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The meeting of the Minnesota Fruit-growers' Association was held at St . Paul, Jan. 10, 1867. A very interesting and valuable address on fruit-growing at the extreme North, as practised in Russia and other cold climates, was read by Col. Robertson, by whom it had been prepared at the request of the society. It embodied many facts of great interest, and showed, that, with proper selection of varieties, there is good reason to hope for substantial success in this interesting pursuit. The address is of the first importance, and should be published and circulated through the State.
At the conclusion of the address, an opportunity was offered, for those who were willing, to state their experience in regard to fruit-growing, or any fact that had come under their observation bearing upon the subject. Statements were made by L. M. Ford, Messrs. Wheaton of Northfield, Smith of Freeborn, Mitchell of Goodhue, Nichols of Olmstead, Gov. Marshall, and other gentlemen. The subject is not only an important, but an exceedingly interesting one; and we are glad to see so much interest manifested.
A resolution was passed to hold a meeting every Thursday evening during the session of the legislature; also that the subject of conversation for the next evening should be the winter protection of fruit-trees, grape-vines, and plants.
Hancock County, Illinois.—It seems that the fruit-growers of this grape-region of Illinois have been stimulated by their success to form a society which has for some time been in active existence. The planting of grapes and other fruits has for some years attracted much attention. About Nauvoo, there are a good many vineyards; but, at the meeting near the close of the year, it appears, that, predicating upon statistics carefully made in one-half the county, the secretary thinks he can safely estimate the number of grape-vines in cultivation at one million.
The Committee on Grapes came out very strongly in favor of the Concord, as one of the most satisfactory and valuable varieties. They fully sustain the verdict of the Greeley Prize Committee. The Catawba still holds the first rank among the vineyards, and has borne well where slightly protected: they have had little rot, and that on young vines equally with old ones. The Isabella was declared unworthy; the Clinton highly commended for the production of a red wine, if allowed to hang until well ripened.
The committee believe that all varieties should have some kind of winter protection, and for this purpose advise pruning in the fall, and a light covering of earth in the vineyard, or a wrapping of straw in the garden. Their account does not include the newer varieties, because, they say, "of the hundreds or thousands planted there within five or six years, the majority are now dead."
The statements as to the weight of the must, or the grape-juice, appear very high, and must be taken as evidence of the thorough maturity of the fruit in that region. Delaware was 100; Clinton, 96; Taylor, 90; Catawba, 86; Concord, 83, &c.
At the annual election, the following gentlemen were chosen officers for the current year: President, A. C. Hammond; Vice-President, G. B. Worthen; Secretary and Treasurer, N. W. Bliss. — Contributed by John A. Warder.
Indiana Horticultural Society. — This very useful association held, in January last, one of its very useful and interesting meetings. A large number of members were in attendance, — more than at previous meetings. The display of fruits was magnificent: very many varieties were on exhibition, and the quality and naming were beyond criticism. The display, taken as a whole, was quite equal to that made at Zanesville, O., last month; though the number of varieties was not so great, nor the quantity so large. A very similar list of varieties was shown in both States; but there were some sorts peculiar to each State.
The Business Committee reported programme for order of preceedings. The election resulted in the selection of, — President, J. D. G. Nelson; Vice-Presidents, Allen Furnass, Calvin Fletcher, J. C. Shoemaker, E. C. Siler; Corresponding Secretary, Jos. Gilbert; Recording Secretary, S. W. Pearson; Treasurer, J. S. Dunlop.
The committee reported some interesting matters; when the subject of small fruits was taken up, and a spirited discussion was had, and was participated in by all the members.
Wednesday Morning. — There was a good attendance of members, and a spirited meeting. Some suggestions were made to amend the premium list of the State Board of Agriculture, so as to insure an increase of exhibiters.
A paper was read from Dr. Matthews of Mason, Ill., recommending the Ben Davis apple; and those acquainted with the variety spoke very highly of it as a market-fruit.
An amendment of the constitution was then proposed and adopted, providing for a corresponding secretary; whereupon Judge Gilbert of Terre Haute was elected.
The revision of the fruit-list section was then taken up and carefully revised, with excellent results.
The afternoon was devoted to a consideration of the same important subject.
In the evening, several papers were read and disposed of; and Dr. Warder read a very feeling eulogy upon the late George M. Buler, former secretary of the society; when the session immediately adjourned for the day.
Thursday Morning.— The society re-assembled this, the third day of the session, in goodly numbers. It is remarkable how deep an interest is taken in this good work by members of the Society of Friends. Fully three-fourths of the attendance was from that excellent class of citizens, and several of the officers and leading men are Quakers ; which gives a solid, substantial, and reliable character to this body of fruit-growers.
The committees rendered their reports on the articles exhibited. The fruits could not be too highly commended. The display was remarkably fine, and eminently characteristic of the advance of this society, as evidenced by the admirable arrangement and by their correct terminology.
Resolutions were offered recommendatory of the new serial, "The Journal of Horticulture," published by J. E. Tilton & Co., Boston; and the members were asked to lend it their hearty support.
The importance of the subject of entomology was urged, and the necessity for farmers and horticulturists to become familiar with their insect enemies was set forth. To meet this, members were directed to "The Practical Entomologist," printed in Philadelphia, as a means of communication with the scientists in this department of natural history.
Massachusetts Horticultural Society. — A quarterly meeting of this society was held in its library-room on Saturday, Jan. 5, 1867.
The retiring President, C. M. Hovey, Esq., delivered a parting address, setting forth the prosperous condition of the society, and its means for future usefulness. He stated that its income for 1866 would be about thirty thousand dollars. It has given for prizes, in the last twenty years, fifty thousand dollars. The value of the society's property is estimated at about two hundred and seventy-five thousand dollars, on which there is a mortgage of about half that amount.
The President elect, J. F. C. Hyde, Esq., on taking the chair, made a short introductory address. He expressed the idea that the society was in its infancy for usefulness.
A very able and interesting report on the Depredations of the Robin was presented by Prof. Russell of Salem, in which he expressed his feeling for that bird, and also the opinion, as the result of his investigations, that the robin does more good in the destruction of noxious insects, worms, &c., than he does harm in making his own selection from the choicest fruit.
He urged the protection of the smaller birds as useful to the cultivator of the soil, and for this purpose recommended a tax on cats.
The Garden Committee made their annual report by W. C. Strong, Esq., chairman, giving an account of their official visit to the Public Garden and to Deer-Island Farm by invitation of the city authorities.
They speak of the bad arrangement and grouping of shrubs and plants in the Public Garden, of the inferior quality of the lawn in comparison with that around many private residences, and of the conservatory as not being what the public expect of such an institution; while they were evidently satisfied with the condition of things on the city farm at Deer Island.
Some other business of less importance was transacted, when the society adjourned for one week.
CLASSIFICATION OF APPLES.
With the great increase of varieties that are cultivated in the nurseries and planted in the orchards, and with the extended length of the fruit-lists discussed at the pomological gatherings of our country, it is strange that none of the savans and teachers of the art have yet attempted to give us a philosophical classification. Some arrangement would appear absolutely necessary; and one American writer, J. J. Thomas, has essayed to group the fruits he describes in a systematic way.
When attempting to analyze a list of some thousand names of varieties of apples which had been collected from the writings of pomologists, the catalogues of nurserymen, and from various other sources, the necessity for a classification was most fully realized.
European authors were consulted to see what they had provided in the way of a classification that might be adapted to our own country. Several formula; were found; but they were all too complex in their arrangements to suit the simple tastes of an American.
After continued study of the different methods proposed, and of the distinctive characters that were observed to be most permanent, I have ven
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tured to compose a classification upon the combined traits furnished by shape, flavor, and color.
The general figure was found to be divisible into four well-marked forms: —
i st, The Flat, having the axial diameter decidedly shorter than the transverse one.
2d, The Conic, or tapering, in which the apple is contracted decidedly toward the blossom-end. In this form, the upper portion of the fruit is much less than the lower, or stem-end. The diameters are about the same, or nearly equal.
3d, The Round, or globular, in which there is a nearly equal development of the two ends, and the diameters are about the same.
4th, The Oblong, or apparently oblong and oval forms, in which the axial diameter is longer than the transverse; or, if only equal, the fruit appears elongated in that direction, as it often does when this diameter is really the shorter. This is particularly the case when the sides are nearly parallel, and the ends are truncated, so that the fruit assumes a cylindrical appearance.
Each of these classes is capable of subdivision into two Orders, dependent upon the regularity or irregularity of the contour of the fruit, as shown by a transverse section across the core and axis, or by holding the specimen with its blossom-end toward the eye of the observer. If the outline thus presented be a circle, the fruit is called regular; but if flattened on the sides, ribbed, or furrowed, it is angular, or irregular.
Each of the orders may be divided into two Sections, according to the flavor in its broad distinctions of sweet and sour; though it must be confessed that the difference between the two is not always very well defined, and that these flavors are often so nicely commingled, that it is difficult to distinguish between them, especially at the period of the perfect maturity of the fruit.
Finally, these sections embrace three Subsections, that are based upon permanent and decided distinctions in coloration.
The First Subsection contains all those which are not striped: they may be called the self-colored; and they are generally white, green, or yellow, with or without bronzing and blushing on their exposed sides; or the red