This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V20", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
This little matter seems to have created considerable interest. We are glad to have the following corroborative experiences that it is not till the vegetative forces have, in a measure, exhausted themselves, that the reproductive follows and fruit results. We have never known of a Wistaria fruiting while actively engaged in twining. 'Only when some branches find nothing to cling to, do they seem to think it time to think about seeding. Of course it makes no difference whether these branches hang from a horizontal iron rod or from a self-supporting stem. Branches flower when actively engaged in twining; that is, when these branches are supported, and it would be interesting to know from our correspondents if any have ever been known to seed, and if they have, whether or not some accidental circumstance, such as an injury to its bark, which interfered with the vegetative force produced it in the meantime, we are glad to have these confirmatory notes from our friends. The first is from Prof. Beal:
" Friend B."W. Steere: Thomas Meehan says that Chinese Wistaria, when supported, grows amazingly, but is seedless. On the contrary, the self-supporting so-called 'Tree Wistarias produce seeds abundantly, etc. What do you say? I remember collecting seeds from a vine on your house. Please write a sentence or two on this sheet anywhere, in pencil or otherwise, and return. "W. J. Beal, Agr'l Col., Lansing, Mich".
B. W. Steere is an old reliable nurseryman of Michigan.
"W. J. Beal, Est. Friend: Our Wistaria, which runs up a column of the verandah and along an iron rod, etc, in all 20 or 30 feet, has borne seed abundantly for many years; though my recollection now is, that it did not seed much, if any, for several years at first. Hence, I conclude that mature age has more to do with it than the manner of pruning or training. I have had no experience in training it tree-fashion but am unable to see why that course should cause it to seed more freely. If the question has any bearing on its propagation, I should say the less seed the better, as the pods are not ornamental, and it roots very easily from layers. Very truly, B. W. Steere, Adrian, Mich".
The next is from Mr. W. C. Strong, of Brighton, Mass.:
"Your suggestion, as communicated to the Gardener's Magazine, that the luxuriant vege -tative growth of this vine when supported upon a trellis is the cause of its barrenness, is suggestive and worthy of consideration. It certainly seems reasonable to suppose that the self-supporting tree-form of training would check over-luxuriance of growth, and give free circulation of light and air, thus tending to fruitfulness. But I should like to inquire how extensive are the observations in regard to fruitfulness in different positions? I suppose we are agreed in the opinion that this vine, as ordinarily trained to porches and buildings, is profusely free-fiowering, but rarely fruitful. Yet I know a vine in Newton, Mass., trained to a porch and luxuriant in growth, which gives an annual crop of about a peck of pods. Now, I would ask if instances of fruitfulness are numerous when trained in the tree-form ? Not having observed such instances, I had concluded that we were to regard this as a peculiarity of certain seedlings.
It is well-known that many seedlings set their fruit much more profusely than others, e. g., the Vicar Pear much more than the Duchessed' Angouleme. Those which are decidedly shy in setting fruit, although profuse in flowering, are rare exceptions, among which as conspicuous examples may be mentioned the Wistaria sinensis and the Pyrus japonica. And I have thought that this peculiarity tended to its own perpetuation."We are forced to propagate this peculiarity by layers and cuttings and roots. Seeds by which to obtain new and fruitful varieties are not to be found, and hence we multiply the individual variety by. artificial methods and confirm all its peculiarities. The Dix Pear will be shy in fruiting, however treated, until the end of time. But a seedling from it may rival the Buffum in productiveness. I now recall jour inquiry made several years ago, Mr. Editor, where I obtained my Pyrus japonica seed. My reply is, that I have a seedling Pyrus which fruits abundantly, giving two or three bushels of fruit annually. Doubtless you and your readers have observed that some varieties of Pyrus j. are moderately fruitful, but I think this instance of regular futility is marked, and not dependent upon position or mode of training.
But we shall agree, of course, that position and training may greatly affect the vigor and productiveness of all fruits. My point is to recognize individual peculiarities, so far as they may be traced".