I have seen some very successful, and some very disastrous, attempts to grow good crops of Grapes in what are termed ground vineries. In the one case healthy growth and excellent bunches rewarded the efforts of the grower; in the other puny shoots, rusty with the work of red spider, and spindly bunches without size, colour, or flavour, were in evidence. It is plain as daylight that something besides the inherent capacity of the Vine to accommodate itself to a lowly home must account for this contradiction, and the causes of failure were not, as a rule, very far to seek. They might be enumerated as follow: (1) unsuitable varieties, (2) bad planting, (3) want of ventilation, (4) neglect of pruning. Perhaps if we take these points one at a time we shall be able to do some little good.
A, lean-to frame with Vine planted at each end, and trained along the centre of the lights.
B, end section of lean-to frame vinery.
C, span-roofed frame Vinery, showing Vine planted at one end, and trained under the ridge.
D, end section of span-roofed frame, showing laterals on each side and bunches of Grapes.
We have already seen that the varieties of Grapes differ. They have individual peculiarities, which must be taken into serious consideration when such a system of culture as that now under consideration is being practised. I do not say that it is impossible to grow such varieties as Madresfield Court, Muscat of Alexandria, Gros Colman, and Alnwick Seedling successfully in ground vineries, but I have never seen them thriving, and I am quite sure that there are plenty of varieties which would give the average grower a much better chance. Some people affect to despise such Grapes as White Frontignan and Chasselas Vibert, yet what grave defect can be urged against them beyond smallness of berry? I agree that these sorts would look insignificant if placed alongside Gros Colman and Gros Maroc, but I deny that there is any good reason why they should be so compared; and in any case I affirm that the balance would be more than redressed if flavour were taken into consideration also. I hope that it is
not a very far-fetched assumption that flavour is worth considering, in the case of something that we are not going to stand looking at for ever, but are sooner or later going to eat. Now, White Frontignan and Chasselas Vibert are Grapes of delicious flavour; moreover, they are accommodating in their nature, and will thrive under cool conditions. They are small in berry, to be sure, but if the grower must have something bigger, let him not be deluded by the temptations of Canon Hall and Gros Colman, but content himself with Black Hamburgh and Foster's Seedling.