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.
This famous new Grape is one of the leading topics of the times in the horticultural world. We find various opinions in regard to it, even among the Boston gentlemen who have seen it from its first appearance. We have, during the last few weeks, received several letters on the subject. One says: "Those who purchase the Concord Grape, with the expectation that it will equal in size the cut that appears in the Magazine of Horticulture, and other papers, or in merit the terms used in the advertisement, will be greatly disappointed. The Grape, either in bunch or berry, is not by one-third as large as pictured; nor is the Grape generally commended here." Another says:
"The best judges have never considered it more than a Grape for preserves".
Personally, we have no knowledge of the Grape whatever, and can not say a word either for or against it. We have the opinions of very respectable gentlemen, newspaper articles, and committee reports, speaking highly of its merits; while other gentlemen, of the highest standing, say that the public should be cautioned against believing in either the extraordinary size or excellence claimed for it by its friends. Mr. Bull himself, who we believe is perfectly honest in the matter, though, like other people, liable to be carried away by a partiality for his own productions, assures us that he has entire confidence that it will prove to be all that is claimed for it; and that his own neighbors are buying it, by the half dozen, at five dollars each. Mr. B. sends us the following note, in reply to a correspondent, who expressed a doubt, in our last number, as to the Concord ripening four weeks earlier than the Isabella.
"I observe, in the March number of the Horticulturist, an article on the new seedling Grape Concord, signed James Lennon, who doubts if the Concord does really ripen four weeks before the Isabella, which, he says, ripens at Rochester about the same time the new seedling does at Concord. Will you allow me a little space to state the data upon which my statement is founded? so that your correspondent, and others, may see for themselves all the circumstances of the case, and arrive at an intelligent conclusion in regard to it.
"I have had the Isabella, Diana, Catawba, and many other varieties, growing in my garden for many years. The Isabella, on the open trellis, never ripened a single bunch. Five years since, I planted it against the house, in a border prepared in the best manner. In this position it does ripen its fruit, generally; but, two years since, it failed, even there. The Catawba, though against the house, never ripens; the Diana, in the open border, ripens, with difficulty, about the first of October. It ripens on the seaboard a few days earlier. They have all of them been well cultivated, and annually pruned. The Concord has grown on the open ground, where it has never failed to give a full crop of ripe fruit by the tenth of September; while the Isabella.
In advance of the ripening of another crop, some of which we hope to see and taste, we have the following letter from Mr. Breck, which may not be uninteresting to those who have some five-dollar plants of the Concord growing:
"You will be agreeably disappointed when you have an opportunity to see it. I saw Mr. Bull's vines yesterday. Ho has an enormous crop, probably too many on his vines for their highest state of perfection, notwithstanding he has cut off large quantities of bunches. On two vines he has more than sixty large bunches each, some of them measuring seven and a half inches long by five and a half inches at the shoulder. You could not get them upon a page of your Horticulturist at the present time; what they will be when grown to their full size you may imagine, as they have not commenced their lost swelling yet; but they will more than realize the description. I have no bunches on ray Black Hamburgh vines in the cold house so large and handsome as I saw on the Concord vine. I saw the original vine from which the seedling was obtained; a very great contrast indeed. The wild Grape has small, oval bunches, and when ripe readily drop from the stem; but the Concord adheres like the Hamburgh, and forms a handsome bunch.
I consider the Concord Grape as one bold stride toward a grand triumph in the improvement that will be made in our native Grapes. Mr. Bull has thousands of seedlings in progress, some of them with foliage resembling the Black Hamburgh. I look forward.with much interest to the result of his labors. The Isabella is cultivated by Mr. BuLL with the same care that is bestowed upon the Concord, but looks mean in comparison. While the Isa bella was much injured by the winter, the Concord, was not in the least damaged.* The Concord is most vigorous in its growth,. with rank foliage, some of the leaves measuring fourteen inches across. This Grape will be valuable for wine. His first attempts have been quite suooesrful, considering he was ignorant of the art of making it His great fault has been, I think, in adding sugar to the juice, his wine being rather too sweet for most tastes, but still very palatable and good. His crop will be distributed to horticulturists, and others, that they may see and judge of its qualities for themselves".