

    The whole in rhyme (of sorts), in meter (for a certain definition of meter), and stanzas (quite technically true).

    Sixteen stanzas, to be exact, each of four lines (none of which are exact, but we are grateful for the truth of the former!). Far more detail than the mere newspaper would give us, and far more informative than any common journalist could have rendered to the public.

    It is, however, marred by the fact that, although he did include the Tay (Never to be omitted, by heaven!) he failed to note the Earl and company being welcomed and entertained at the British Hotel– likely because that portion of the event was not for him to witness. A pity, for I have no doubt that, given the chance, we chould have had at the least four more stanzas to this work (and doubtless a full menu to boot!).

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