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.
Introduced by the Shakers from seeds of the Isabella; best adapted to the central and northern states; growing vigorously and producing, very large berries in large, compact bunches; is pulpy, juicy, sweet. Probably the best native grape in cultivation." Doubtful.
These are the native grapes described, and are the only ones now ready for distribution; they are to be had for nothing by applying to the Patent Office. Among the list of native grapes now in course of propagation, embracing some GO varieties, we select the following, and would like to know if any of our grape growers have heard of one half of them before - they are new to us. Here are some of them: Dracut Amber, Trollinger, Lincoln, Downer, Sage Grape, Plymouth, Black Fox, Red Fox, Crystal, Mustang, Elbling, Parker's Rocky Mountain Seedling, Wise, Tennessee, Parker's Improved Isabella, Guesta, Gre-vadulay, Ruloeder, Woodford, Saluda, etc.; so if any body wants a name for a new grape, here is a fine lot. Seriously, Mr. Editor, to use a slang phrase, it is running the whole thing into the ground.
Lamentably meagre is the catalogue of Foreign grapes for distribution; and it would take several of the new Treasury Fives to induce us to give any one of them a place in our vinery. It is stated that they are believed to be of tender origin, and best adapted to regions south of Pennsylvania. We fear the propagator will not be troubled distributing many of them this year. Here they are:
Hungarian - Bakater, Chasselas white, Dinka green, Dinka red, Honey white, Funnint, Katarka, Kcskesoes, Muscatel green, Muscatel red, Muscatel yellow, Muscatel white, Puisin blue, Paxesin blue, Riner red, Rosas, Schenkem white, Semedria, Sheeptails, Silver white, Todar white, Tokay, Tokay white.
This list, the Report states, is only to be distributed in limited quantities; but owing to none being distributed at the South, where they were intended, we presume, any one fond of experimenting with the new foreigners can, we have no doubt, be supplied. We think it would be useless to attempt them out of doors, north of Pennsylvania. Among the list of foreign vines in course of propagation, we are glad to recognize the Hamburghs, Frontignans, Muscats, etc.; also several of which we have never heard.
Among the plants for distribution, and to be had on proper application, gratis, are, the Osier Willow; although many years in culture in the United States, it is unknown in many regions, and will prosper wherever moist lands prevail. About 8,000 were ready for distribution last spring.
The Carob Tree, propagated from seeds and cuttings from Palestine. About 8,000 were also ready last spring. In addition to its desirableness as a producer of fruit, it is thought that it will prove valuable as a hedge at the South, when judiciously pruned.
"The fruit of this, the Carob tree, is largely exported to Russia, where it is much esteemed as an occasional article of diet, and for a beverage brewed from it. It can probably be raised in every portion of the United States south of Pennsylvania; is an admirable shade tree.
"Sessaban, an evergreen of Syria, and such in the southern states, but a deciduous tree at the north, has a delicate leaf, and a pendant, globular flower, some-what like the Sycamore ball, and highly odorous. It is esteemed as an ornamental tree, but is chiefly valued as a hedge plant, and is a rapid grower. 3000 ready last spring".
"St. Johnswort, (Hypericum corymbosum,) indigenous south, but little known throughout the country, hardy at Washington, and may succeed further north. Ornamental shrub, blooming in early spring. 3000 ready last spring".
"Stone Pine, (Pinus pinea,) common in Syria and Southern Europe, but little known in the United States. It is of loose growth, with straggling, pendant branches; the foliage handsome, of bluish tinge".
Arbor Vitse - Chinese - 1000 ready, with an increased number this spring (1862)".
The Siberian is in every respect superior to it. Among the plants in coarse of propagation for future distribution noticed, are the Colocynth, an annual, creeping vine, to be cultivated as cynilius and cucumbers are; is said to grow luxuri-antly on the plains of Sharon, a single vine producing more than one hundred fruit. This plant is possessed of well-known medicinal qualities. "The Pistachio tree, will only succeed at the south, grows 25 to 30 feet high, bearing a fruit about the size of an olive; the nuts are well known in the Euro-pean markets." "The Date, only for the extreme south, where it will prove an evergreen. It attains a height of sixty feet." "The Prickly Pear, for the central and southern states; fruit about as large as the fig; sweet and juicy, covered with small spines: said to be wholesome." Squill, (Scilla maritima,) bulbs, coated like a common onion, will only succeed in the South; much employed on account of its medicinal qualities.
Olive cuttings for North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Florida. Khalebs, tubers, about the size of hen's eggs, resembling yams, only used when cooked, and much esteemed by the poor of Syria, from whence it was obtained.
Seedless Pomegranate, has highly ornamental properties, producing bright scarlet flowers, semi-double, in autumn. Will thrive in moderately moist soils south of Washington.
It can not be denied that at the present time many of these products lose their interest for us, the people for whose benefit they were obtained being engaged in an effort to overturn the source which was providing them with productions with which their homes would have been beautified and their wealth increased.
Articles on Fertilizers, Irrigation, Bee Culture, Pisciculture, as well as observations on English Husbandry, and on the Cattle Disease, all very properly occupy a considerable portion of the volume. An important paper on Insects injurious to vegetation, especially insects injurious to fruit trees, will not be overlooked by the horticulturist, and only a want of space prevents making valuable extracts therefrom.
"The Culture of Grapes in Graperies " will be the means, we hope, of disseminating information which will lead to the erection of many of these truly indispensable structures.
"Tea, its Culture and Management," with a series of illustrations, concludes this interesting volume. A brief notice of the success in growing and maturing gooseberries, by the Horticultural Association of Paterson, N. J., is appended.
European plants and cuttings have been obtained, from which berries were grown, one of which (Speedwell) weighed twenty pennyworths, seven grains; and another, produced July 16,1859, weighing twenty-two pennyworths, nine grains, being the largest of the kind grown, even in England, in the two previous years.
The report says, "It is thought that many years will not elapse before the gooseberry will be produced larger and purer in the United States than in any part of England".
[We participate very cordially in the gratification expressed by Dr. Norris, that some prominence has been given to horticultural subjects by the Patent Office Department If rightly managed, much good will result to the whole country. We hope the government seed business, however, as at present conducted, will be abandoned at once and forever. Some good things have undoubtedly been distributed, but with them a great mass that never should have emanated from such a source. We are very far from objecting to the distribution of rare and valuable plants and seeds; but it is only a few days since that we received from Washington, done up in a neat paper bag, three Windsor Beans! Who could have supposed that a great, wealthy, and enlightened government distributed Windsor Beans to its people in triplets? Out of a dozen packages, there are but two that should have been distributed in this way at all. We solemnly protest against this abuse of the public funds, especially at a time when we are suffering all the privations of a wicked civil war.
We speak warmly, but without a particle of ill-feeling. We can not help thinking, however, how much good might be done if this money were appropriated to the employment of suitable persons in the exploration of new fields, many of which would yield the richest horticultural treasure. This would indeed be a worthy employment of the public funds. Is there nobody at Washington who will think of this? Our experience with native wines has been more fortunate than the Doctor's. We have always been careful, however, to compare them only with foreign wines of their own class. We have nothing as yet but dry or sour wines that deserve the name of wine. These, of course, must be compared with German or Rhine wines; and we have two or three that will compare well with them; Mr. Mottier's, for example, will not suffer by the comparison. To judge from what we have seen, it will not belong before we have a very fair Claret. But it must be confessed, that as yet we have very few good wines. Sweet wines we have none. Sparkling Isabella you have well characterized as "very poor stuff;" at least we have seen no other. The best wine that we have seen was made of the Delaware; next, Diana; next, Catawba; though we have seen some from the Lincoln that we are disposed to place somewhere between them.
We think the Report right about the Diana; when well ripened it is a delicious grape. It is not free from fault, however. The Union Village is undoubtedly overestimated: it is by no means our best native grape. The lists of grape vines contain little or nothing that is new. The Hungarian list we threw over the fence years ago. Hundreds of others all over the country have tried them, and found them wanting in adaptation to our climate. Good, however, will ultimately come out of the experiments at Washington. - Ed].