This section is from the book "The Gardener V1", by William Thomson. Also available from Amazon: The New Organic Grower: A Master's Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener.
Three years ago we gave a brief memorandum, of the Grape-houses at Pitcairlie, and the prodigious crops which had been produced for so many years. Some thought we had, on that occasion, "thrown the hammer!" but those who visited the place and saw for themselves, thought we were far within the mark. It is not our purpose now to give details, as it would in every way be going over the same ground - as the Muscats, Lady Downes, Hamburgs, and other kinds are as fine and as promising as ever, and the Vines equally strong, if not stronger than ever. A house we referred to, which was in preparation for planting new kinds, is now worthy of inspection. Among them are - Madresfield Court, Golden Champion, and Mrs Pince's Black Muscat. The two first named, since the first time we saw them (which was at the great show held at Leicester), have stood high in our estimation, and it is with pleasure we see them holding their own at Pitcairlie. The Vines are strong, short-jointed, foliage like leather, and some of the lateral shoots almost like walking-sticks, one of which was near the pathway, and measured 2¼ inches in circumference. The bunches of these two kinds were numerous, and would weigh when ripe from 4 to 6 lb. weight each.
Mrs Pince is vigorous enough, but with Mr Laing (the gardener at Pitcairlie) this sort holds a secondary place; what bunches there were were large enough, but shabby in appearance. However, we trust it may yet redeem itself; but many who have grown it are casting it off as speedily as they can. We would here remark that it is a too common practice to discard useful Grapes because they require different treatment from the Black Hamburg. I do not suppose Mr Laing will be so hasty; he may probably graft it on some other kind, and give all manner of justice to the delinquent. In a large span-roofed house, a Golden Champion was grafted on a Black Hamburg, and, though only on a side shoot, was making a fine rod. This will give a double chance to this fine Grape. "When we last reported on this span-roofed house, it was just planted; the rods grew strong, right over the house; the following season it was cropped heavily, and each season since (this included) the crops have been enormous. We put little value on heavy bunches when not accompanied with large berries, fine colour, flavour, and compactness.
But these points are all, in a great measure, produced at Pitcairlie. M. Temple.