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.
Mr. Meston has broken his lance upon me, but I believe I am not yet unhorsed, though my steed was only a dead one. I made no attempt to prove that good grapes could not be grown without animal manure, for I know perfectly well that they can; neither will I now enter into any argument on that subject, which has been ably discussed elsewhere. The facts I stated certainly proved that vine roots are fond of decomposed animal manure, and, so far as I can perceive, Mr. M. has brought forward nothing to disprove this assertion. As for the theory of the growth of roots, I am quite willing to rest the case between his statement and mine for the decision of those who are interested.
I said nothing of the quality of my fruit, except that I had no cause to find fault with it, because I do not consider such testimony of much value; for when one speaks of the results of his own labors, he is apt to produce upon the minds of others only a feeling that they are not listening to a disinterested witness. Moreover, I do not consider the quality of the fruit in any single instance to be of much value as evidence, since it may so easily be affected by other cause. As Mr. M. calls for information on this point, however, and is willing to accept it as a decisive test, I will refer him to the records of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, which will show him that my Black Hamburgh grapes have received the first premium at every annual exhibition fur the last five years; and further, if he will inquire of any of the horticulturists about Philadelphia, he may learn that this character is not confined to the few bunches sent to the exhibition.
As for Mr. M's account of his own vines, every reader of horticultural journals must have observed how frequently such stories have been brought forward of the extraordinary growth and productiveness of young vine, which is always attributed to some peculiar construction of the border; and every experienced grape grower knows that such a result proves nothing, except that the luxuriant verdure of the Tines is quite equalled by that of the cultivator. Mr. M's case, however, presents some remarkably rich features in the evident satisfaction with which he speaks of the quantity and quality of his fruit in the sentence next succeeding the one in which he tells us it was not yet ripe. The very equivocal compliment of the gentleman from Louisville too, seems to have gratified Mr. M. very much; and perhaps he will be pleased to learn that I can compliment him in even stronger terms of the seme kind, for I assure him that I never had so many grapes in a house one hundred feet long till the vines were five years old, as he had this year on his vines, for I always pinched off every bunch before it even had time to open its blossoms.
I thank Mr. M. very sincerely for his entertaining story, and hope he will continue to report the progress of his vines from year to year.
I am happy to add my testimony in corroboration of Mr. Ludlow's, as to the efficiency of lime and sulphur as a preventive of the curculio. I have been many years experimenting to find some means which could be profitably applied to prevent the ravages of this insect, but have never ripened a dozen plums in an orchard of twenty trees, though they have been covered with fruit every spring. Last spring, however, at the suggestion of Mr. Stokes, of West Philadelphia, I applied the lime and sulphur, according to Mr. Ludlow's directions, and though some of the fruit was afterwards stung, no ill effect followed; and though I thinned out the fruit a great deal, I was finally forced to prop my trees, and have been regaled for some time past with such fruit as we have never before been able to ripen here. The remedy is so easy that it may be applied extensively, at trifling expense. H. W. T. Cleveland.
"I lang hae thought," Mr. Editor, "A something to have sent yon, The' It should serve nae other end, Than just a kind memento".
I know but little, sir, of the business in which you are engaged, viz: Horticulture and its kindred branches; yet I know enough to wish to know more, and to feel interest in the success of the enterprise. Then, sir, set me down as a well-wisher, and one who, if he had the capacity and leisure, would like to be a contributor. I am a cultivator of fruits, on a small scale - a little enthusiastic (cracked, if you please,) on the subject; and uherever I find one of kindred feelings, why, sir, I "lo'e him like a vera brither" - "I know no North, no South, no East, no West" - "his people shall be my people, and his God my God".
And here it may be appropriate to mention my admiration for your predecessor, A. J. Downing. If men are to be estimated'by the good they do while living, long should A. J. Downing. be remembered with gratitude by his countrymen. He has done more to combine "the useful and the beautiful," than any man of the present age. He has done more to create and model a proper taste for the adornment and decoration of home, to make home, "sweet home," lovely, and thus make men true patriots, than all the politicians that have lived since "Abraham begat Isaac." Why one with such enlarged and enlightened capacity to enjoy this beautiful world, and the business and pleasure of whose life was to make it still more beautiful, should have been so suddenly and so rudely removed from it, is a mystery alone to be solved in that bright and blissful paradise, where he has gone, and whither we may follow, if we be but "chaste," but "innocent like" him, " as firm in friendship, and as fond in love." But, sir, others who knew him better, and therefore loved him more, have eulogized him in better taste, and more appropriate style, than I can.
But my heart was in it, and I could not say less; to say more would be not only useless, but imprudent in me.
Mr. Editor, I have told you that I was a cultivator of fruits in a small way, and having a leisure time at present, my purpose in commencing this communication was simply to comply with a request made by you sometime since, that your readers would note the season of ripening of the different fruits in their respective localities. I had several kinds ripen the present season, but noted only some plums and peaches. And first, as to plums. In this section (Granville county, in which I reside, is one of the northern counties of North Carolina, between the 86th and 87th degrees of north latitude,) Bolmor's Washington was the first to ripen - July 20th. The Red Magnum Bonum, the 25th of July; and if I have the true Bed Magnum Bonum, it is a dark-red or purple, and pronounced in flavor superior to the Washington by all who tasted. Imperial Gage ripe the 25th of July; superior in flavor to either of the former. Bingham, about the 1st of August; very good, large plum. German Prune, 6th of August; and although very rainy, hung on the tree until nearly dry, and I believe of an ordinary dry season would make good prunes on the tree in this climate.
I gathered a few from the tree partially dry, and cured them completely in the sun in a few days.