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 August last, Mr. F. Malleson, Gardener to His Majesty the King of the Belgians, at the Royal Gardens, Claremont, having seen M. Lepere's trees, expressed himself as having been highly gratified with their fine appearance. "There was not," he states, "a blight of any description upon them, and they were loaded with fruit M. Lepere's system of training is the best I have ever seen." It has, therefore, been considered advisable to give the following translation of such parts of his work as will enable the horticulturists of this country to understand his system, so much approved in France and elsewhere on the continent It is certainly desirable that every gardener should know the best French mode of managing the Peach tree, and that he should perfectly understand the principles contained in the following pages, in order that he may turn them to account in improving the trees that are, or may be, committed to his care. That there are in many gardens in this country Peach trees requiring to be improved, is a fact that can not be denied.
Errors in management will appear more evident to any one who may read the following paragraphs; but whoever will attentively study the excellent instructions which they contain, must feel assured that he can, in consequence, effect great improvements, not only in the training of young trees, but also with respect to those that have been already established, under whatever mode of training they may have been conducted.
+ According to the method of M. Alexis Lepere, of Montreal], near Paris. Translated for the Journal of the London Horticultural Society from his work, Pratique Raisonnes de la Taille du Pecher, principalement en Espalier Carre.
BIGARREAU MONSTREUSE DE MEZEL.
1. The Peach tree, planted under favorable circumstances, shoots vigorously, and its vegetation is very active from the first fine days in spring till about the middle of October. Such are its vegetative powers, that, during this time, it is continually making fresh shoots which require a constant and judicious superintendence, if we wish to manage properly, and this greatly depends on stopping in time those growths which are not likely to suit our purpose.
2. As soon as the genial influence of spring is felt, the buds swell, and very soon the flowers come out; while the leaves, more backward, are yet within their envelopes. Afterward the leaf-buds open their scales, and the shoots burst forth, to become, the following year, branches of greater or less length.
3. From May to August the leaves, coming successively to maturity, acquire a more compact structure, and consequently absorb less sap. This, continuing to flow, seeks fresh outlets, and produces, at the axil of the leaves, buds which remain as such, or break into laterals, according to the time of their formation, the continuance of fine weather, and the vigor of the tree.
4. These new productions, all formed in the course of the growing season, are easily seen at the fall of the leaf. They are the source from which our hopes of future crops arise; and as it is necessary to know them well, I therefore proceed to explain them in detail.
These are envelopes containing the rudiments of shoots, leaves, flowers, and fruit They are conical, and covered with little imbricated scales, more or less coriaceous, and which are merely abortive leaves dried by the air, so as to protect the tender parts which they enclose from the severities of the winter. They continue in this state as long as the flow of the sap is arrested by the cold; and they commence growing when the weather becomes sufficiently warm to put the sap in motion.
6. If the eye does not receive proper nourishment it may remain a long time inactive; it is then called a latent bud (ceil expectant). It is generally roused from this dormant state by pruning, performed with the view of calling it into action; or naturally, by an increased flow of sap which acts as a stimulus to it; otherwise, it may become completely extinct.
7. Buds become either wood-buds, or fruit-buds; and it is important for the operations of pruning to distinguish well these two conditions. I may, however, remark, that with reference to the Peach tree, the nature of the bud is never doubtful to an experienced person. In fact, its form, its place, the age of the wood on which it appears, all help to show the function which it is destined to perform; but for those little acquainted with this tree, it is necessary to enter more into detail.
8. The wood-bud (Figs. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, a) is an embryo shoot, covered with imbricated scales of a reddish-brown. Its form is usually that of a little cone, more or less pointed; when in the axil of a leaf, it is always slightly compressed. The wood-bud, which is also called at Montreuil ceil de pousse (pushing-eye), comes on all parts of the Peach tree, upon the young as well as upon the older wood; and pruning can make it push from very old wood.
This contains the rudiments of the flower. It is also covered with scales; but its form is always rounder than that of the wood-bud. Fruit-buds are only found on one-year-old wood.
10. There are upon the Peach tree buds which are single, double, triple, or more numerous.
11. The single bud is in general a wood-bud, from which a shoot proceeds. We however see flower-buds by themselves; such are those marked 6, Fig. 1.
Most commonly the fruit-branch that bears them is terminated by a wood-bud, or growing-point, the use of which is to draw into this branch the sap necessary for the nourishment of the flowers and fruits; but it may happen that by accident or abortion this eye does not exist; yet the loss of the fruit may not result In 1844 I observed numerous instances of this, and further on I shall have to refer to them.