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 Cherry is a highly popular fruit in this country - planted much more extensively, we think, than it is elsewhere. One reason for this is, that the Heart and Bigarreau varieties are generally rapid growing, beautiful trees; and are, on that account, regarded as being suitable for fruit gardens and door-yards, where shade and ornament are sought for as well as fruit Another reason is, that it thrives and bears well in a great variety of soils and situations, and over a very large portion of the country. A third and very strong reason for its general cultivation is, that it ripens early, while fruit is scarce; and forms a cooling, healthy, and agreeable dessert in the warmest weather of the year. On all these accounts, as well as others, the cultivation of the Cherry has assumed an importance here that it never has in any other country. We might be safe in saying that one nursery in the State of New York grows and sells more Cherry trees in one season than the whole of England or France.
The most extensively grown varieties are still of foreign origin, such as the Black Tartarian, Black Eagle, Yellow Spanish, Elton, Knight's Early Black, Napoleon Bigarreau, Early Purple Guigne, May Duke, English Morello, etc. Among those of American origin the Downer's Late Red has, no doubt, been the most widely disseminated, and it may be justly considered as one of the leading sorts. Coe's Transparent, Burr's Seedling, Manning's Mottled, Madison Bigarreau, Ghidley, Wilkinson, Sparhawk's Honey, and some others, have been planted but sparingly, and only as a general thing by way of making up collections. Among Dr. Kirtland's list of fine seedlings the Gov. Wood and Rockport Bigarreau have already acquired deservedly a great popularity, and several others of his will be highly prized, we doubt not, as soon as they become known.
The last number of Hovey's Colored Fruits has a portrait of a seedling variety, produced by Messrs. Hovey & Co. It is called the "Hovey," and is described as a very large and beautiful amber colored cherry, mottled with brilliant red. Tree vigorous, upright, and pyramidal in its growth, and a profuse bearer. Ripe middle of July to beginning of August This, according to Mr. Hovey's description, must be a valuable acquisition. At this rate we shall soon be able to make a very respectable catalogue of American cherries. But what we most want are varieties of the Duke cherries that will bear the climate of the north, and of the south, and west, where the Heart and Bigarreau classes fail. We hope the attention of persons who are experimenting with seedlings will keep this in view. Hardiness is a point of the utmost importance. At the present moment, after all that has been done, we know of no cherry of such universal utility as the May Duke.
Among the large quantities of new foreign fruits we have received but a small number of cherries. The Belle d'Orleans is an acquisition, being among our earliest sorts, ripening with Baumarin's May and Early Purple Guigne, and being light colored, is not so much attacked by birds. It is also a very beautiful and delicious fruit The Bigarreau Monstreuse de Mezel,* of which we give a portrait this month, proves to be a large, productive variety; and, as the fruit is firm, valuable for marketing. The tree is a very strong, irregular grower - more so than the Elton, or any other variety we know of; and, as far as we have observed, quite hardy. Fruit - very large, larger than Black Tartarian, obtuse heart-shaped, with an uneven surface. Stalk - long and slender. Color - dark mahogany. Flesh - firm, somewhat like the Tradescant's Black Heart, juicy, and agreeable, though not highly flavored. The fruit is produced in very large clusters. Ripe, at Rochester, latter end of June and beginning of July - usually lasts to the middle of July.
The Belle Agathe Cherry, figured and described in the Album de Pomologie as a full-sized, sweet, and good variety, hanging on the tree till the end of October, proves to be no better or larger than Tardive de Mons - a small, hard, late Cherry. For trees of this uBelle Agathe" I paid a Belgian nurseryman one guinea each. Some American Cherries, raised by Dr. Kirtland, of Ohio, have proved of great excellence. Of these, Goth ernor Wood, Rockport Bigarreau, Cleveland Bigarreau, and Ohio Beauty, are the best.
All the cherry trees which I stripped of their outer bark some years since, have escaped all disease thus far, and continue to do well. I intend to experiment upon the corticle of the pear next season with a rasp, as I have a suspicion that they may thus be benefitted. At all events, with us, their most critical period by far, is while changing from, a smooth to a rough-barked tree.
I am conscious I have been tedious. I will therefore close, and leave you to publish as much or as little of this long epistle - in entire or separate numbers - as you please. Meantime, I am as ever truly yours, J. B. Turner.
Jacksonville, Illinois, Jan. 7,1851.
Monstreuse de Mezel, resembling Black Tartarian.
Belle Mngnifique, Black Ettgle, Block Tartarian, Downer's Late, Dowuton,
Early Richmond,for cook'g, Graffion or Bignrreaa, Knight's Fairly Black, May Duke.
Bigarroau Monstreuse de Karly Purple Guigne, Bavay, Reine Hortense.