This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V26", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
L. B. Case, Richmond, Ind., writes: In the November, 1884, number of the Monthly you published a note from me in regard to the Dwarf Almond, which is still an interesting subject to me, particularly as no one has given us a very definite answer yet. With this I mail you a few flowers from my double flowering white Almond, to show you its superior form and whiteness. When I come to compare the flowers of my white form with the usual red ones, I can see no difference, and now realize I have only the old nana. Like all the Dwarf Almonds I have ever seen, it is very short lived, although to a majority of people they all seem to live a long time, and appear to be hard to eradicate when once they have taken a good hold of any rich corner of ground; but let any one just keep all but a single stock cut away, and see how short lived a shrub it is. For the past two years I have been trying among my acquaintances to procure a very dark flowered form, but do not seem to succeed in finding anything different from the ordinary form. Now I feel quite certain I have seen them years ago, with very dark colored flowers, and I often find others have the same impression, but cannot locate any special place we have seen it.
Again judging irom analogy, there must be forms varying from the typical white and rose colored varieties, because all cultivated plants seem to adopt new and abnormal forms under cultivation, and if any of the readers of the Monthly should possess such a form, viz.: one with very dark colored flowers, and will send me a small plant by mail, I will in return send them a plant of my very choice white one. In the November Monthly I asked if any one could furnish the single-flowered variety of the Dwarf Almond, but no one seems to respond. This I very much regret, as I would very much prize such a shrub, and I think many others would also; so if anyone has it and would be willing to exchange for something else of equal merit, I should be pleased.
A Double Flowered Hydrangea - A correspondent says he has a Thomas Hogg which produces double flowers. If each flower is really double in the florists' sense, and not merely one or two additional petals, we should judge it would prove one of the most popular novelties of the day.
"G. E. K.," Kansas City, Mo., says: "Will you kindly inform me through the pages of the Gardeners' Monthly the cause of a sudden withering of the twigs of the double-flowering almond. The plants have until within the past week been growing finely, bloomed profusely, and now first one then another twig, sometimes two or three year old branches are withering, and the plants generally sending up plenty of suckers as far as the roots extend. The destruction of the twigs is almost invariably preceded by a strong flow of sap through almost invisible cracks in the bark, forming a mass of gum on the outside. The plants stand in low ground, thoroughly trenched, and were all apparently in excellent condition. The plants made strong shoots late last season and commenced growing early this spring. After the flowers were three-quarters out we had a heavy snowfall, lasting twelve hours, and though lilacs were in full leaf, none were injured.
[This disease is very common in the East, and is the chief reason why the plants are not popular, as they once were. The double red, or Prunus triloba, is equally liable. The appearances are precisely similar to those in the fire blight in the pear, and must be akin to that disease. Whole branches above a certain point will die in one night, and it is always apparent that the point near the uninjured part has been killed before the upper, and that the upper portion only dies because the connection between root and branch has been severed by this local injury.
What causes this local injury? It is certain that it is not the work of an insect. It is equally certain that there is no influence under what we might term atmospheric or climatic causes, that would injure the stem for the space of an inch or so, and not below or above this line. There is only one other influence left of which we have any knowledge capable of such a local injury, and this is the attack of a fungus. We know by innumerable illustrations that fungus attacks produce precisely these appearances, and just these results. The experienced cultivator has no hesitation in saying that this almond disease, like the fire blight in the pear, ought to be credited to fungus attacks. But here we strike a difficulty. In the cases where we know a fungus has destroyed vegetation, we can find the fungus by a good microscope, can figure it, show all its details and mode of working, name the species, and classify it in our botanical systems. But we have not been able to find the fungus in this clear manner which we assume to cause these "blights." Professor J. G. Hunt, of Philadelphia, and Professor Burrill, of Illinois, have found what seem to be fungi of a very low order, and which the microscope cannot well reach - Bacteria, Prof. Burrill believes, but which after all is but a name for a low fermenting organism - but beyond this nothing is clear.
All we can say is that the almond disease is probably produced by a ferment fungus, and no remedy is known. - Ed. G. M].