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 determination to examine as thoroughly as possible for myself this spring the best strawberry grounds within my convenience, induced me to visit the fine gardens of Wm. R. Prince, Esq., of Flushing, and Dr. A. G. Hull, of Newburgh, on the 8th and 9th June inst., where the very large variety of well cultivated, excellent kinds afforded me much gratification. I do not know of any place in this country where we can find nobler specimens of rare trees, shrubs, and plants than on the truly splendid grounds of Mr. Prince, For many years he has been a most enthusiastic cultivator of the strawberry* together with the trial of hundreds of hit own seedling* I noticed quite a number of promising seedlings, Some of which exhibited a very handsome show of fruity and several of his favorites were of fine flavor, size, color, and production, but they were pretty uniformly in such compact little masses - as most nurserymen's beds usually are - -and some of them so shaded by trees and shrubbery, that an intelligent opinion could scarcely be inclined to in regard to them.
I hope Mr. P., or some one, will give them a fairer test, with more room, light, and air, for two or three kinds certainly looked very well, con-aidering the disadvantages under which they labored; for until this is done, I cannot see as it can be determined whether any of these seedlings are of equal or superior merit to other standard kinds we have already established Some fruit will bear better in compact masses than others, and not so well as superior fruit under better and similar circumstance. I thought decidedly the best looking bed of strawberries on the grounds was McAvoy's Superior, with the largest fruit on it, and I saw them in two or three different exposures.
Dr. A- G. Hull has about thirty acres of land at Newburgh, adjoining on the west the residence of the late lamented Downing, on which Dr. Bull is exhibiting a profuse expenditure of money and taste. The situation is certainly one of the most commanding on the Hudson, and it is astonishing to see with what rapidity he is bringing it towards perfection. I saw many things there, as well as at Mr. Proton's, I would be glad to speak of, but my object is mainly to refer to the strawberry. Dr. Hull cultivates the strawberry largely and well. His rows, I should judge, were full three feet apart, and the plants were nearly one foot apart in the rows, well mulched with tan bark.
On almost the first bed I came to, I saw what I had so long desired to see the British Queen, in all her glory. The earliest fruit was just ripening, and the flavor, on comparing with other fine kinds, was truly delicious. I carefully examined alto its bearing qualities, and should think any one would pronounce them very satisfactory. The large bed bore quite uniformly and very well - that is to be specific I noticed the strong plants usually had from six to eight stalks on each plant, with five to eight large berries on each; and I noticed the quarter part of the blossom-buds perfected fruit So much has been said about the impossibility of raising a fair crop of this fine fruit in this country, that I was carefully guarded at all points in my examination, and have no hesitation in pronouncing it a fair crop. The ground was high, rather hard, dry, and gravelly, and I should judge had no superior cultivation, except an intelligent a thorough preparation of the bed in the first place, with a rather too thin mulching of tan bark afterwards.
And here I must acknowledge that for ten years I have endeavored to obtain the true British Queen strawberry, and have a number of times had no doubt for a time I really had it; yet I must confess in all the exhibitions I have attended, and grounds visited, I have never before seen the true British Queen in bearing. (1.) I took some of the fruit to Geneva and submitted them to the test of an Englishman perfectly familliar with it, and who has the same growing in his garden on some plants brought over by himself, and he pronounces them genuine. The varieties ordinarily cultivated in this county for the British Queen have no relation to it I do not think the Queen a good variety for an ordinary cultivator to do much with, but still worthy the attention of amateurs. The fruit more nearly resembles in appearance the Alice Maud, but shorter and different shape, with higher flavor, of course. I was also pleased to examine at this place almost all of Myatt's varieties in good cultivation, and although Myatt's Eliza was surpris ing Dr. Hull by its unexpected respectable appearance, yet I think he will soon discard all Myatt's but the British Queen, Burr's New Pine was sustaining itself nobly on these grounds, while Black Prince, with an occasional exception, exhibited the same insipid flavor so common in Western New York. As in Mr. Prince's grounds, so in Dr. Hull's, McAvoy's Superior bore off the palm, completely throwing Hovey's and other similar varieties in the shade as to site, flavor, and productiveness, while Longworth's Prolific followed closely in the wake.
Dr. Hull had several large beds of each, with plenty of room, and afforded them a much fairer test than Mr. Pbzncx, Kulley, Goliah, Schiller, in Dr. Hull's grounds, and a number of varieties at Mr. Prince's, had not yet began to ripen, and of course I could not judge of them. Hovet's no where that I saw it did itself justice east.
By this visit to these fine strawberry plantations, I am confirmed in the opinion that no where within my observation is the soil and climate so favorable to the cultivation of the strawberry as in our vicinity; for no where have I ever seen so large fruit* or to great productiveness, as we are accustomed to see around Rochester. B. G. P.
(1.) Some five or six years ago the British Queen might have been found in nearly all the nurseries; but when on trial it was found a shy bearer, and somewhat delicate, it was immediately dropped. Dr. Hull's success again revived some hopes, and created a temporary demand for the plant, that has induced the nurserymen to plant it again.