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.
IN THE Gardener's Monthly for February we find an intelligent and interesting article with this heading, by Mr. Bright, of Philadelphia. We esteem the subject of the first importance, and give it a prominent place. While endorsing Mr. Bright's views on the subject of inside borders for graperies, we think we can throw some additional light on it. He has gone somewhat fully over the subject, and we shall not therefore go into detail until such time as we can get our drawings from the engraver, without which the subject cannot be thoroughly understood.
It is now about thirteen years since we first gave our attention to inside borders for graperies, being led thereto by the manifest absurdity of growing the vine, especially in forcing-houses, under two opposite conditions, the head being inside, and the root outside the house; in all such cases, however, we found the law of compensations silently recognized by covering the border outside with several feet of coarse manure, to give warmth to the roots, but at the expense of cutting them off mostly from atmospheric influences. For some time before this we had regarded thirty feet outside borders as a great mistake, to say the least; and we were confirmed in this by our experience in growing the grape and the pear in pots, this having been the mode in which we first grew these interesting horticultural subjects. We were further confirmed in this view by subsequently seeing a grapery, one end of the outside border of which only allowed a width of some six feet for the roots to ramble in; and this end of the house uniformly produced the best grapes.
A friend being about erecting a small grapery some time after this, (now nearly eleven years ago,) we induced him, after a great deal of persuasion, to put his borders on the inside; and that house always more than realized the anticipations that were formed when it was put up. Some years after this we brought the subject before the New York Horticultural Society at one of its conversational meetings, but it failed to arouse any interest among professional gardeners, and they seemed to be of opinion that a departure from the "good old ways" could not be initiated by an amateur. In fact, we have never mentioned the subject in presence of a professional man, with but a few rare exceptions, either before or since, without being convinced that he regarded the idea as an absurdity; and we are therefore especially glad that a professional man himself has at last taken hold of the subject in good earnest.
About five years since we published an article (editorial) on this, subject in the National Magazine, stating where vineries of this description could be seen in successful operation; but that magazine did not reach a class of readers likely to be much interested in such subjects, and the article probably failed of any effect. We, however, from the beginning have talked of the subject among our friends, and have induced several of them from time to time to erect vineries on this principle, and we know of no case in which they have not given the fullest satisfaction. Our own experience is decisive as regards us personally. If we had a thousand graperies to construct for our own use, they should be constructed in no other way. The principle has become established in our mind as the best of which we yet have any knowledge. Houses upon this principle have been in operation around New York for eight or ten years past, and the principle has thus been tested by time, and-Mr. Bright will no doubt be glad to learn that its success has been all that he could wish for. There is one modification, how-ever, which we should mention. Mr. Bright builds a wall inside the house to secure a circulation around the border, and as a security, also, against any possible influence of the outside atmosphere.
In all our plans, except one, we have built a double hollow wall four or five feet deep; his plan probably secures the object aimed at more fully, but at greater expense; but of this we do not feel fully assured. Mr. Bright also secures an air passage under his borders, and at the same time thorough drainage. We regard thorough drainage as indispensable, but secure it in a simpler way. These are the two points in which Mr. Bright's plan differs from ours. We claim for the new mode all the advantages that Mr. Bright claims, and more. The house, vines, etc, are not only more under control, and the expense of outside border saved, but the general labor and expense are considerably lessened, and the vines are more uniformly healthy and vigorous; this is equally true, whether of a forcing-house or a cold vinery. In the latter, we claim for the new mode this additional advantage, that the crop of grapes will ripen, under proper management, some ten days earlier than under the old system.
In regard to the subdivision of the inside border, we know the advantages to be pretty nearly all that Mr. Bright claims. It gives us a special control over each vine as to manuring, stimulating, replanting, etc, objects sometimes of no little importance. Without, however, going into further detail at present, we will just allude to a friend's grapery, erected in accordance with our suggestions, in which both of the above principles are carried to an extreme. The border is not only made inside the house, but it is five feet beneath the outside ground level, and the back border is divided into sections even smaller than those named by Mr. Bright. The width of the house is only thirteen feet. This vinery has been in operation about seven years; the crops are very fine, and the results are in all respects highly satisfactory to the owner. The vines are fruited the whole length of the rafter, and a new shoot laid in each year from top to bottom, the old one being entirely cut out at each pruning. Of this house and some others we shall hereafter give illustrations.
In the mean time, we are at liberty to say, that the owner will be glad to show it to any of our readers who may desire to see it.