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.
It has been with feelings of astonishment, mortification, and disappointment, that I have searched the Horticultural periodicals of our country for at least an occasional hint of the progress of that science in Kentucky. Almost every other State in the Union has its watchman on the walls, ready to proclaim the welcome tidings of Horticultural advancement in his particular locality, except Kentucky. I have waited with becoming patience for some one competent to the work, to come forward and perform this pleasant task for Western. Ken-tucky, but have waited in vain. Why is this? In point of energy, industry, and intelligence of our citizens; mildness of climate and general adaptation of soil and climate to the production of all the fine fruits and flowers of a temperate climate, Kentucky is behind no other State, perhaps, in the Union.
It is but little more than half a century since the savage Indian held entire possession of this vast valley, and as is customary in the settlement of new countries, the first care of the settlers was to secure the necessaries of life, and aftet this the comforts, conveniences, and luxuries. These having been secured to some extent, our progress in "rural taste"'is astonishing. Ornamental trees, shrubs, flowering plants, in short every plant adapted to this latitude having the reputation of beautiful, or even pretty, is eagerly sought, and quite a number of our citizens are also cultivating the finest species of greenhouse plants.
Our improvement in fruits and fruit culture has been no less rapid. The first apple-trees planted were seedlings, brought by the emigrants from Virginia, Carolina, Ac, and nine-tenths of them could only be tolerated where there was no better fruit. Many of these trees are yet in a healthy productive condition, and seem to bid fair to remain bo for half a century to come. But now how changed the scene. Fine young orchards of apple, peaches, pear, and plum trees, of the best varieties to be had in the country, are almost everywhere to be seen in this section of country.
Tens of thousands of apple-trees of the finest varieties that can be obtained, in this or any of the adjacent States, are put out every year, and the demand still on the increase. Most of the new varieties of high reputation in the older States have found their way here. Our climate and soil are wonderfully adapted to the growth of the apple, and it is believed that no State in the Union produces them in higher perfection than Kentucky.
With few exceptions, the varieties of the Northern States succeed well here, the principal difference being in the time of ripening. Most of the winter apples of Massachusetts, New York, Ac., ripen here in the autumn. The Rhode Island Greening, however, is worthless here. Not one specimen in five hundred, perhaps, remains sound until it ripens. It is also a very shy bearer, and too acid even for hogs.
The Baldwin succeeds pretty well here, and with care will keep through winter. The Mela Carla fully maintains its high Italian character. The Jonathan is also at home with us.
The Large Striped Winter Pearmain is a Targe fine winter apple, and is perhaps the best market apple we have, on account of its size and beauty. The Prior's Red and Jenett, however, are the great favorites here for winter use. The Golden Pearmain, Columbia Russet, Renette Franche, Peck's Pleasant, Green Cheese, Wine Sap, Crow's Egg, Hall's Seedling, and a host of others, are cultivated here. We also cultivate a few varieties of apples here of first-rate quality, that I think are not known elsewhere. The following are some of the principal ones: -
Ben Davis, a large fine winter apple; Holland's Red Winter, is also a fine winter apple. The Homony Apple is perhaps the best very early apple that we have, ripening generally a little before the Early Harvest. Matlock's Summer, which originated in an adjoining county, is an apple of large size and very good quality, ripening in August. But as I have already transcended my intended limit, I will for the present close.