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.
The regular Conversational Meeting was held on Tuesday evening, Oct. 1, President Degrauw in the chair. The meeting was opened by a short lecture from Mr. P. B. Mead, on the flowers on the table. Dahlia "Mrs. Burgess," a seedling, color the nearest approach he had seen to a blue Dahlia; a bluish lilac, almost a globe. It is a flower of great substance; it has the power of throwing out petals, and preserving its form a long time; centre low, but very good. Thinks it will not produce much seed. He concluded by saying that Mrs. Burgess was a good deal handsomer than Mr. Burgess.
Two new flowers from Mr. Weir, "Tritoma uvaria," and "Tritoma uvaria grandiflora," a seedling of the first. He had seen 16 inches of flowers when fully opened. The last is a great improvement on the first "Bilbergia thyrsoides," from Mr. Hamlyn, has a military look, and will please the ladies, who are fond of military men.
Seedling Antirrhinums, from Mr. Burgess, that do him a great deal of credit; some very fine; one with white throat, a great beauty.
Daphne cneorum, from Mr. Burgess. We shall have to call it a perpetual bloomer, having seen it here at every meeting; have heretofore spoken highly of it, and recommend it again for the parlor, greenhouse, and garden.
Pears from Mr. Chorlton. Duchesse d'Angouldme and Beurre Bosc, very fine and large.
The presentation of prizes awarded at the fall exhibition was then made by Mr. Mead. He remarked that the influence of public exhibitions never ceases, and they are fortunate who are successful in carrying away objects like these, to hand down to their children. This large pitcher is awarded to Messrs. Elwanger & Barry, of Rochester, for a fine display of fruit; if they were here it would be a pleasing duty to pay them a well-deserved compliment.
This pitcher is awarded to Mr. Andrew Bridgeman, of New York, for a large and beautiful collection of plants; can not say less than that he made one of the finest shows in either Brooklyn or New York; was his first exhibition in Brooklyn, but hoped it would not be his last. Give this cup to your family as an heir-loom.
Mr. Bridgeman, in answer, stated that for a number of years back he had been either a manager or member of the committee of arrangements at the several exhibitions that had occurred in the city of New York, and did not think it would be considered just for him to compete, in that capacity, for premiums. He had and must again express his thanks for the manner in which he had been received at the Conversational Meetings and the Exhibition. More interest was shown than he had ever seen ; far more than at the New York exhibitions. Looked upon this Society as a great advantage to the community and the trade in general.
Mr. Mead. - This cup was awarded to Mr. A. G. Burgess, of East New York, for displays of out flowers of superior character at the Conversational Meetings. Mr. Mead stated that it afforded him a peculiar pleasure to attend these meetings; the gardeners bring flowers to exhibit, and prepare surprises for the ladies at the close. Take the cup, Mr. Burgess; may it always be brimful of happiness. If you put wine in it, do not let it be stronger than yourself; and if it should happen to get in your head, be very careful that it never gets in your boots. (Laughter).
This cup was awarded to Mr. Messelberg, of Williamsburg, for choice collections of flowers, exhibited at the Conversational Meetings. Did not think any caution necessary after what had been said, but take the cup home with you, and let it always be an incentive to good thoughts and an ambition to do well.
The cup for Mr. John Humphreys, of Brooklyn, for the same, was given in charge of the Secretary, he being too sick to be present.
We have left to the last what, in some respects, ought to be called the best. These prizes, a cream-jug and salver, one from the New York Society, and the other from the Brooklyn Society, both for ornamental designs, were awarded to an intelligent young lady, of refined taste, whose name it would not do to mention, as she was very modest. Ladies have a higher appreciation of color, harmony, and grouping, than men, and make much better bouquets.
Will now take up the subject of the evening, the Culture of THE Grape. Believe the ladies can grow better grapes than the men, or, at any rate, they taste better from a lady's hand; thinks that Dr. Houghton will modify his opinions on the native grape. What he would hear here to-night would tend to modify his opinions. Mr. Bridgeman said he would prefer to make his remarks in Dr. Houghton's presence; don't like to speak behind his back. His Philadelphia logic we can not understand about the cultivation of the native grape in and around Philadelphia, which is a failure except in city yards. Dr. Houghton has been engaged three years in cultivating native grapes, and says he does not think them fit to eat ; has spent some thousands of dollars, and yet is not willing to give them up, as he asks some questions about transplanting, yet will not encourage the native grape, as he says the foreign grape is superior; forgets the foreign grape is not accessible to all; might as well discourage the growth of cotton, as the wealthy can buy linen and silk.
Although we admit the foreign grape is a luxury, is it right we should discourage the culture of the native grape when it is a pleasure and comfort to so many? Dr. Houghton's remarks were made before several societies, and he would like to have his arguments refuted; will return to this subject at a future meeting; is not well enough to proceed.
Mr. Mead said the subject was changed at last meeting from a systematic plan and we have some reason to-night to depart from the rule to hear Dr Grant. Proposed to Dr. Grant the following questions:
1. What are the characteristics needed in a native grape, to constitute it best as a fruit for the table?
2. Are these characteristics inconsistent with those needed for the best grape for wine ?
3. What is the comparative value of the native and foreign grape as objects of culture for profit?
4. Is it your opinion that the native grape can be profitably grown for the purpose of wine-making?
5. Is not thorough preparation of the soil more economical than poor preparation?
6. Is not some good system of training indispensable to the continued productiveness and longevity of the vine?
7. Can grapes be grown successfully in our city yards, as a general thing? If so, what are the necessary conditions as to exposure, etc.?
These questions, Mr. President, just proposed by our friend the Editor, have opened windows into all of the passages that lead to the grand hall of the vine; and, if we explore them carefully by aid of the light which he has held up to us, we shall obtain sufficient knowledge of all that pertains to it to resolve the important questions that are now perplexing the minds of many who are much interested in the subject.
It is a matter in which every one has a real interest, whether he now feels it or not, and deserves a much more extensive examination than the present opportunity will enable us to give.