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.
We attended the Annual Fair of the American Institute, held at New York during the past month, for the purpose of inspecting the horticultural and floral departments, and we proceed to lay before our readers some remarks upon those portions of it which appeared to us most deserving our notice. Before doing so, we cannot refrain from expressing our gratification at the magnificent display which the Fair presented of our country's science, energy and industry, in almost every department of manufacture and art, and we have also to thank the chairman of the horticultural committee, Peter B. Mead, Esq., for his obliging politeness in acceding to our request for permission to make use of his lists of the adjudication of premiums by the judges, to assist us in the preparation of this report.
There were some fine specimens of Apples exhibited, and the display of them, as a whole, was the principal feature of the fruit exhibition. The silver cup for the greatest number of choice named varieties, was gained by John W. Bailey, of Pittsburgh, N. Y., who exhibited 65 varieties; and the silver medal, for the second best, by W. J. Carpenter, of Harrison, Westchester county, N. Y., who produced 40 varieties; the third premium was given, for 28 varieties, to Ira Condit, of Essex county, N. J. For the smaller collections of apples, a discretionary premium was awarded for 26 varieties to Isaac J. Underhill, of Scacaneus, N. J., a collection which was highly creditable; and although not nearly so numerons as those above mentioned, we doubt whether an equal number of such fine fruit could have been selected from either of the large collections. Amongst them was a fine apple in appearance, named the Congress apple, which, we were informed, was a seedling variety, which has not been exhibited before the present year; and of which the flavor is represented to be fine. If this is so, and its bearing and keeping qualities are good .it bids fair to become a favorite.
There were several small collections of apples exhibited, some of which deserve notice, although we thirk the judges exercised a sound discretion in not awarding premiums to them: because, however fine and handsome a single small basket of apples may be. unless it is a new variety, or has some especial recommendation to entitle it to notice, it is not within the intention of these exhibitions to give rewards for a few fruits, however fine, which are readily selected from, may be, a large orchard. On the other hand, it is not, on that account, the less praiseworthy in exhibitors to send any small contribution of the sort, which is sufficiently conspicuous to attract notice; inasmuch as it evinces a commendable interest in these undertakings, and shows a desire to assist in their advancement; whilst the knowledge that, although all small exhibitors cannot obtain premiums, the merit that is due to their productions is not overlooked by the public, will, we trust, encourage such exhibitors to a perseverance which on some future occasion may obtain for them a place by the side of their more fortunate competitors on the present occasion.
For this reason we notice with satisfaction the following, which formed conspicuous objects: A flue basket of Belle Bamders apples, exhibited by S. E. G. Rawson, of New-York, a label to which stated them to be a part of 35 bushels from a single tree. Many who admired them, will doubtless wish a fellow tree to be growing in their own orchard. Three plates of remarkably handsome apples from George Proceus, of Red Hook, Dutchess county; some fine Newtown Pippins from W. A. Underhill, Croton Point, were very handsome fruit, but barely ripe. A large dish of the Sherwood Seedling Wax apple, attracted much notice, exhibited by L. W. Annan, N. Y. A handsome basket of Gloria Mundi apples, from C. T. R. Applegate. of High town, N.J. A basket of very fine fruit fr«m Richard Read, of Clarksburgh, Monmoth county, N. J. All these collections were very pleasing to the eye, and could not fail to satisfy the observer, that the growers of them are amongst those who meritoriously uphold our reputation for this valuable fruit. A pyramid of apples, which occupied the centre of the table, contained some good specimens, and was furnished by Caleb H. Earl. But we are not amongst the admirers of this mode of exhibiting fruit.
There is, we think, a propriety in these matters, which con tributes much to enhance the beauties of all horticultural exhibitions; and we cannot help thinking a bushel of apples, even laid loosely in a heap, present more symmetry to the eye, than if they are tied round a post. At the same time, we think that if a little more attention was paid by exhibitors, or by the managers of the exhibitions, to the more tasteful arrangement of the dishes of fruit on the tables than we frequently see, a much more effective result would be produced: for by placing the several dishes of each collection in some order as regards the size of the fruit, and its color, there is no doubt the exhibition tables would present a more attractive appearance. One would think that even the disposition of a dessert on the dinner table might suggest enough to induce attention to this.
The Pears were not so numerous as the apples, but Messrs. Hovey, of Boston, exhibited many fine ones, in the whole numbering 175 varieties, which gained them the silver cup; and Jeremiah Briggs, of Jamaica, Long Island, obtained a silver medal for 80 varieties, the third premium being awarded to John Tonela, of Bergen. Some of the pears in smaller collections were good: we noticed particularly those exhibited by Frederick Glover, of East Brooklyn.
We caution exhibitors in these days of fine fruit growing, that they must, many of them, increase their vigilance, in taking care that their fruit is sent in proper condition. We observed many of the apples in some collections were much bruised. This is carelessness in the generality of cases, and should disqualify such fruit from exhibition, on the same principle that a bruised or broken petal does a florist's flower. We call the attention of judges to this. Strict, but at the same time impartial judging, is the only way to secure onward improvement in horticulture, be the branch what it may. The office of censor at these exhibitions is seldom a desirable one. Well digested and known rules, uniformly adhered to, is the only way for the judges to give, 'as we are sure they always desire to do,) satisfaction to all - particularly as their office is one which often presents much ground for a diversity of opinion, and must frequently be exercised upon nice distinctions.
The three premiums for Quinces were awarded to W. A. Underbill, R. T. Underbill, and R. L. Colt, of Patterson, N. J., for very respectable specimens.
Native Grapes were shown by several - and many of them in quality and condition fine - and which must have satisfied many who still remain skeptical on the subject, that they well deserve the increased care and attention that we are now giving to them. The best Isabellas, which obtained the silver medal, were exhibited by R. T. Underhill, the second by W. A. Underbill, and the third by Thomas R. Porter, New-Jersey. Mr. W. A. Underhill also obtained the first premium for Catawba, and R. T. Underhill the second. The silver medal for the best foreign grapes, was awarded to R. L. Colt, but of these, not any really fine foreign varieties were exhibited.
Mr. S. T. Jones, of Staten-Island, was first in the Peach exhibition, (both for freestones and clingstones,) which was very limited, and nothing remarkable in quality. The second premium for freestones was gained by H. U. Mott.
A small box of very nice Cranberries was sent for exhibition by John J. Webb, of Jackson, Ocean county, N. J., but it did not arrive until after the judges had gone over the fruit.
When these remarks were written for the press, the judges had not awarded the premiums for the floricultnral part of the exhibition, and we will therefore defer our notice of that branch until next month ; but we cannot omit to notice, injustice to the fair sex, that the visitors to the exhibition are indebted to them for several very beautiful specimens of skill in the shape of Ornamental Vases, and baskets of Artificial Flowers, constructed both in wax, and in paper. The advance recently made in the beauty of construction of those made of the latter material, by the more skillful artists, is so great as to render them very formidable competitors to those made of the more congenial material, wax, the similarity of which, to the texture of the natural flower, has hitherto given it an advantage which has not heretofore been approached. But some of the Paper Flowers which were exhibited by Mrs. Tan Skillins, 889 Broadway, New-York, evince so much taste, and are so well made, that the superiority of the softness of the material employed, over the stffness of the wax, becomes strikingly apparent.
One basket of flowers by this lady, in a large square glass case, is of really surpassing beauty, and is undoubtedly one of the most elegant and successful things of the kind that ever graced an exhibition. There were also from Mrs. £. Nott, 849 Hudson-street, New-York, some beau, tiful Vases of Wax Flowers and Fruit. Her Vase of Flowers was very beautiful, and although we believe more difficult to construct, was superior to her fruit, which was not naturally colored, but in other respects was good. A very excellent vase of Wax Flowers was also exhibited by Mrs. Alfred Sellers, of Sands-st., Brooklyn, the Fuchsia, Narcissus, Lilly, and Carnation, in which were some of the best eze-cuted specimens that we have seen for some time.
The Vegetables, as a whole, were the more important part of the exhibition. Several assortments were in the rooms, which were most excellent specimens of culture, and were deserving of all the honors they received at the hands of the judges. For culinary vegetables, the silver cup was awarded to H. C. Murphy, of Yellow Hook, Long Island, in which collection the White Silver Onions, the Parsnips and the Red Carrots, particularly called fur remark; the White Carrots were fine, but not equal to some which were exhibited by J. L. Scofield. The second preroinm in this class was given to J. A. Perry, New-Utica, Long-Island. For best and greatest variety of vegetable roots for cattle, the silver cup was awarded to Jacob P. Giraud, of Bergen, New-Jersey. This collection gave the best practical evidence that those scientific experiments have been eminently successful, which we understand Mr. Giraud has been making, in order to test the opinions of Liebig and other modern chemists, who have of late advocated the expediency of manuring upon a plan bearing especial reference to the proportion of the particular elementary substances entering into the structure of each vegetable production of the earth, so that the substances taken up by each crop may be restored to the ground.
Upwards of twenty sorts of vegetables were exhibited in this collection, and were uniformly fine and handsome. Amongst this assortment were to be found specimens of the unequalled collection of Indian Corn which this gentleman has accumulated, and which be has enriched by several new and very desirable varieties which he has originated by hybridising. This collection of corn contained 60 or 51 varieties, of which the aggregate number of ears on the table was upwards of 1,100, presenting what we believe to be the most perfect collection in the country. For this reason we subjoin the names of the varieties with which we have been obligingly furnished by Mr. Giraud, to whom we applied for it under the consideration that these particulars will be acceptable to be our readers.