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 following letter from Col. Little, one of the most experienced horticulturists in Maine, contains some matter interesting to fruit growers at the extreme northern part of the Union, and we transfer it to our columns from the Bangor Courier. The local effects of climate must be carefully studied by the fruit-grower who would plant profitably. The Ribston pippin, the famous apple of England, Is, for instance, nearly worthless in the middle states - -where our Newtown pippin is in perfection - but in the colder climate of Maine and Canada is one of the finest of apples. Ed. cillingsby the Way," on the subject of horticulture in the Canadas. It hardly can be expected that a chapter on fruits alone can be made interesting to any, but those only who take a lively interest on the subject, notwithstanding its acknowledged usefulness. I now have the pleasure of stating from my own knowledge, that fruits of the richest varieties can be cultivated with success in the Canadas, and particularly at Montreal, where there is a flourishing Horticultural Society, of which Geo. Shepard and Wm. Lunn. Esqrs., are the President and Vice President. During my short stay at Montreal, I was favored with interviews with these gentlemen; also with Henry Corse, Esq., the veteran cultivator of fruits and the originator of several choice plums described in Downing*8 and other fruit books.
When at Montreal Mr. Matheson called at my lodgings early one morning and invited me to take a seat in his carriage, saying he was going to carry me to see Mr. Lunn's fruit garden, graperies and green houses, distant about one mile, in the western suburbs of the city. On arriving at his garden. I was much surprised and very agreeably disappointed in finding so rich a display of as fine, and as highly flavored fruits as I had ever seen on the tables of the Massachusetts Horticultuaal Society in School street, Boston, though not so many varieties. His apples generally were large sized, fair and handsome. On tasting them I found them very high flavored and his trees bore bountifully. His Ribston Pippins were extra large and beautiful specimens. This variety was a great favorite of the late Dr. Vaughan, of Hallowell; of the venerable horticulturist of Orrington, and is The apple of England.
Mr. Lunn informed me that at least 200 varieties of apples would be exhibited on the tables of their fruit fair, then to be held in three days at the famous Bonsecours Market Hall, and urged me to tarry and attend it. This I could not do, for my passage ticket was limited. His apple, pear and plum trees were all very thrifty, and all of them of the most choice varieties and well suited to the climate of Montreal. His pears and plums were mostly gathered. What remained were of excellent flavor. His grapes in open culture were two varieties only - the White Sweetwater and the Black Cluster. The trellises were well loaded with the rich clusters of these delicious fruits. But the best of the story is not yet told, for after looking through this large garden, located in a city of forty-five thousand inhabitants. - we entered his extensive graperies, in one of which the vines were loaded with the noted Black Hamburgh grapes, which were hanging down from the trellises in large, rich and heavy clusters throughout the building, and equalling our neighbor Hobb's best, of this city, or Dr. S. L. Goodale's, of Saco, in size, weight of the clus
They were trained flat to a brick Wall. We then went to the Bonsecours Market Hall and I was introduced to Mr. Shepard, who was, with many others, arranging his choice fruits for exhibition at the Fair.
We conversed on the subject of the best varieties of fruits, for a northern climate, for some time. I then asked the favor of them to hand me, at their earliest convenience, a catalogue of such fruits as are best suited to the climate of the Canadas. Mr. Lunn replied he would do it with pleasure, and show it to Mr. Shepard for his approval. He did so. Mr. Shepard added one or two varieties and both signed it, a copy of which I hand you with this communication.
I received from Dr. S. J. Lyman, druggist of Place d'Armes, a letter of introduction to the venerable Henry Corse, Esq., a horticulturist of mark.
I rang the door-bell and Mr. Corse, himself, invited me in and to be seated. And I think 1 never spent two hours more agreeably than I did with this gentleman. Were I a skillful stenographer, I should have been pleased to have pencilled down all he said to me. By his consent I did take notes of much of bis conversation. I should judge he was about 70 years of age. He gave his reasons for believing we should have a succession of mild winters for many years from 1849, and thought our fruit trees would not be killed by hard winters as they have been for fifty years past. He informed me the reason he did not reply to my fruit circular, two winters since, was that he was then in England. I went with him through his fruit garden and his graperies. Among other fruits he showed me a pile of gold colored pears, as tempting as any I had witnessed in my journeys a month previously. I seldom, if ever, eat a more melting and better flavored fruit. It was the Beurre Crapaud. The trees of this variety, he said, will bear to be planted as far north as will the sugar maple. He showed me the trees and they were of large size and all of them were very thrifty to the tip end of each branch.
Most of his apple and plum trees were of his own originating, and it seems to be his ambition to originate new and choice varieties. His Nota Bena Plum is as popular at Montreal as our McLaughlin is in Bangor. His grapes were chiefly of the White Sweet Water variety, in the open culture, and he said he had raised and ripened them, in some years, in the open air. and bad one month to spare. His fruit garden and graperies, as a whole, are not equal to, nor so extensive as Mr. Lunn's.
I noted down the fruits he would recommend for a northern climate. They were as follows:
Bouraesa, Fameuse or Pomme d'Neige, Pomme Grise, Corse's Orange Reinette,
Beurre Crapaud, and Holland Bergamot or Bergamotte d'Hollande, see Down-g page 480.
NotaBena, Admiral, Field Marshal, Twin, Decatur, Rising Sun, Regent, Golden Globe, Sovereign and Aurora. All the above plums were originated by himself.
Open culture - White Sweet Water and Black Cluster.
At Quebec I had no time to devote to horticulture; for I arrived at that city at 8 A. M. on Friday and left the next day at 6 P. M., and in the mean time rode 9 miles to the Falls of Montmorenci. I learnt however that apples and plums were raised there, and in fact I saw the fruits on the trees. Many of the fruits in this latitude of 47 are cultivated in greenhouses or under glass.
Green-houses arc seen here in abundance. Dwarf apple, pear and other fruit trees can be walled in a green house without taking much room.
In conclusion I would say to all who intend to raise good fruit, that the trees must be nourished with something to cause them to thrive, such as ashes, leaves, bones of all kinds, lime, meadow muck mixed with ashes or lime, oyster and clam shells, and stable manure, that the soil be not exhausted. Will a cow in one day fill a ten quart pail with milk without good feed? Will horses and oxen perform their accustomed labor without being well fed? Certainly not. Neither can a tree yield fruit bountifully without being fed.
Montreal, Oct. 14th, 1850.
Col. Little - Dear Sir - The fruit trees that appear to be the best adapted for cultivation in the climate of Montreal, in Canada, are the following, viz:
Pomme Grise, Fameuse - every good orchard in Montreal contains a proportion of about two-thirds of these two varieties. Bourassa - an excellent apple, but does not live long, and can very seldom be trained to become a handsome tree. St. Lawrence - an excellent fruit, but does not keep long. Blink bony - a Montreal seedling, ripe here in August. an excellent table fruit. Early Harvest, Keswick Codlin, Ribston Pippin; English Rennet - a very high flavored, large sized autumn fruit, color a greenish yellow, closely resembling the Fall Pippin. Spanish Rennet - a winter apple. Red Astrachan; King of the Pippins - a Sept. fruit, large and handsome. Rhode Island Greening; Duchess of Oldenburgh - a handsome Russian fruit.
Passe Colmar Precelle, (probably Passe Colmar of New England,) White Beurre, Beurre d'Hiver, Summer Bon Chretien, Moor-Fowl-Egg.
The White Sweetwater and Black Cluster.
I concur in the above. George Shepard.