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.
In the May number of your Horticulturist, I found a notice to the Corresponding Secretaries of the horticultural societies, to send in their names, as you intend to publish a list of them. This seems to me to be an excellent idea, as it will make it much easier for all to send each other such notices and communications as may serve to promote the common cause. We have reorganized a society here, to promote the culture of the grape, pomology, and horticulture. Our means are small, yet all the members take a lively interest in the matter, and I hope we shall do something in time. I think this country peculiarly adapted to fruit culture, and the culture of the grape, in which we have engaged pretty extensively. Although the Catawba has failed us several seasons, we have several other varieties which, I think, will prove very valuable, and make wine growing the most profitable business we can engage in. We make an excellent wine here from the Catawba, of which I shall take the liberty of sending you a sample next fall, as, also, some specimens of apples. The Catawba is much subjected to mildew and rot, but will, nevertheless, even in the wont season, always pay the diligent cultivator for his trouble; we have had examples here even of extraordinary yields.
The vines suffered much last winter, and, in some vineyards, were killed to the ground, but the grapes we have look very fine. Our fruit-trees also Buffered much, but I hope the most of them will live. I have an orchard of 1,500 bearing trees, and am confident, from long experience, that apples and peaches succeed here better than in most parts of the Union. From four trees of the Yellow Bellflower, planted in 1847,1 gathered, last fall, 49 bushels of such apples, as would have done your heart good to look at, after making two barrels of cider from the apples that dropped before the final gathering. About peaches, if you will pardon my gossiping, I can tell you, that a friend from Jersey declared that they fairly beat all New Jersey peaches he had ever seen. This will serve to show what we can do in peach culture. The pear also promises well, but has not been tried long enough yet. The Bartlett, Beurr6 Boso, Frederick of Wurtemberg, Charles of Austria, Louise Bonne de Jersey, Beurre Capiaumont, and St. Germain, produce very fine fruit, and are regular and abundant bearers. Plums, nectarines, and apricots, I have given up, as the little "Turk" destroys them all.
The Mayduke, Early Purple Guigne, Belle de Choisy, and Black Tartarian Cherries, all do well here, but all the other Heart Cherries I have tried are poor bearers. We can also raise all the smaller fruit in abundance, except gooseberries, which mildew. Wishing you and your valuable journal (which, by the by, is worth four times the money it costs) all possible success.
I remain yours, respectfully,
George Husmann, Cor* See. of Western Fruit Grower' Asso. and Horticultural Society, at Hermann, Gasconade Co., Mo. [We are pleased with Mr. Husmann's letter, and shall hope to hear from him again, regarding fruit culture in Missouri. - Ed].
Alto*, Illinois, July 11,1856.
Dear Sir: The season has now so far advanced, that the effect of the winter's cold is plainly discernible. Much more injury has been done than at first sight appeared. One fact is plainly proven. The condition of a tree, as to growth, has much to do with its ability to stand excessive cold. Trees that were very vigorous, that made a fine growth, and also those that made scarce any, escaped, while those that made a partial growth - that is, those that seemed intermediate - have been killed.
Is it not for this reason: the strong growers, full of vigor, ripened and perfected their wood; the feeble growers, making but little effort, were not so filled with sap as to be affected, going to rest early, from their inability to make further effort, while the medium grower was caught by the cold before it had accomplished its purpose? The result is as stated, and that, too, without regard to sorts. Brinkle's Oregon Raspberry is a great acquisition. It has stood the severe cold without injury, is very prolific, and of fine flavor. The drought has injured all our early apples, rendering them small, and comparatively worthless.
Yours, Jambs E. Starr.