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.
Ebermayer gives, in his recent work on the influence of the forests, a table of observations, showing the temperature of the earth covered by snow during the very cold weather of December, 1871,in Bavaria On the 8th and 12th of December the temperature of the air at Vienna fell to minus 26.8° Fahrenheit, while the temperature of the earth beneath the snow was no lower than plus 33-5°, and four feet below it was 42-8° So long as the snow lies, the variations of temperature under the earth's surface are very slight, and hence the snow itself is the very best protection of seeds, young plants and other vegetation against frost.
Annexed is a drawing of the Cowan Grape - a variety which, although not of the highest quality, proves very valuable here on account of its extreme hardiness and early maturity. It was brought to this place by Judge Cowan, of Saratoga, (whose name it bears,) about twenty-five years ago; and, although not very widely spread, has been cultivated ever since. It is quite distinct from the McNeil, with which it is sometimes confounded, having shoulders and consequently larger bunchea.
The bunches are of medium size. The berries are small, black, with a deep bloom, pulpy, juicy, with a very pleasant flavor. The shoots are long-jointed and strong. The leaves are very large and thin.
Valuable specimens of crab apples have been received by us from 0. Andrews, of Geneva, N. Y. (with Herendeen and Jones), of the Marengo Winter Grab Apple, There has been considerable improvement of this species within a few years, until now they are of a rich, spicy, pleasant flavor, and entirely free from any acidity. The fruit is still of small size, yet very attractive in appearance, usually of a creamy yellow color, with a few dotted here and there with crimson. Most of them are very handsome, and would be excellent table, ornaments. They are poor keepers, rotting quickly. There seems now little to be desired in quality, for improvements in that direction are already sufficiently successful. We trust some one will now labor for increased size.
On the premises of Mr. S. Wilhelm in Easton, Pa., I saw an old pear tree; it was the Early Madeleine, the first branches of which were about 20 feet or more from the ground, and at a distance of about 15 feet from this tree, stood a young White Doyenne, about 9 or 10 years old, full of cracked fruit. A scion from this tree was set on a small branch of the old pear tree, being on the north side and perfectly shaded by the branches and foliage immediately above it.
This scion, which had grown there four or five years, was laden with the most perfect fruit, which ripened about six weeks later than that of the young tree, wherefrom the scion was taken. B. Nazareth, Pa.