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.
The sensation created in England and France by the introduction of the Stanwick Nectarine in 1846 has had few parallels, but it has subsided on discovering that the climate was not entirely favorable to its perfection. In our own country, however, sufficient time has not elapsed fully to test its capabilities; it is still hoped that it may succeed on the walls of open gardens. At its first appearance it was supposed it was "destined to throw out of cultivation most of the stone fruits so highly prized by Europeans; also, that the Peaches of Paris, as well as the Nectarines of the island of Jersey, were tasteless and worthless when placed by the side of the Stanwick Nectarine".
We have received a single fine specimen this season from Mr. Caleb Cope, successfully fruited by his gardener, Jerome Graff, and present an outline of the fruit.
This Nectarine fruited for the first time in the United States at Mr. Cope's a year ago. The fruit was exhibited at a stated meeting of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, but the committee on fruit failed to give a description, though the curiosity of our horticulturists was excited to know something respecting it. The only notice taken was the award of one dollar to Mr. Cope's gardener. It seems to do well here, except its liability to crack - a feature from which it may be exempt when allowed to mature in a cold house: this will be soon tried, as two plants are now growing in Mr. C.'s cold vinery. The plant from which our figured specimen was plucked is small, growing in a ten inch pot. Last year it had five beautiful Nectarines upon it, some of them slightly cracked; the present season it produced but three, two of which decayed before maturity. The plant has labored under great disadvantages, in being forced two successive seasons, and without being shifted. In the flavor of the fruit we think it far surpasses any previous variety known to our cultivators.
It has nothing of the insipidity of the Nectarine, and less than usual of its peculiar odor; it may be pronounced a smooth thinned Peach of the most delicate character, exceedingly tender, rich, juicy and sugary, without the slightest trace of the flavor of prussic acid. When we speak of the odor of the common Nectarines, we do not do so disparagingly, for the smell and the beauty of the fruit have hitherto comprised its principal value. The plant is growing on a Peach stock, and the fruit may be said to equal in size any of the melting varieties. Mr. Graff deserves great credit for its introduction.
It may be as well to reproduce here some of the particulars respecting this novelty from the Journal of the London Horticultural Society. Fruit of this new and extraordinary production was received August 29th, 1846, from Lord Prudhoe, in whose garden at Stanwick-park it had ripened. He obtained the variety from stones given him by the vice-consul at Aleppo, then residing near Suedia in Syria, whose favorable climate is peculiarly suitable for the cultivation of Asiatic or European fruits. The vice-consul, Mr. Barker, brought to England Peaches and Nectarines with sweet kernels like a nut, probably never heard of till their existence was announced by him. The fruit of the Peach and Nectarine, partaking so much as it does of the qualities of the bitter Almond, must have been very deleterious in its unimproved state. It was considered unlikely that amelioration would be carried much farther. For at least a century little improvement has been effected, and in every variety hitherto the kernels have proved intensely bitter.
But at last this is overcome; in the specimen above described, the deleterious quality considered inherent in the species has disappeared.
The tree on its own roots is a strong and robust grower, and continues to grow late in autumn, and has hitherto retained its leaves in England throughout the winter. Lord Prudhoe's gardener has no doubt that when worked on Apricot, Plum, or Almond stocks, it will prove quite hardy there, and bear well even in the north. The original price was fifty dollars a plant.
What say our hybridisers can be done to give it an American constitution ?