This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
Mr. J. Jay Smith: Why is it that we Pennsylvanians do not improve and discriminate our seedling fruits? We certainly have some amongst the best apples and pears in the country; should any fine fruit come under the notice of our friend, Dr. Brinckle, or some few others, it will be brought into notice. We have many good seedling apples and pears that are hardly known out of the locality where they originated. I have often thought why it was so, and I have even gone so far as to introduce the subject among our horticulturists, particularly at agricultural and horticultural fairs, but that would be about the last of it. If I offered a half dozen of the best seedlings at any of our exhibitions, I heard no more of them. It is not the first time my humble self has tried to draw the attention of committees, but could not get a passing notice. Now, you know, Mr. Editor, that is rather discouraging to a new hand; but should, by accident, some of our seedlings get out of the county or State where they were originated, some other State will generally lay claim to it; for instance, the Smokehouse Apple is set down, by Mr. Elliott's American Fruit-growers' Guide, as a native of the State of Delaware; the Gate or Waxen Apple is said, by Downing's and Elliott's, to be a native of Virginia; but, as it happens, there are persons yet living who know something about those apples.
The Gate Apple is a seedling of Paradise, Lancaster County; the seed of said apple was planted by Mrs. Beam, more than 100 years ago, her family being amongst the first settlers of this county; the apple went, for many years, by the name of Mother Beam Apple. In the course of time, there was a gate planted close to the Apple-tree, and, afterwards, it assumed the name of Gate Apple.
Mr. Niesby married into the family of the Beams - was one amongst the first settlers of Ohio; he took scions, from this same tree, out to Ohio with him, and, in course of time, the Apple was extensively cultivated in the County of Belmont, Ohio. I suppose some one thought proper to call it Belmont, which name it bears in many localities.
The Smokehouse Apple, set down to the credit of little Delaware, I now will bring home to old Lancaster County; the original tree I recollect very well when in its glory, at Mrs, Gibbon's smokehouse, near Mill Creek; from the appearance when standing, I should suppose it to have been at least 80 years old, but it is now gone. We have many trees, now, from said original, in this neighborhood, from 40 to 50 years old, and they are amongst the best kitchen or bake apples we have, coming in use in August, and lasting till March. If quite green, they make a good pie. A PENNSYLVANIAN.
Speaking of a late article on hedges, a valued correspondent, who knows all about it, says: "Ah! if people could be prevailed on to pay the same attention to their fruit-trees 1 They, too, are highly ornamental, and nothing can be more beautiful than a fine garden of large pyramids, as was, and stall is, the garden of my late friend, Esperen. I often spent happy moments, in the morning, at the window of my bed-room, when there, overlooking that fine spot, that masterly piece of human skill and perseverance, and can tell you that it was a delicious sight, either in their May dress, in their summer attire, or loaded with their rich crops of luscious treasures. Intermix these with evergreens, so a* to have, as Boileau says, something to cheer us up, and to break the monotony of the dismal snow-carpeting, and you will find it a great benefit to the mind depressed by the gloom of a wintry day." Another writes as follows: -
Mr, Editor: I was much pleased with your leader in the May number, respecting "Evergreens, and other matters.11 What you said respecting feeding trees interested me, for I have tried the same thing for two years past, but without your success. I have dug trenches at what seemed to be the extremities of the roots of many of my trees, and filled the holes with rich soil, but the trees have not as yet shown any decided improvement. While the digging was going on about the trees fed last fall, I examined very carefully some of the poor soil which was thrown out from, the trenches, and, to my surprise, found it full of minute fibres, the little roots of the tree, which the careless eye could not see, and which offered no resistance to the gardener's spade. I concluded that my trees were injured as much by the digging as they were benefited by the feeding. And as the circles I had dug around the trees - twelve feet in diameter - had evidently encroached upon the roots, I concluded that I must either plough up my grounds, and thoroughly manure the whole, or else let the trees take their chance undisturbed.
What think you?. Inquirer.
This was careless; you should not examine the earth after it is dug out, but expend a little time in approaching the roots, examining for the first rootlets as you go. - Ed.