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.
Mr. Editor - I embrace the first leisure moment to respond to your request, and herewith subjoin a few extracts from my "Notes on Pears."
The unpropitious character of the two past seasons, has so seriously affected, not only the quantity, but the quality of our fruits, that I have been unable to decide so fully as could be desired, upon the merits of those recently introduced, or their adaptation to our climate.
The year 1849, was distinguished for the destruction of the buds, which were, in the order of nature to produce the crop of that season, but whether the cause was attributable to the severe cold of the previous November, or to the sudden alternations of the weather in the subsequent winter and spring, has not yet been satisfactorily ascertained.
For many years previous, we had regular and fair crops of fruit. It was, therefore, confidently anticipated that the succeeding season would prove more propitious, and thus enable us to test the character of many new varieties, which have come to us under the influence of the "pear maniay" from transatlantic gardens, and which, too often, have no other saving quality, than that of being "fur fetched and dear bought."
In our expectations, we have been sadly disappointed, for, although the quantity was much increased over that of the year 1849, and the specimens in some instances of superior size and beauty, yet, on the whole, there has been a decided deterioration in quality.
The year 1850, has been marked with an unusual quantity of rain causing excessive moisture and a low temperature, both unfavorable for the ripening of fruits, and to which cause may be attributed the immaturity and want of flavor so manifest in all the classes, a cause which has not only imparted to some of our finest kinds a watery and insipid taste, but has rendered the medium grades only fit for culinary purposes. So general has this been, that I have not at the present time, a single variety of the pear suitable for the dessert.
I regret that your call should be made under such unfavorable circumstances, and I shall, therefore, confine my descriptions to such varieties of recent introduction as have given promise of excellence, reserving the right "to amend" as experience may hereafter dictate. NouveauPoiteau. - Size - large, three and a half inches high by two and a half in diameter, Form - ob-ovate, obtuse pyriform, slightly contracted in the neck. Sttm - short, rather stout, set a little on one side, and without depression. Calyx - medium size, open, with segments refleied. Color - dullgrcen,occasionally with brownish red cheek next the sun. Flesh - very melting and juicy. Flavor - rich, sweet and delicious, with melon-like aroma. Season - ripens early in November. Quality - gives promise of being classed with the "beat."
The Nouveau Poilcau is to all appearances, a desirable addition to our list of autumnal pears. The tree is of an upright vigorous habit, comes into bearing early, and succeeds well both on the quince and pear stocks.