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.
Why has this once favorite variety so nearly disappeared from cultivation and from the catalogues of our leading nurserymen?
It was introduced to American fruit-growers some twenty-five or more years ago - about the time the Gardeners' Monthly was born - by Aubry & Souchet, French nurserymen, then established at Woodbury, N. J., a few miles from Philadelphia. At the same time they brought out the Pilate, Jouet, Imperiale, Souchettii, and two double-bearing varieties, the White and the Red Marvel of the Four Seasons. All of these and many others, French, English, and American, including Doctor Brinckle's choice seedlings, in all, some forty varieties, I have grown and tested, for several years, as they successively came before the public eye.
The result of my trials and experience of a quarter of a century is, that for family use at least, I give the first place to this variety, for the following qualities:
1st. Size; it is far the largest fruit I have ever grown or seen.
2d. Productiveness; under like conditions of soil and culture, it yields larger crops than any other sort.
3d. Length of season; as an illustration, I plucked the first ripe berry, from a score of vines, on the 20th of June, this year, within a week commenced to gather a supply for my family table, and at this present writing, August 5th, have just harvested the last of my crop.
4th. Quality; it is "good" to "very good," though not rating as " best." Its flavor is better than that of the Philadelphia, and other popular market sorts.
Next to the " Hornet," or rather as a companion to it, I should place Brinckle's Orange, of delicious flavor, attractive color and reasonably productive.
A saucer of the Hornet, sprinkled over with the Orange, is a most tempting dish for the supper table or the sick chamber.
I would complete the trio with one of the fall-bearing, that is to say, double-bearing kinds, whose autumn crop, borne on the young canes of this year, coming after all other berry fruits are gone, is always welcome, and often a pleasant surprise to one's guests. The best variety known to me is the Belle de Fontenay.
Raspberries should always be gathered, as they are in France, with their stems on. This is quickly done, holding a small, shallow box or basket in one hand, and in the other a pair of very sharp scissors, about four inches long, with which you snip the fruit off, without handling it. Thus gathered they carry better, keep longer, and can be eaten as strawberries commonly are abroad, dipped in powdered sugar or cream, or both, to the taste.
And now for the answer to my opening question; it is, either forgetfulness or neglect, on the part of the grower. All raspberries of foreign origin or parentage, are more or less tender in our climate, and need to be laid down on the approach of winter, lightly covered with earth, and any litter or brush that may be handy, and so left till all danger of freezing is past. It is not so much the cold of winter, while the plant is at rest, as the late frost of spring, after the buds have started, that does the mischief.
The cost of protecting them is very little; a skillful man can cover many hundreds in a day, and do the work at a season when there is little else to do. It pays better to do it than not to do it.
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