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.
J. G. B., Princeton, 111., writes: " I am trying in a small way to hybridize strawberries, raspberries and blackberries, and of course there are difficulties to the uninitiated, and it occurred to me that you being high in authority in such matters, would therefore be a proper person to apply to for information. If any information in book form is accessible to the public on hybridizing will you please inform me if you know of any?"
[There is no work that we know of, - and indeed hybridizing is such a simple affair, when understood, that it is hardly worth while to write a work about. Those who know anything of the structure of a flower know that the organs in the centre are the pistils, and that the powder capped organs around them are the stamens. In hybridization, this powdery substance, - the pollen as it is called, - must be taken from the flower of one variety and placed on the pistil of another, - and before it has received pollen from its own stamens. To insure this latter point the anthers or pollen-bearing organs are cut off before they are mature, it being sometimes necessary to part the petals before- they naturally expand, in order to do it. The pistil is not always ready for fertilization till a day or two after the flower expands. It is the custom with hybridizers to put some pollen on the apex of the pistil, at once when the anthers are taken off, as pollen retains its vitality for a long while, but in order to be certain that hybridization is effected, more pollen is put on a day or so afterwards, and very often the flower fertilized with foreign pollen is placed under a gauze bag to keep off insects which might bring pollen from flowers not desirable.
Raspberry Borer. - R. J. S., Philadelphia.
The specimens of Hornet sent are infested with the raspberry borer. This is the chief cause of the degeneracy of varieties. A new form comes out and for a while is popular, till the borer finds it out. It is then weakened by the insect, and being weak, is easily killed by the Winter, after which it is pronounced " not hardy." There seems to be no remedy but to examine one's plants occasionally, and when traces of the insect's existence are found, dig up and burn the whole plantation in the Fall of the year,, and set out new canes the following Spring. And above all, one should examine all purchased plants on receipt, and if infested with borers, refuse to receive them. A vigorous policy is required to keep down this pest.