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 sensitiveness of the delicate Persian melons in the open air has interfered with their cultivation in this country. To harden and acclimate them, I made experiments of cross-breeding with our ordinary melons, during the last year, and with tolerable success. The flowers of Borneo were fertilized with the pollen of Green Hoosia-nee. Melons were produced of the precise form of the Green Hoosianee, with the color of the Borneo; their flesh possessing the fine fibre and tenderness of the Hoosianee, and in a partial degree, the flavor of the Borneo. The cross-breeding was extended to Polignac and Borneo, and also to the French Cantaloupe, (Melon goleuz,) and Wycoff's citron. All the specimens gave positive evidence in their form and tissue, of their male parentage.
This year plants were raised from the seeds of the cross of Hoosianee and Borneo. The melons on my grounds possessed the form of the Borneo, and flesh of the Hoosianee, those on Mr. Tucerman's grounds, under the care of Mr. Hope, exhibited the form of the Hoosianee - the whole produced from the seeds of the same melon. The extreme drouth of the season has interfered with trials for satisfactory conclusions, and another year will be required to determine as to the important quality of adaptation to our climate.
I have been experimenting, for several years, in hybridizing. I have about fifty trees, some of which have been tested, and the greater nnmber of them will bear this summer; they are chiefly peaches and nectarines. My chief purpose is, to fill up the space between the time of ripening of the heath cling (which ripens here from 10th of Aug. to the 1st of Sept.) and our peaches, which ripen the last of Oct. and 1st of Nov. I have, in late falls, seen soft peaches the 15th of Nov. I am satisfied, that by the process of crossing, we can produce fine varieties, ripening here from the last of May to the 1st of Nov. I will take occasion, this summer, to make drawings, and give a full history of the result of my experiments. Inclosed I send you an exact drawing, as regards size and form, of a peach which was one of the last three remaining on the tree on the 15th of Sept.; it was produced by impregnating the heath cling with a large yellow freestone peach, somewhat resembling Crawford's late malocoton. It is a large, heavy freestone peach, seed small, flesh yellow, with rather dark-red skin where exposed to the sun, of excellent flavor, and, I think, will prove quite an acquisition for that season.
I have tested two or three very superior varieties, produced by impregnating the heath cling with the Columbia. In all my experiments, I find that, in crossing clingstone and free peaches, the variety produced is always a freestone - proving that the freestone is the original form. Also, in crossing nectarines and peaches, and I produced a number, I have never yet produced a smooth-skinned peach or nectarine; proving what is already known, that the nectarine is merely a sport I have some Stanwick nectarines which will bear, or, at least, bloom, this spring; it is my intention to cross them with a number of our best and largest varieties of peaches. A few years ago, I 6ent for the monstrous Pom-ponne Peach, for the purpose chiefly of crossing it with other peaches, as it was represented to be of great size, but I find it is not true, the blossoms being small. Will you do me the favor to inform me where the true kind is to be procured? My only purpose is to use it as a base for crossing other superior varieties.
PEACH FROM A HEATH CLING AND A YELLOW FREESTONE.
I have procured some tubers of the Dioscorea batatas, and have sent for some tubers of the Dioscorea sativa alata, for the purpose of hybridizing, so as to produce a large variety suited to our climate. As I have no work which gives any particular account of the latter varieties, their botanical description, or mode of cultivation, I would take it as quite a favor to give me some information on the subject which may further my object.