The most beautiful sight, in the way of hardy fruit tree culture, that greeted our eyes last season, in Europe, was that of the Pyramidal Pear Trees in the Jardin des Plantes.

On one side of this great national garden, which, with its parterres, schools and museums, is a vast collection of all that is interesting in Natural History, is a piece of ground of perhaps an acre, somewhat away from the principal walks. It is separated from the rest of the garden, (to which the public has the freest access,) by an iron railing and a gate, which is kept locked. This is the "school of pears" - that is to say, the garden in which Monsieur Cappe, the head of the fruit department, has his house, and more especially his beautiful pear trees - to which he has given up almost the whole of the area allotted to him.

It was September when we were in this garden. We were weary with a day of sightseeing, and a long ramble through the other different departments of the garden, and though very desirous of seeing M. Cappe's trees, which have become rather famous as fine specimens of the art of pruning, and had come provided with a note to him which would open the iron gate where the trees of knowledge stood - we had almost determined before we reached it, that we would be content with a passing glance from the outside, at what we supposed would present a familiar appearance to our eyes.

But a passing glance through the iron railing soon made us feel that M. Cappe was not a man to be neglected. And patiently we waited till one of the garcons had found him and delivered our note, in order that we might enter the now unclosed gate, and make the acquaintance of the master of pear trees.

We do not wish to depreciate the magnificent pictures in the Louvre, but we must still be allowed to say, that in their way, M. Cappe's pear trees are as well worth seeing as any of the great master-pieces of art there. Nobody (with a soul) would think of comparing a Poussin with a pear tree, yet what one of Poussin's grand sylvan landscapes, (in which you can almost feel the tempest that sways the tops,) is to a landscape on a sign-board, M. Cappe's pyramidal pear trees are to the pear trees of common gardens, stand the pear trees - about ten feet distant from each other. And such pear trees! 80 symmetrically shaped, forming perfect pyramids of foliage in the finest tapering lines from top to bottom; so healthy and luxuriant, with not a leaf nor branch wanting, and with the utmost possible vigor and beauty of growth, as if not "nice art" had educated them into this shape, but rather they had grown so because it was their nature, and they could not help it; and so laden all over with Che finest and fairest fruit - golden, orange, dark bronze red, or tinted with the ruddiest tints of autumn; in short, so altogther the complete and perfect thing as garden pear trees, that we strongly suspect that good Monsieur Cappe has a better understanding with mistress Pomona, than any of us, her Anglo devotees.

We had a very interesting chat with M. Cappe about the management of his trees, which we shall give the substance of for the benefit of our readers. We may say, in the first place, that the climate of Paris is so much like our own, that any lesson in open air culture learned there, is worth twice as much as if learned in England. In fact, the pear tree grows but indifferently as an open standard in many parts of England - while M. Cappe's trees, almost all of them, had made shoots at the ends of the branches, on all sides, about two feet in length. They had been planted from 10 to 18 years, and were from a- dozen to eighteen feet high. None of them were on quince stocks - though Mr. G. admitted the value of the stocks for particular varieties. Neither does he practice root-pruning, but rather smiled at our account of the importance attached to it in England by some of the best cultivators - saying "it is all very well for a cold, moist country - but neither you nor us need it." His pear trees are all worked on pear stocks. They are planted in a good mellow loam - simply trenched two and a half feet deep, and well manured. The trees, as we have said, are planted in borders.

These borders are about eight feet wide, and when they are loosened in the spring, the whole top of the border is formed into a hollow, shaped like a shallow pan, two or three inches deep. Over the surface of this is spread a mulching, an inch deep, of decomposed barn-yard manure - which not only shades and keeps the soil cool, but every time the rain falls and fills the basin containing this dressing or mulching of manure, it carries down to the roots their best food. It will be remembered that the soil of Paris is calcareous, and there is, probably, no lack of lime for the growth of the pear.

So much for general culture. Now a word as to pruning, which is the great point in which the French excel us - it being in short, the education of the tree. "Just as the twig is bent the tree's inclined."

M. Cappe's method of pruning, which he was good enough to explain to us very clearly, is simple, and easily understood. Perhaps we should say it is easily explained with the knife in hand, and the tree before one. But as our thousands of readers are not within such convenient reach of the eye, we must do the best we can to make it clear by words.

M. Cappe confines his pruning to three seasons of the year. In the month of March, or the lower pert of the shoot. These side shoots are left to grow till the end of May. They have then pushed out to about four or five inches in length. The ends of all these side shoots are then pinched off, leaving only about an inch and a half at the bottom of the shoot.

Cappe's Pyramidal Pear Tree.

Cappe's Pyramidal Pear Tree.

Fig. 3. shows one of the branches, with the side shoots, as they are at the end of Jane. The dotted lines, b, b, show the point to which these shoots should be pinched off.

The terminal or leading shoot, c, is left entire, in order to draw of the sap, which would otherwise force all the side shoots into new growth. Notwithstanding this precaution, in luxuriant seasons the side shoots will frequently push out new shoots again, just below where they were pinched. This being the case, about the last of August M. Cappe shortens back these new side shoots to about an inch and a half. But this time he does not pinch them off. He breake them, and leaves the broken end for several days attached and tanging down, so that the flow of sap is not so suddenly checked as when the branch is pinched or cut off - and the danger of new shoots being forced out a third time is thereby effectually guarded sgainat.

The object of this stopping the side branches, is to accumulate the sap, or, more properly, the organizable matter in these shortened branches, by which means the remaining buds become fruit-buds instead of wood-buds. They also become spurs, distributed over the whole tree, which bear regularly year after year - sending out new side shoots, which are pinched back in the same manner every summer.

In order to keep the tree finely proportioned, the eye of the pruner must be a nice one, that he may, with a glance, regulate the pruning of the terminal branches or leaders, which, as we have just said, are shortened back in March - for then is the time to adjust any extravagancies of growth which the tree may have run into, on either side: and in the summer pinching the balance of growth is adjusted by pinching the side shoots that start out nearest the ends of the branches, quite short, say an inch and a half, while those that start near the bottom of the branch, (or the center of the tree,) where they have less nourishment, are left from four to five inches long.

Understanding this mode of pruning, nothing is easier than to form pyramidal pear trees of the most perfect symmetry, and beauty of form. But in order to have the branches regularly produced from the ground to the summit, you must plant a tree which is only a couple of feet high, so that you can form the first tier of branches quite near the ground, by cutting back the leader at the very outset - for if the tree is once allowed to form a clean body or stem,of course it is impossible afterwards to give it the requisite shape and fullness of branches at the bottom.

Our readers will see that we are not giving this account for the benefit of our orchard-ists. It is a refinement in horticulture which belongs to the fruit g»rden - but which well repays the amateur or practical gardener, both by the increased fruitfulness and beauty of the trees. Prom the especially healthy condition of the trees in the Jardin dee Plantes, as well as from other analogous instances, we are led to believe that by the fine clothing of foliage which protects the bark of the trunk and branches from the violence of the sun.

The Pyramidal Pear Trees In The Garden Of Plants 60028



In climates like France and the United States, than when the trunks of the trees are fully exposed to the sun.

Most of the finer sorts of pears were in full bearing when we saw M. Cappe's trees. Beurre d'Anjou, White Doyenne, Seckel, Beurre Bosc, were among the finest specimens of fruit. Bonne dee Zees was very highly rated by M. Cappe. Colmar d'Aremberg was very large and good. Louise Bon d'Avranches - (quite distinct from Louise B. de Jersey, with which it is often confounded, and they arc growing side-by-side here,) had heavy crops of fruit. And Belle Alliance, an exceedingly beautiful pear, of large size, pyriform shape, in color a rich orange yellow, with a crimson cheek, and of very good quality, was one of the finest sights upon the tree that we remember to have seen in a fruit garden - bo abundantly did it load the trees, and so superb was the color of the pears.