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.
A CORRESPONDENT of the Maryland Farmer, after speaking of the magnitude of the peach interests of Maryland and Delaware, their advantages for its culture and the superior excellence of the fruit grown in those States, goes on to relate some interesting facts in connection with the history of this favorite fruit:
"It is a curious fact in the history of the Peach, that whilst it is a native of Persia and China, and was brought first to Italy in the time of the Emperor Claudius, and was considerably cultivated in Britain as early as 1550, and was introduced to this country by the early settlers nearly two hundred years ago; yet it is to a skill ful and intelligent orchardist of England of the present day, with her unpropitious clime, that the American cultivator is indebted for the production of more valuable new varieties than he has received from any other source. Mr. Thomas Rivers, of Sawbridgeworth, Herts, England, has six acres of land under glass, devoted to the cultivation of Grapes, Plums, Apricots, Nectarines, and a very large proportion to the cultivation of Peaches. These fruits are cultivated for the London markets, and are produced by him in great perfection, and command almost fabulous prices. Mr. Rivers, having his whole orchards of these fruits under glass, can control his oper-• ations in the production of new varieties without disturbance from storms or insects; the blossoms on every tree being entirely subject to his management, he can work understandingly, and make hybridous varieties, at his pleasure, without risk of extraneous influence.
The few new varieties produced in this country are the result of accident, the pollen being carried either by storm or insects from one variety to another, and the seed of the Peach from this bloom thus impregnated, has by chance, produced a tree. This rarely occurs, and when it does, the fruit is probably like something that we have already, or not as good as the original, without any change in the time of ripening.
"Mr. Rivers has been engaged in this business nearly twenty years, and has pro-duccd a number of new varieties. The Salway, a very superior late Peach, now generally cultivated, and very highly esteemed by growers and packers of fruit, was produced by him, besides several other varieties of superior excellence of quality. But the peach-growers of this country are more interested in, and will be more particularly indebted to him, for his success in producing an early variety that is intrinsically good, than for one however good, that ripens in midseason..
"In the Beatrice we have the result of his hybridizing his very superior Early Silver Peach, with the new White Nectarine, and it is all that the grower can desire in an early Peach, being, though rather small, of beautiful color, agreeable flavor, and a sound, healthy bearer, and possesses remarkable keeping qualities, ripening, whether with Mr. Rivers, under glass, or in this country, where it has been cultivated, fully two weeks earlier than Hale's Early, which has been hitherto regarded as the earliest Peach. He has two other varieties that are second only to the Beatrice, the Early Louise and Early Rivers, both of fine quality, and in ripening follow the Beatrice in the order in which they are named; and both are earlier than Troth's Early, which is usually cultivated as the best early variety. These new varieties of Mr. Rivers' have been imported by some of our enterprising peach-growers, and will furnish the lovers of this delicious fruit an opportunity to gratify their taste much earlier in the season than they could have done but for the skill and enterprise of this intelligent orchardist of England.".