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.
I noticed in an article on plums, in your June number, something requiring explanation from me, but have not been able for want of time, to attend to it. I once called the Montgomery a plum, (though it goes by the name of prune,) and for this reason. It is customary in Lancaster to call any new seedling plum, or any nameless one, prune or plum, according as it is oval or round; it was so with Mr. Carpenter, and by the enclosed letter you will perceive it was also so with others. In the latter case, where two different sorts have the same name, it is well enough, but I think upon the whole, it were better for horticulturists generally, to curtail and simplify as much as possible, and not dub a plum "prune," simply on account of shape, without reference to sweetness or drying qualities. The above article also recommends the Groundacre plum, and knowing that there was a mistake in the name, I wrote to the namer of the fruit, Mr. Gun-baker, of Lancaster, Pa., for a description, which he has kindly furnished, and which I take pleasure to enclose to you.
The Gundaker prune is doubtless the fruit
Mr. Fahnestook alludes to, as it agrees with Mr. Carpenter's description of it.
The excessive beat and drouth of the last three weeks, has caused a heavy loss to the wine makers of Ohio, leaving but about one-third of the half crop anticipated, the balance being dried up. Three weeks since, my crop of grapes on three acres, was estimated at 600 gallons; today it is all pressed, yielding but 130 gallons, very sweet, but containing also much sediment, and I have done better than many others.
I was much pleased with Mr. Van Buren's experiments on the curculio, in the last number, and hope he will not be discouraged. I shall send you some of my experience when time allows. Tours respectfully, C. G. Siewers. Cincinnatij Sept., 1851.
The following is Mr. Gundaker's letter referred to G. G. Siewers - Dear Sir: Tours of the 80th of August, came duly to hand. Ton inquire relative to the origin of the Gundaker plum. The fruit you allude to was raised by myself, somewhere about 32 years ago. I planted some seed, of what kind of fruit I do not recollect; there were about a dozen grew, and when going to inocculate them, two of which, judging by the leaves, etc., I let stand, thinking they would bring good fruit.
The one you allude to was named the Gundaker Prune, and the other Gundaker Plum. The prune is of a yellowish white color, nearly as large as the Blue Prune, and of the same shape, (oval,) very high flavored, and a good bearer. The plum is of a purple color on one side, and the other, a light color; heart shaped, resembling a plum called the Golden Drop, but larger in size, and a great bearer.
I should have answered yours before this, but my absence from home was the reason of my not doing it. Resply your obd't servant, Same. E Gundaker. Lancaster, Sept. 15, 1851. --------Lime-wash for Curculio. - Dear Sir: I have noticed with much pleasure, in your September number of the Horticulturist, the success of Mr. Ludlow, of Yonkers, N. Y., on applying a new remedy against the attacks of the curculio. He tells us that he made a pailful of white-wash from unslaked lime, and mixed with it a handful or two of Hour of sulvkur. This he applied three times, allowing three days to intervene between each application.
I have great faith in his remedy, and the more from an experiment which I performed upon two plum trees several years ago, which I will now describe to you. I had read somewhere this tact, or it had been related to me, that a man sowed gypsum, or plaster of Paris, in a field adjoining an orchard of apple trees, at a time when they were in full blossom. It was quite windy that day, and the plaster was carried pretty abundantly to all the trees on that side of the orchard next to the field. In the fall it was observed that those trees which received the plaster bore very abundantly, while the other trees which did not receive it, bore little or none; and I remember that the cause of the great bearing was attributed to the plaster. Receiving a hint from this, others had applied the plaster to other fruit trees when in blossom, and with similar good results. Having become acquainted with these facts, I resolved to try the efficacy of plaster on my two plum trees, which had previously been full of blossoms from year to year, but had borne no fruit of any account. This year they were very full of blossoms, and I applied the plaster by throwing it in a powdered state, on to the blossoms, in the morning, I think, and probably when they were somewhat moist with dew.
In the time of their ripening, the tops of the trees were one almost perfect blush of purple. I never saw plum trees hang fuller in my life.
I did not then know that the plum tree was subject to the attacks of such an insect as the curculio, nor did I understand what connection there was between the plaster and the great bearing of the trees. The next year, I think, I left the place, and not till within the past year or two, having had any plum trees large enough to bear, I had forgotten all about my experiment, nor had I had seen in any quarter, notice of the continued application of plaster for the purpose of making trees bear more.
Mr. Ludlow attributes the perfect success of his experiment to the sulphur, and if he is correct, I think I can see now the reason of my success in the case I have mentioned. Gypsum, or plaster of Paris, is sulphate of lime, and by throwing this on to the blossoms, sufficient sorbed by them, to protect the growing fruit from the ravages of the curculio. I think I did not make the application but once. Perhaps, however, it had better be made two or three times - once, at least, after the fruit is formed. This method of applying the sulphur, i. e., by throwing ground plaster on to the blossoms, has this advantage over Mr. Ludlow's method, that it is more simple and easy. Tours respectfully, E. L. Hart. Farmington, Ct,, Sept. 18,1851.