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.
Is it low or elevated, level or hilly, wooded or otherwise; and what situation and exposure do you find most favorable for orchards and fruit gardens! Have you observed any instances where shelter has been of very obvious advantage?
* Oswego, Onondaga, Cortland, Broome, Cayuga, Tompkins, Tioga, Chemung, Seneca, Wayne, Ontario, Yates, Steuben, Monroe, Livingston, Allegany, Orleans, Genesee, Wyoming, Niagara, Eric, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua.
What is its general character - such as texture, color, depth, dryness, subsoil, etc.; and what kind of soil do you find to produce the largest, soundest) and most productive trees, and the fairest fruit?
What is the average temperature of the different seasons of the year; the greatest degree of cold usually experienced in winter, and its length of continuance; how late have you frosts in spring, and how early in autumn, etc., etc.?
In what proportion are the various fruits grown, and what degree of attention is given to the tillage of the soil, and to the pruning and general management of trees? What mode of culture and pruning have you practiced, or seen practiced, to the best advantage; and what the best manures or composts and modes of applying them to fruit trees, under various circumstances?
5. Do you know any fruits of local origin, and remarkable excellence, or any good seed-ling varieties not named or introduced? [Specimens of all such should be sent to the General Chairman, for examination].
Which, according to the experience of cultivators, are the most profitable for market, for feeding stock, drying, Ac.; and the most esteemed for family uses in various ways, as dessert, baking, stewing, etc.?
[Give an account of such, with any particulars having an important bearing upon them].
8. Have you observed any signal failures, either in transplanting trees or in budding, grafting, &c; or any disasters befall orchards and nurseries, from unusual cold, drouth, or other extraordinary causes? [Give an account of such, with any circumstances that may afford an explanation. The effects of the intense cold of the past winter will be very interesting, and should be carefully observed and noted].
Note their habits, modes of attack, and progress, and give an account of any successful remedies. [Specimens of all, except such as are very common and well known, should be collected and sent to the General Chairman. It may be useful to note under what circumstances of cultivation, etc, insects are generally most injurious to fruit trees].
What diseases are prevalent and injurious to fruit trees in your district? [Give an account of the nature and extent of injuries, and what remedies, if any, applied].
It is also required, or recommended in the Society's By-Laws, that each county committee shall report, as often as once a month, such information as may have been collected during that period. These monthly reports have been recommended on the ground that when the preparation of a report is postponed to the end of the year, it is either done hurriedly and loosely, or it, is not done at all; whereas a few notes made during a month can be written out in a few minutes, and, being fresh in the memory, will be much more likely to be correct This plan strikes us favorably, and is at least worthy a trial. One thing it will do for those who put it in practice, and that is, it will give them, what is of great value, a habit of observing matters of interest closely, and of putting on record useful and interesting facts concerning their daily affairs. How negligent the mass of mankind are in this respect!
In addition to the minute practical investigations of this general committee, the Society intends to hold annual or semi-annual meetings, for the exhibition, examination, and comparison of fruits; to hear reports; and discuss such matters as may at the time be deemed of most importance. These meetings are to be held alternately in all the large towns, lying at accessible points, within the twenty-three counties.
This is obviously an organization which must, if it act with any considerable degree will bloom the season of importation. I had in flower, last June, twenty varieties of color among one hundred plants that were growing on English soil, near London, the 2d of May. These one hundred plants went through last summer's drouth and this winter's cold, without any protection, unscorched and uninjured, though the thermometer here fell to 14° below zero.
Double White flowering Almond.
Double crimson flowering Peach.
But by far the most desirable variety for this latitude, is the Hybrid Catawbiense, the names and colors of which I annex.* One hundred blooming plants, in twenty-eight varieties of color, can be imported for £10 ($50), the majority with buds, and averaging two feet in height There is nothing finer in England than a large bed of these twenty-eight varieties of color all in bloom. They are free-growing and free-blooming, having a good foliage, and withstanding our severest cold in the most exposed situation.
If nurserymen would only import these varieties in quantities, and sell them at twenty-five, fifty, or one hundred per cent profit, instead of three hundred or more, I am satisfied that their general introduction would take place. Or, if gentlemen would simply write to England, and import them direct, as the stubborness of our nurserymen has compelled me to do for many years, they would find very little trouble and very great gratification. A complete set of Dr. Hooker's Sikkim Rhododendrons, eighteen, I think, can be imported for £3 ($15), though in Mr. Prince's catalogue they are priced $5 apiece.
I agree with Mr. Munn in his prediliction for the Mahonia, though with me it is very ragged and shabby all winter; but I would decidedly place our Kalmia latifolia before it, especially when imported from England. It would be difficult to recognize the English and American plant side by side, though grown from the same seed. Instead of the loose, straggling growth of our Laurel, the English cultivation renders it close, stocky, and full, so that the wood is entirely covered by foliage. Bushy plants, two feet high, can be imported at £3 per 100, and they rarely fail.
For Mr. Munn's Euonymus, which with me resembles whitey-brown paper by February, I would substitute the Ilex laurifolia, which, with a broad leaf, between the Camellia and English Laurel, appears as hardy as an Arbor Vitae. For two winters I have had six plants, facing due south, with no protection, and they have gone through untouched. The fault, perhaps, of the plant is, that it resembles too much our Kalmia to make much distinction in plantations, though the foliage is darker. The Hex latifolia is still more beautiful, but not so hardy; it gets more or less cut up, without protection, - not more so, however, than the Mahonia. There is a variety of Euonymus such healthy and beautiful masses of Rhododendrons on their lawns as we find at Wodenethe. It has been considered a difficult plant to manage, and therefore very few hare been called for. Nurserymen get orders occasionally for one, two, and, in very rare cases, a dozen; but who orders one hundred Rhododendrons for his own planting? For twenty years, almost, we have been connected with nursery affairs, more or less, and we venture to say that not three nurserymen in the United States have made a six-pence of clear profit out of the article Rhododendron. They import a few hundred at a time, losing some on the voyage out, plant them, spend considerable money in preparing a border for them, cultivate and take care of them, and sell off those that live in ones, twos, threes, etc, at scarcely profit enough to pay for handling.
We have not the least doubt but that any gentleman who wishes to procure one or two hundred, or more, of Rhododendrons, and is willing to take freshly imported plants, that any of the nurserymen who are in the habit of importing will procure them for him at as low a profit as five or ten per cent above cost, provided he [the purchaser] will run the risk of loss on the voyage.
* Catawbiense. Elegans - white, green spots. Alburn.
Grandiflorum - blush, changing to white. Auoubafolium.
Asursum - a distinct and beautiful color. Bicolor - rose, with distinct white spot on upper petals. Coelestinum - blush. Pictum - yellow eye. Grandiflorum. Coerulesoens. Candidiseimum.
Delicatissimum - delicate blush, changing to white. Everestianum - Iliac, prettily spotted and fringed.
Flore pleno - very good for a double flower.
Gloriosum - large, blush.
Grandiflorum - rose, superb.
Purpureun elegant-fine purple.
Pertpicuum - clear blush.
Picium - rose, with yellow eye.
Splendens - fine rose.
Guttatum - clear white, distinctly spotted.
Nivaticum - pure white, yellow eye.
THE VILLA MANSION.
We have before us an American nurseryman's catalogue, in which Catawbiense and ponticum varieties are offered at four dollars per dozen; and another offers them at three dollars per dozen. These prices are for well-established plants, because nurserymen do not send out freshly-imported stuff, unless by a special agreement We do not consider these extravagant prices; indeed, very little higher than the retail or dozen price for similar plants in English nurseries. - Ed].