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.
Cultivated High Bush - well worthy of cultivation - remarkable for size and beauty.
The introduction of the New Rochelle Blackberry was an event of considerable importance to horticulture. It is true that there were at that time other varieties in cultivation that possessed many valuable qualities, but the New Rochelle was such an advance in size that it awakened an interest in this fruit that had not been previously felt. The excitement created in regard to this variety may have been owing in part to the persistency with which Mr. Lawton pressed its claims for superiority upon the public notice, or because it was widely and extensively advertised; but whatever may have been the cause, it certainly has become immensely popular. Every horticulturist is probably aware that the popularity of a fruit is often dependent upon the manner of introduction; for if a variety is brought forward with much ado, and a considerable display of printers' ink, it is pretty sure of being widely disseminated; consequently it will fall into the hands of thousands, who, never having seen better, will believe it is the very best of its kind, even if it is not. Another point, which I fear is too often overlooked, is that of price at which a new kind is first sent out.
One that is given away or sold very cheap is seldom appreciated; but if two or three dollars are paid per plant, they are quite sure of being well cared for, and 17 as good culture is very often the secret of success, consequently many of our fruits seem to be wonderfully prolific and valuable only while they are new and scarce.
The New Rochelle has lost none of its original good qualities, but the depreciated value of the plant has taken away at least one half the incentive to good culture, and the result is seen in many a neglected plantation. Although it is still a valuable variety, yet it is not as good as we desire, for the fruit is too acid until fully ripe, at which time it is so very soft that it will not bear transportation to any considerable distance; besides, in many locations in the Northern States the plants are quite tender.
The Dorchester, which was about the only variety of blackberry in cultivation at the time the New Rochelle was introduced, is still extensively grown in many sections of the country. It is a very early and excellent variety, but in some soils is not very productive. The berries are also rather small to suit the popular taste, although in rich soils and under generous treatment they will average as large as shown in fig. 141. The Dorchester and New Rochelle blackberries, however, have been the means of calling the attention of fruit-growers to this class of fruits, which before their introduction were almost universally neglected. Several new candidates for public favor have recently been sent out, among which the most promising are the following:
Wilson's early. I confess to an agreeable surprise with this variety, for it has really proved to be superior to the high encomiums which were bestowed upon it by those who first disseminated the plants. The berries are enormously large, far excelling the New Rochelle, being much longer, and nearly or quite equal to it in diameter. Fig. 142 is an exact representation of a cluster of these berries, picked from a two-year-old plant. I have gathered many such clusters from plants set out this season, and its productiveness, even when quite young, is really surprising.
Fig. 141. - The Dorchester.
The extreme earliness of this variety is greatly in its favor. Following closely the raspberries, it fills a space in the season heretofore almost unoccupied, and affords an opportunity to the grower of small fruits of keeping his baskets and crates continuously in use. The berries all ripen in about two weeks, and the entire crop may be disposed of before the later varieties begin.
The Wilson's Early will doubtless become one of the most popular market varieties.