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 spring having opened in this region of our beloved country, like a cold and surly master, the work in the vineyard this season is at least two weeks behind; but, with May, came balmy gales and gentle showers, and the leaf and blossom of the peach, pear, and apple began to show themselves in our midst, and the blue-bird and robin disported among their branches.
During one of these balmy evenings, seated in my summer house, which overlooks the vineyard and orchard, musing on the past, and prospecting for the fu-ture, the Horticulturist, ever a welcome visitor, was announced as having come; and laying aside all the day-dreams in which I was then indulging, at once I shook hands with the long expected, and sat down to converse with the welcome friend.
After perusing your excellent and practical "Hints on Grape Culture," which, by-the-by, are worth to the amateur the price of the volume, 1 hastily ran over the contents, and my eye alighted on the rather unique title of "What's in a Name?" and turning over to the text, found an article by Pratiquer, on what might be called the misnomer of "Grape-Vines." With him, I have often thought of the propriety of some one revising the nomenclature of our native grape vines, and giving to each one such a classic name as would indicate its original locality, or place of birth, its hardiness, and bearing quality, as well as the real intrinsic merit of the vine, for wine or dessert. But, alas 1 I have found no one bold enough, and sufficiently versed in the learning of the schools, to perfect my plan. Being like him, also, an amateur cultivator of the grape, and having something of a weakness for the cultivation of this fruit, I have spent some time and money in endeavoring to obtain either a new variety of undoubted merit from the seed, or by hunting up some unknown vine, whose luscious berries induced the truant school boy to forsake his learning and abandon his Greek and Latin for its tempting clusters; at last I deemed that the "Eureka" was mine, and having a very favorite daughter, in naming the new stranger, I thought I could not do better than promise her the name.
I had, also, some other new grape seedling vines, and having some more young daughters, equally favorites with the writer, I promised them each a vine, and that they should stand little godmothers for them on the day of their christening; hence you was correct, Mr. Editor, in saying that I had not fully named my vine. But I see no reason why we may not call our favorite grape vines after the ladies of our country, as well as the English and French, etc., who name their finest flowers after theirs. I find, also, that many of our finest foreign pears are named after the ladies, such as the Duchssse d'Angouleme, Madeline, Marie Louise, Duchesse d'Orleans, &c.
My grape vines, this season, have broken the bud splendidly, nearly all sound, and the indications are, that there will be an extra crop. The finer varieties, such as Delaware, Clara, Rebecca, Anna, Union Village, still survive the winter, but show no sign of fruit, although they are now three years old. Every one cost me a high price, and were sold as No. 1 vines. On the other hand, I had Clinton's which fruited from the slip the second year, and some Catawbas, from the layer, which fruited the first.
Referring to the grafting-wax recipe in your March number, allow me to say, that I have made some of it, and that it is all that you represent it, I can with confidence assert. I have grafted with it, and the grafts seem to be alive. I have stopped the bleeding of vines with it, healed the cut-wounds of trees, and covered the places on young trees barked by rabbits, and all seemingly doing well.
Apropos about wine! You were right in the selection of the wine sent you by roe. The red-cork was, however, the dearest in price, by almost double; nor can you obtain much of such a quality from a small vineyard like mine, (one acre,) as it requires the very best and ripest grapes to produce it, and very few persons will pay the price which it ought to command in market.
This season, I sent on to Dr. Grant, and received some of his choicest vines, both as to growth and quality. By another year, I can better tell of their worth than now.
Some three years ago, I received a present of a small package of grape seeds from Texas, the fruit of which was reported very fine. The seeds I sowed under glass, and raised, the first year, over fifty plants; but the second and third winters, notwithstanding all my care, thinned them out so, that almost none remains alive. I have the Texas Oak Leaf in fruit, but whether it will be able to mature it is in darkness. Some of my seedlings will fruit this season from present indications, and the one which I intended calling the "Anna" ought to show its true character this year.
Perhaps Pratiquer may not be far wrong in saying that I had named my grape the "Anna," for by reference to the August number of the Horticulturist, I wrote of it as already named; but on receipt of that number, and your suggestions as to the propriety of continuing this name, and being acquainted with the practice of scientific men allowing the first discoverer, producer, etc., mentioned by Pratiquer, to name the new stranger at once, I yielded the palm of honor to Dr. Grant; and as my daughter, after whom I named the grape vine, had a middle name - Harriet - I thought that this was equally as pretty, and if the vine proved sufficiently good, this should be its name. This season will test the question.
My Canada grape, which was named the "Wellington" by the fair donor, is still alive, and doing well, and ought to show fruit this fail. The vine appears to be tender, at least, so far, by me; the Western winter is too severe on the young wood, hence I had to cover it up during the winter. Its leaf indicates a fine variety of fruit.
Having lost two very fine pear trees this spring, with what may be called the dry rot at the root, can you or any of your correspondents inform me of a remedy which, if applied early, would prevent its extension all over the rootlets, and save the tree.
The trees were the Duchesse d'Angouleme; and up to the time of leafing showed no sign of disease. When examined, the roots were almost covered with a white fungus, and broke off brittle and dry.
In the May number, a writer talks of the application of the flour of sulphur to the roots of the peach, as a cure or prevention of the worm. I have used this for several years, and found it beneficial, but not a prevention.
The civil war, which we all deeply regret, may be productive of one good, which is, that it brings in contact, not only on the battle field, but in the hall and the cottage, the bone and sinew of both sections of the Union, so that before they part, each will have formed a more friendly and truer opinion of one another. My friend Capt. Walker, of the 2d Indiana Cavalry, sent me, from the "Hermitage" at Nashville, two beautiful cedars, obtained from the homestead of the old hero, who now sleeps so calmly amidst the din of battle, I will cherish them in remembrance of him who was his country's best and firmest friend.
I have also a grape vine sent to me by General Pitt, of Texas, sent in the sunny days of peace and happiness. Alas! that the designs and actions of bad men should thus destroy the hopes and happiness of the faithful and true.
[We too are at least two weeks behind in spring, besides suffering from a drought. It is very gratifying to know that you approve our "Hints on Grape Culture.*9 So far as the amateur at least is concerned, there is nothing at present that can take their place. They are entirely the result of our own experience, with no foisting in of pretty foreign theories and modes unsuited to our native vines and climate. We had undertaken the revision of our vine nomenclature, but the labor was so great that we were compelled to put it off to a time of leisure. We think, however, we are quite right about the female names; being somewhat of a ladies' man, how could we be otherwise? The grafting-wax is undoubtedly what we represented it; we never endorse a thing outside of our personal knowledge. We are pleased to know that you found it as represented. We know of no remedy for your pear trees except taking them up, washing the roots, pruning them, and planting again in fresh soil. This dry rot is frequently caused by the use of long manure. If the red-cork wine cost nearly double, it was more than twice as good, and hence the cheapest of the two.
We are sorry enough our bottle is gone! - Ed].