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. F. R. Elliott sends us the following notes on the Strawberries shown at the Rochester (N. Y.) Exhibition, June 27th, and also his notes of varieties examined in Messrs. Ellwanger & Barry's grounds. He says: "The exhibition was not as numerous in varieties as I had expected, nor as large an attendance as I had supposed the great interest felt in the growing of Strawberries would have drawn out. Nevertheless there was really a good show of berries, and among them many new ones, besides a host of seedlings, under numbers, most of which were of the first or second year's fruiting. Most of the fruits shown bore evidence of having been grown under only ordinary care; a few samples only exhibited extra attention and culture having been given to bring out their best qualities. Seedlings under numbers were shown by Messrs. Ellwanger & Barry, Jacob Moore, and Thomas R. Peck. Mr. J. Keech had four new sorts on the table, which he has named respectively General Grant, General Sherman, General Sheridan, and General Meade. These varieties were stated to have been all grown from seed of the Russell mixed with Triomphe de Gand - the flowers all perfect.
General Meade is large, rich, bright scarlet, conical; seeds deeply imbedded; quality very good.
General Sheridan, medium size, dark rich red, somewhat irregular in form; seeds light colored; flesh light red, pretty firm, promising well for market growing.
General Sherman, medium size, light rich scarlet red, long, conical in form; seeds deep; flavor deficient.
General Grant, good medium size, irregular in form; dark red, or about same color as Wilson; somewhat acid, but sprightly in flavor, and claimed by the originator as very early, which would be its only claim to favor.
The seedlings of Mr. Moore are claimed as hybrids, and presented very good promises of value, this being, as I understood, their first year of fruiting. Number 73 was large, of a rich red, and very fine flavor; and should it prove a good bearer will be a great acquisition. Number 39 had a rich flavor, with pretty firm flesh, and promises well.
Thomas R. Peck, of Waterloo, had thirty-six seedlings, and from among them I find my notes commend as of good quality and promise the following numbers, viz., 3, 5, 8, 11, 16, 23, 27, and 49.
Of the nineteen seedlings shown by Messrs. Ellwanger & Barry, I made my notes, but afterward visited the plants in bearing, and selected from them the following numbers as being desirable to prove further by another year or more of fruiting, viz.:
No. 32, which has light pale green broad foliage, with large dark red, firm, roundish cockscomb fruit, with a delicious Alpine flavor.
No. 26, large, dark red, sweet, and promising.
During the meeting of the Society, a vote was taken as to the best six varieties for amateur growing, resulting in twenty-eight ballots, or votes, each one of which had upon it the Triomphe de Gand; while twenty-two votes were cast for Wilson, twenty-two for Hooker, seventeen for Jucunda, sixteen for Agriculturist, nine for Russell, four for Green Prolific, and four for Trollope's Victoria. Not a vote was given for Hovey, or for Burr's New Pine, the one certainly the handsomest, and the other the highest flavored berry, of the whole strawberry collection. In this connection of varieties and their values, the President, H. E. Hooker, remarked, that amid all the new sorts brought forth from year to year and heralded with loud clamor as being vastly superior, but very few ever endured a half dozen years, and the records as well as the tables of exhibitions would show our best varieties now grown to be mostly those of from fifteen to twenty years ago. On the best modes of growing Strawberries there was considerable discussion, resulting, as near as I could gather, that Triomphe de Gand and other foreign varieties should be grown in hills and with high cultivation, in order to obtain satisfactory crops or good-sized fruits; while the Wilson, Early Scarlet, etc., might be grown in rows and produce very great crops, really making a gain in favor of the latter, of just the amount of outlay in preparing the ground, procuring mulch, etc., etc., and favoring them as the varieties to be grown by men of small capital.
The package most desirable to pick in and send to market was the round quart box, in which each berry is displayed at top without showing any stem, and so carried to and sold in market. It is far preferable to the slovenly manner of Cleveland, Cincinnati, and other Western cities, where they are tumbled into half bushel drawers, and when sold scooped out, mashing and bruising at least one fourth of the berries.
After examining berries on the exhibition tables, I went to the grounds of Messrs. Ellwanger & Barry, where I had the pleasure of examining over seventy varieties under name, and among them many quite new and rare.
The Durand is a berry of medium size, dark rich red, flattened, conical in form; broad leaf with short foot-stalks; of fine quality, but only moderately prolific.
King Arthur is a foreign sort; large, dark red; good foliage and good quality.
Dr. Nicaisse, also a foreigner, with pretty good foliage and extra large fruit of irregular form; white flesh, and in flavor about like Jucunda, to which it is superior in size.
Tilip's Rival Queen is another foreigner; large, firm, very rich in quality; good foliage and strong foot-stalks.
Lucas, also foreign; large, dark red; handsome, fine, and with good foliage.
Napoleon III., foreign; a good bearer,. large good fruit, quite late.
Ambrosia, foreign; large, good, and with strong foliage.
La Constant, so much praised by some of the best pomologists about Boston, does not do well here, nor has it succeeded with me. The foliage bums badly, and before one knows it the plants are all dead.
Metcalf's Early, medium or small, good quality, moderately prolific, quite early; has been highly praised by our Western friends; but as I saw it, would not be very desirable.
Among varieties evidently valueless, I noted Cornucopia, Le Titian, Great Eastern, Sir Harry, Seedling Eliza, British Queen, Honour de Belgique, Garibaldi, Hooper's Seedling, Myatt's Prolific, and many more; while among those most desirable, the Triomphe de Gand and Wilson are kinds always to be depended upon for a crop.