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 important question has often been raised by amateurs, Can these de-licions grapes be successfully raised in the open air in the latitude of New York city I am happy to be enabled, from the experience of others, to give an affirmative answer to the question. For several years past the tables of our Horticultural exhibitions have displayed fine, large, well-ripened bunches of the genuine Black Hamburgh grapes, of a quality that would do no discredit to a respectable cold vinery, from the open garden of Mrs. Daniel Parish, at her fine residence on Union Square, in New York city.
A recent visit, taken in connection with others a year or two ago, brought to my notice three large vines, which I am assured have borne good crops of luscious Black Hamburghs every year, with one exception, during the last nine years; and this, too, without laying them down or giving them the least protection.
If we are asked, How is this ? we say in reply: The vines are set in a well-prepared, wide, deep border, arranged by the well-known florist, Mr. Isaac Buchanan, of West Seventeenth-street, at the suggestion of the late Thomas Hogg. The front of the border is covered with a flag-stone walk of the width of from six to eight feet, and the vines are trained on the south wall of the carriage-house. The garden, which is about fifty feet square, is protected on all sides by the buildings on the adjacent streets. Beyond this flag-stone walk, say eight feet in width, is now an Althaea hedge; formerly an Arbor Vitas hedge occupied its place, but it was killed during a very severe winter; the same frost, however, spared the Black Hamburgh vines, though unprotected. The only warming influence we could discover, after a close inspection, was the wide surface of flag-stones in front.
This experiment demonstrates the proposition that Black Hamburgh grapes can be successfully raised in the open air, in this city, under peculiarly favorable circumstances.
A few weeks ago we saw fine large clusters - some weighing about two pounds - of the same choice variety of foreign grape, grown in the open air in the city of Utica, in the fine grounds of the Rev. Philemon H. Fowler, D. D. In this case, however, the vines, including some dozen or fifteen hardy native varieties, Isabella, Ac, have to be laid down and buried slightly every win-ter, in order to withstand the very cold winter weather of Utica. It, how-lever, beautifully illustrates the practicability and importance of "bending events to one's will," and thus enabling us to enjoy the luxuries of tropical climes, even under adverse circumstances and the severest climate.
[Under very favorable and peculiar circumstances we have no doubt that some varieties of Foreign Grapes may be successfully raised in gardens attached to city residences ; we have seen several such cases. We remember a vine of the White Lisbon, in a yard in the lower part of Water street, which for a period of some twenty years produced annually a fair crop of grapes. It was finally destroyed by the Great Fire."The fruit of this vine we had opportunities of tasting a number of years, and remember it as being good. With the exception of a border, about three feet wide, the yard was paved with brick. We know of several other vines producing occasional crops of fair fruit under favorable circumstances, and we know, too, of a good many which have utterly failed to ripen half a dozen bunches in as many years. The late Roswell L. Colt, of Paterson, gave much attention to the out-door culture of the Foreign Grape, and met with some success, but finally abandoned it as unsuited to our climate, at least in this latitude; and this, in our opinion, must be the result of all such efforts, notwithstanding an occasional instance of success. Our only dependence, for vineyard culture, must be upon our native varieties, and hybrids from them.
This is now so well understood, that it will require a good many instances of success more striking than those given above, to induce practical men to embark'in the culture of the Foreign Grape in the vineyard ; and yet we know that thousands and thousands of imported grape cuttings are annually sold in the city of New York at prices for which a good native vine could be purchased at any respectable nursery ; the majority of these cuttings, too, are of kinds positively inferior to our best native grapes, for the table at least. We have had our share of experience in the out-door culture of the Foreign Grape, and our success, at a considerable cost of labor, has been meagre indeed ; and we cannot add much by way of encouragement, except under some such favorable circumstances as those noted by Mr. Pardee; where these exist, the amateur will find the subject worthy of his attention. - Ed]