This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V22", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
The Mississippi Valley Horticultural Society held its first annual exhibition in the large hall of the Merchants' Exchange, this city, on September 7th, 8th and 9th. The display of fruit was large and fine, and came from two hundred exhibitors representing nineteen States, with a grand total of something over 8,000 plates. The apple collection is said to have been the finest ever shown in this country. A novel feature of the fair was " Pomona's Pillar," a half-size facsimile of the obelisk recently brought to New York: its pointed crest towering up forty-five feet from the floor, almost touching the frescoed ceiling, and covered from base to apex on all sides with apples of the Ben Davis variety. Something over thirty barrels of apples were used in building it. Down the southern face of the pillar in bas-relief read the letters M, V. H. S.; the work was well done and proved a big attraction. Only two collections of plants were exhibited. Michel & Son, florists, made a fine display of crotons, palms, ferns, agaves and cactuses. A. large Erica rubra, eight feet high, was conspicuous; a fine specimen of the rare Ceroxylon nivenm was prominent among the palms. This firm also exhibited a Mississippi steamer six feet long from stem to stern, of cut flowers, a beautiful design.
The first premium was awarded this firm. The second collection was from William Syred, florist, to which the committee awarded the third premium.
The display of pears was good. Ellwanger & Barry, of New York, taking the first premium. The pears from California looked like painted fruit. P. Earle &Sons, Cobden, 111., received the premium for the best dish of any variety, "Sheldon " carrying off the honor.
The premiums for the best five varieties for market use, awarded to J. S. Ragan, Independence, Mo. They were Bartlett, Sheldon, Beurre d'Anjou, Lawrence, and the Duchesse. For the best plates of Bartletts, premium to I. Rhodes, Bridgeton, Mo.; these were extra fine specimens Ellwanger & Barry showed fifty varieties of plums. All that were exhibited, excepting two plates of Damsons from J. Rhodes and one or two plates from other parties.
The display of grapes was something worth seeing. T. S. Hubbard, New York, awarded first premium for the best collection; one hundred and twenty-five varieties, the "Rogers' Hybrids" being very conspicuous for size and beauty. This firm exhibited a bearing cane, about two feet long, with twenty-five bunehes of grapes on it. A seedling, the "Prentiss." awarded premium for best bearing cane of new seedling for table and market use, quality and productiveness to rule. Your correspondent mistook this grape for a White Delaware. Bush, Son & Meiss-ner, of Missouri, awarded the second premium. This firm made an elegant exhibit. The Maxa tawny, the Elvira and the Triumph, the latter being considered the finest dish of grapes for table use on exhibition, the bunches weighing from one to one and a half pounds, being well grown and handsomely shouldered. The Tele graph was also good and received the premium for that variety. This firm received the premium for the best ten grapes for wine. Messrs. Bush, Son & Meissner are extensive wine growers, and it may be of general interest to name the winning ten: Elvira, Missouri Riesling, Cynthiana, Rulander, Catawba, Herman, Herbemont, Tay lor's Bullett, Cunningham, Norton's (Va.) Seedling. Mr. Isidore Bush considers Cynthiana the best wine, and Triumph the best table grape.
Two dishes of foreign grapes grown out of doors were among this collection. A printed card stated they were grown from vines grafted on the American stock, and thus treated resisted the attacks of the Phylloxera, all of which may be true, but the fruit thus grown was a miserable failure.
James H. Ricketts, New York, was another large exhibitor; his seedlings looked very promising, particularly No. 97; a piece of cane one foot long, of " Lady Washington," a large white berried grape contained three bunches, weighing in the aggregate, five pounds, (guessing,) they were much admired and looked very tempting. This gentleman was also awarded premium to the best ten table grapes: They are, Jefferson, Iona, Delaware,Concord,Secretary,Naomi, Lady Washington, Excelsior, Allen and Quars-aick, (Queer-sick.) Premium for the best wine grape awarded to Romuel & Sobbe, Mo., for "Cynthiana," and best table grape for "Triumph." Surprise, a large berried amber-colored grape by S. H. Smallcrop, Ky., received honorable mention.
Mr. Jefferson Davis exhibited a plate of Scup-pernongs. The table ofsemi-tropical fruits from Louisiana, and Southern California, consisted of shaddocks, oranges, lemons, bud and blossom of bananas, of the growth of 1880, from the former State, and lemons, guavas, citrons, limes, almonds, pomegranates and quinces from San Diego. Cal, of the growth of 1879.
The apple collection is said to have been the largest ever .exhibited, 6,000 plates being on the tables and many more not unpacked for which no room could be had The best and largest came from Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Michigan and Arkansas. In strong contrast to those from Missouri, was a collection from Minnesota; these were about half the size of the former, but very sound and handsome. On the same table and running parallel to each other were the Kansas collection, great, big, jolly-looking fellows, and a collection of the smallest, scrubbiest, and the wormiest looking things from the capital of the nation, Washington, D. C. It looked very much as if all the scrubs of the country had been gathered into one big collection and labelled, Washington, D. C.
The largest and handsomest plate of apples in the hall were labelled, " Beauty of the West." The premium for the best variety was awarded to the "Summer Pearmain." The following premiums were awarded. For best ten varieties North of 41st parallel of latitude:
Baldwin, Twenty Ounce. Spy, Golden Russet, Red Canada, Wagoner, Duchess of Oldenburgh, Maiden's Blush, Talman's Sweet, and Chenango Strawberry.
For the best ten varieties south of 37th parallel:
Buckingham,Kinnard's Choice, Fulton, Shoek-ley, Smith's Cider, Yellow Bellflower, Wine Sap, Ben Davis, Kentucky Streak, and Pennsylvania Red Streak.
For the best ten varieties between the 37th and 41st parallel:
Willow Twig, Jonathan, Stark, Ben Davis, Rome Beauty, McAfee's Red, Smith's Cider, Rawle's Janet, Wine Sap, and Lawver.
The Mississippi Valley Horticultural Society is now an established fact and with the following named gentlemen as officers of the society its future success and prosperity is ensured:
Parker Earle, Cobden, 111., President; Gov. Furnass of Nebraska, Vice-President; Prof. S. M. Tracy of Columbia, Mo., Secretary; and H. G. McPike of Alton. 111., Treasurer.