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.
On this point we do not think cultivators or writers differ much in reality, although they occasionally write pretty strongly in favor of their own views; but after all, as the strawberry of all sorts, except some of the Alpines, propagates by runners, if new plants can be established in the ground to produce well the next season, and the ground be well prepared and cultivated, it seems a little of tweedledum and tweedledee whether they are grown one plant to every six or ten inches in a row, and the rows three feet apart, or grown three or four offshoots or suckers from the old plant, in a stool or circle, each circle being two and a half or three feet each way apart. If a new variety is on hand, from which you wish to obtain as many plants by runners as possible, let us say that pegging down and covering with earth is not as good as laying the runner just a trifle in the ground, and over it, at the junction where the plant bud is to burst, laying a flat stone. The stone retains a moisture and cool temperature to the root better than any mulching or shading in any other way which we have tried.
Fig. 100. - Mead's Seedling.
Having said so much on soils and cultivation, let us, before describing some of our leading and most desirable established varieties, say one word about sexuality. Many years since the subject was pretty thoroughly ventilated in the pages of this journal, and we who now write then wrote. It was then contended by some that all native or wild plants were self-impregnating or hermaphrodite, and that staminate blossoms would give no fruit alone, and versa pistillate. Others, of course, took opposite grounds. Having looked at and studied the subject, as we think, pretty thoroughly, we incline to the belief that nature ordered the form about right, and that while she has given to most of her wild plants a double sexuality, she has at times produced plants deficient in the double organs, but so constituted that they produce fruit in an imperfect form, but only a semblance of seeds; or, in other words, berries from a strictly pistillate plant, grown by itself, will not produce perfect seeds that will mature and grow again.
We have tested those counted as strictly pistillate and stam-inate, and hare procured fruit from both, but in the first never the quantity obtainable, or in perfection as when associated with plants haying stamens, and in the latter never to regard a staminate as of any value except as an impregnator. The varieties of the strawberry have now become so numerous that, as Mr. Fuller says, to describe them all would make a book too large for any one publisher who expected ever to receive back the amount expended on its publication. We therefore choose here only to figure and describe some of the more recently introduced sorts that have shown favorably in our own grounds, and are spoken well of by other growers.