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.
You asked the question last Winter, in one of the numbers of your Monthly, " What is a Dwarf June Berry?" stating that you had never seen one, and did not know that there was such a thing. I have several of them growing on my grounds. The original one which I planted out some four years since, is now a clump of stalks from one fourth of an inch to an inch in diameter, and from one foot to seven feet high. I presume there are seventy-five stalks or shoots. When in bloom in early Spring, it is one mass of white flowers, and then another mass of fruit. I inclose a sample. When fully ripe, they are nearly black, and as good to eat as a Whortleberry; but it is next to impossible to keep them from the birds as they go for them as soon as the berry begins to turn red. These which I inclose are not ripe, but enough so; so you will see what they are. If a man had an acre of them, and could keep the birds from them, he would have a sight to behold. I don't know how many bushels he would get; but I think I might state within bounds, 200 bushels.
I hope these may reach you in good condition, so you can judge for yourself.
If this hasty note is of any use, it is at your service:
Saturday last, July 13th and 20th - the writer exhibited at weekly exhibitions of Massachusetts Horticultural Society, fruit of Amelanchier Canedensis, oblongiflorum, (Torrey & Gray), June Berry. I obtained the plants some six or seven years ago in Davenport, Iowa, since which time have grown them in my garden. July 20th, Massachusetts Horticultural Society, awarded me their Silver Medal for the introduction of this fruit into Massachusetts. The fruit was tested by a large number of ladies and gentlemen and pronounced excellent qualilty. In our garden it succeeds admirably; bears profusely; very attractive in blossom, foliage and fruit; flavor mild; rich sub-acid; very good eaten raw or cooked, and certainly promises well to be an acquisition to our collection of small fruits; it must be perfectly ripe to bo appreciated. It is more attractive to birds than any of the small fruits; hence the importance of guarding it from their ravages; this I have done by the use of a couple of rather formidable scare-crows and by changing their positions two or three limes a day; if allowed to remain long in the same place the birds become accustomed to them and they are useless.
I succeeded in securing the fruit in excellent condition.
I see by the June number of the Gardener's Monthly that you doubt the existence of a dwarf species. There would be no doubt in your mind if you would see plants grow and bear and propagate for ten years, when not over three feet high. One kind that I have never gets over two feet high.
We enclose you two photographs of the Dwarf June Berry, one representing the plant in bearing, the other a single cluster of fruit, natural size. They are both good representations of the manner of growth, and size and coloring of the fruit, being both taken when the fruit was ripening. We have cultivated them for seven or eight years, having procured them of a man who claimed they were the genuine Whortleberry, which could be cultivated in the same manner as any other fruit. The plants have never grown higher than four feet, and yield every year an enormous crop of fruit, or rather would, if the birds could be induced to let them alone, but they seem to have a peculiar fancy for them, picking into them before they are half ripe. The fruit we do not consider worth growing, though it might prove valuable in localities where nothing else would grow, as it is perfectly hardy, and never fails to produce flowers in abundance, and would fruit but for the birds.
It is grown and used by many in this locality, and by many the flavor is liked, though the majority pronounce them worthless.
[The little apples in this photograph are the size of Clinton grapes, and of a sort of royal purple or plum color, and quite unlike the ordinary June Berry of the Eastern States. - Ed. G. M].