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.
The following is a very interesting report, by J. Fisk ALLEN, to the Fruit Committee of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, To the Chairman of the Fruit Committee of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society:-Sir - In answer to your note of the 16th instant, received yerterday, I will say that, generally speaking, the past season has been one peculiarly favorable for ripening Grapes. I shall refer only to such varieties as have ripened their fruit under my own care. The old established varieties, such as Hamburg*, Chassela, and Muscats, have fully sustained their reputations. The seedlings from the Hamburg, Wilmot's No, 16, and the Victoria, bate proved fully equal to their parent in respect of bearing qualities, with proper cultivation its superior.
WILMOTS's new Black Hamburg is variable in quality and bearing, and requires full sunshine and a free circulation of air to make it set its blossoms. It should hang upon the vine long alter the color has become black, before it is folly ripe and fit for the table. When grown in this manner, it is quite equal to either of the other Hamburgs. The Cannon Hall, the seedling of the Muscat of Alexandria, has likewise proved every way equal and probably superior to that variety. The other sorts in common cultivation, so far as I am aware, have not varied from the usual method or condition at ripening, and may still be recommended to cultivators seeking a number of kinds.
Several seedlings hare fruited in my collection; the largest proportion of them proving small, (although of good flavor) have been discarded. One, a very sweet, rich Black Grape, is reserved for further trial, for cultivation under glass.
The Bronze Grape, introduced by the Mayor of Boston, Dr. Smith, from Syria, who brought the seeds with him from that country, has fruited for the first time this year. The fruit closely resembles the Queen of Nice. It ripens sooner, and does not keep as well Two or three seasons should be given before giving a complete description. At present it promises well.
The seedling referred to in a former communication, raised from Wilmot's New Black Hamburg, has been this year discarded, having proved too sour.
Of the recently imported varieties said to be seedlings, I have fruited the Gross Bleu, and can not distinguish any difference between it and the old Black Hamburg. Cambridge Botanic Garden Grape is like the Block Prince, and not worthy of being considered a distinct variety. Gross Gromier du Cantal, is nothing but the De Candolle. These vines were received from the best sources, and it is presumed they are correct Peres Rom is another name lor the same variety.
For early forcing, the Pitmaston White Clutter, and Musque Verdel yet remain the best The Macready Early White is inferior in flavor and uncertain in bearing. The new White Grape, which I call Allen's Hybrid, promises to be at the head of the list for early forcing.
For retarding I find a difference in the ripening and keeping of the same varieties from year to year. By comparing the list now given, with that of last year, this may be seen. At the head of the list, (and as they are named the one for the other, may be considered as most valuable for their keeping or hanging in a fresh condition,) is the Wortley Hall Seedling, the same as last year.
Prince Albert, generally a poor bearer, but as it becomes old bears well, this year has a great crop.
Poiteau Noir, large berry, lacks flavor.
Queen of Nice, very handsome and good.
Syrian, when fully ripe, a rich Grape.
Black Lombardy. There is an uncertainty about this Grape. It has been said that Watt* St Peters and this are identical. I have the two, both late kinds, and are very unlike. The Black Lombardy has a larger berry, and is not so black. It is a valuable sort West's St. Peters. Part of the bunches have dried some, and part are fresh; has not done as well as in the previous years, in respect to keeping; Xeres, or White Nice, this year has kept well. It is however uncertain.
Muscat of Alexandria, and the Cannon Hall, both of them have dried somewhat; but the flavor of both, if anything, is improved by the process; the berries being large. This drying is not so objectionable as in small Grapes.
Ferrar or Black Portugal. A large part of the bunches have this year decayed or dried. Some bunches remain fresh and full.
The old Black Hamburg never has kept so well Some vines have the entire crop yet on, fresh and fall, while on the other vines the fruit is much dried.
Wilmot's New, and the Victoria Hamburg have not kept so well as the old. In previous years they have kept rather the longest and the freshest.
Hardy Grapes for cultivation in the open air, have had several seedlings added to the list this year. The most beautiful one undoubtedly is the Concord Grape. I do not cultivate it myself, and can only speak of specimens as they have come under my observation. In flavor it ranks in my estimation after the Isabella. For Massachusetts I should place Diana first, and Isabella next Further south, Catawba first, and the others in same order.