Abbildungen der Seite

R. D., Cambridge. — What is the best protection against the ravages of the canker-worm ? — The simplest is tar put on with a brush round the tree on a strip of tarred paper. Printers' ink answers an excellent purpose used in the same way. There are iron and wooden troughs, so prepared and put round the trees, and filled with oil, that they prevent many of the grubs from ascending.

Persica, Williamstown, Mass. — Would you advise the planting of peachtrees in the New-England States, where the crop is so uncertain? — Yes : plant a few trees each year: you will get a crop occasionally, — as often as one year in three; and this will pay in satisfaction, if not in money. It is too good a fruit to give up. Peach-trees seem to be improving. There is fair promise of a good crop this year.

Reuben, Springfield. — What do you consider the best three varieties of strawberries for market-purposes in Massachusetts ?— Hovey's seedling, Jenny Lindr and Brighton Pine.

July, Portland, Me. — Is the Allen Hybrid hardy enough for vineyard culture ? — It is not safe to leave it up through the winter. It requires protection. It is not hardy enough for ordinary vineyard-culture.

A. L. S., Rockville P. O., Utah. — The best time to trim grapes is in the autumn, after the frost has killed the foliage. If the growth is judiciously pinched during the summer, the labor of pruning will be materially lessened.

W. B. C, Boston. — Seeds of Mathiola bicornis can be obtained of Bliss or Washburn, and probably of any importing seedsman. The price is at present rather high, as the plant is comparatively rare. Packages cost twenty-five cents; but there is no reason why seed should not be plenty another year.

Mrs. E. L., Brighton P. O., Montgomery County, Md. — We shall publish in the July and August numbers a treatise on Wardian cases by a correspondent who has given much attention to the subject, and whose management has been most successful.

The subject is one to which we shall particularly direct attention, as no prettier decoration for the parlor can be desired; and the treatment is so simple, that one can hardly make a mistake in the management.

A New Subscriber. — Your double-flowering almonds have been allowed to grow too large. Our mode of treatment is to cut the bush down to the ground as soon as it has done flowering. Numerous slender stems will shoot up, which will, during the summer, grow about two feet high: these will be well set with flower-buds, and will bloom well the next spring. As soon as the bloom has faded, cut down the stalks. The plant is hardy, and needs no winter protection: its being winter-killed is exceptional.

St. Augustine, Fla., Wednesday, March 13, 1867.

Messrs. Tilton & Co.,— I promised you a letter from this "land of flowers" for the readers of your new Horticultural Magazine. I fulfil the promise; but how little there is of horticultural interest you cannot easily imagine. Instead of a land of flowers, this is a land of desolation rather than cultivation.

This town is a grand old ruin. It once was — the Lord knows what! It is hard to say what it is now, except a queer place, as compared with a Massachusetts village of two thousand people; which is the numerical strength of this "city," counting the garrison, visitors, and residents. These are composed of about thirty heads of Northern families, in which is embodied all there is here of active life and energy; and the balance is an admixture of the old Minorcan race, imported by the English during the twenty years they held possession (1761-1781), with a small number of old Spanish, a few "natives of the South," 'a few, very few, foreigners, and about the usual proportion of negroes, who can muster about a hundred and forty votes, — which shows that something like a third of the inhabitants are colored.

It is said, that in all the house-yards and gardens, and also outside the walls (for this was a walled city), the land was thickly planted with orange-trees; and, previous to the destructive frost of 1835, oranges were exported by the million. Perhaps that is true; indeed, I hope it is: for, unless that is the fact, I doubt whether a million orange values ever were exported from the place — that is, of the products of the earth —since it was first discovered in 1512 by old Ponce de Leon.

I am also morally certain that the native population, if it remains in its present condition of inertia, never will grow aught that can be exported. Indeed, from the very foundation, the city has been a military dependant, a very parasite, and, whenever left to its own resources, has sunk, as it is now, into poverty, and a miserable mode of existence, approximating to beggary.

About one-third of the houses in the town are so decayed as to be uninhabitable, or only tenantable under the discomfort of leaky roofs. From many, the roofs are entirely gone, and from many places where handsome mansions once stood the materials have been carried away to build other houses.

The walls of all the old buildings, including the curious old castle, or fort, the sea-wall, and many garden-walls, were built of " coquina rock," — an agglomeration of small shells. The quarry is on Anastasia Island, in front of the town, and is inexhaustible.

The town is upon a narrow peninsula, its shape a parallelogram, about a mile long, and fourth of a mile wide; the fort at the north-east angle on the sea front, and the barracks at the south-east. This is an imposing structure, built in the Indian war of '35, and afterwards suffered to become much dilapidated, but now being completely repaired, and rendered capable of accommodating a thousand men.

The streets are all narrow, without sidewalks, and none of them hardly wide enough for two teams to pass. Of course there is no room for shade-trees, except on the Plaza; and not many are seen there.

In some of the yards, orange, lemon, guava, citron, limes, figs, peach, Capejasmin, myrtle, &c., are seen; and in several places the date-palm waves its beautiful plumes. The sour orange is common.

On the outskirts of the town, toward the St. Sebastian, the widow of Dr. Anderson (Massachusetts stock) has an orangery of about twenty acres, part large bearing trees, and part just planted. This is the largest anywhere in this vicinity. Buckingham Smith has quite a number of bearing trees: so has an old Frenchman named Dumas; but his place looks like a wilderness. George W. Atwood is at work vigorously to make an orangery. He has some bearing trees, both orange and lemon. From the latter I picked average fruit weighing over a pound each. In his garden I saw a rose-bush in full bloom, which Mrs. Atwood said had not been destitute of roses at any time during two years. They have also guavas, bananas, and date-palms. Peas are now in full bearing. A shipment of large cabbage-heads has just been made. Lettuce, beets, turnips, are abundant and good. Corn and potatoes, tomatoes, lima-beans, onions, &c., are growing as large and good as with us at New York in June.

The soil of all this country is sand, — one vast field of sand; yet it is productive wherever properly manured. That is all that is wanted. But how that is to be accomplished where grass is never cultivated, where we never see a green lawn or meadow, where all the cattle run in a semi-wild state in the pine-woods, — that is the question. It is one that never has been and never will be solved by the native population: but it will be by the incoming one; for it is one that will make this land produce more than the people consume. That is something it never yet has done. If it does not grow food, it should grow an abundance of stuff to export to pay for its imports, and leave a large surplus of profit.

If there was a line of steamers direct to New York from this coast, it could furnish excellent potatoes almost as early as Bermuda, and at a less price, or else great profit to the grower. Sweet-potatoes could be delivered in New-York market earlier than from any other convenient locality. They can be wintered in the ground where they grow, and dug, and sent to market in sjiring in better condition than from any place where they must be stored to prevent freezing.

Probably the most profitable crop would be watermelons, if there was steam communication with New York. I am told they often attain a weight of fifty or sixty pounds.

As peaches grow here (and, in speaking of here, I mean all this region) most luxuriantly, I do not see why they could not be made a profitable crop by preserving the fruit in cans.

It is also a pity there is not some way to utilize the fruit of the wild orange, which grows luxuriantly everywhere it is given an opportunity. It is grown for shade and ornament, and as screen-hedges for gardens and orchards; and there are numerous groves in the woods from which people get trees, and plant for budding with the sweet variety. These trees have shed their beautiful fragrant blossoms within a few days, and are now dropping slowly their rich golden fruit. In some of the groves, the trees and ground are literally covered with oranges, beautiful to the eye, but sour to the lip. A pleasant cordial, called sourorange-wine, is made of the juice ; and sometimes the fruit is used for sweetmeats.

I am told that quinces grow well; and but few other fruits do that are common at the North. Pears, apples, cherries, plums, currants, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, gooseberries, fail; and I do not see much hope that any of the grapes that succeed with us will do so here. There is a sort called the St. Augustine grape, and the Scuppernong, that thrive. I saw in Mr. Dumas' garden a pecan-tree, ten years from the seed, as big as my body, which has borne one crop. If one grows so, why not grow an orchard, and make a profitable crop? Ia the same garden was a thrifty Madeira-nut-tree; also a variety of oranges grown from the seed, and producing fruit at ten years of age. Those grafted produced in five or six years. The scale-insect, which was so destructive fifteen or twenty years ago, has disappeared.

Peaches do not appear to be affected by any disease. There are some exceedingly thrifty orchards in the interior of the State, the fruit of which is largely fed to the pigs. Some of it is dried, and some distilled; but much is wasted as valueless.

One of the pests of grape-growers, and the enemy of all small berries when they do happen to succeed, is the flocks of mocking-birds. The skin of the Scuppernong is so tough, that it withstands their attacks.

There is a fruit here, now ripe, called the Japan plum, which produces well, and is eatable, not excellent.

Of wild fruits, the running-blackberry is the most common. It is ripe in April, and quite abundant. Of wild flowers, the yellow jasmin is most common in spring, making the woods fragrant. In this vicinity, their season is past. There is a red jasmin, not so fragrant, but extremely handsome. The yellow jasmin is medicinal. The mere handling of the blossom, and smelling the odor, by some persons, produces a sort of paralysis, or stupor.

There is one of the azalea family, quite common, and very showy at this season, in low, rich places. The blossoms of the dogwood (Cornus Florida) have already disappeared. These, it is said, blossom in the shad season everywhere. Their season has been here since February commenced; and so has the season of garden-planting. Field-corn, in some places, is now up, so as to show the rows. By the by, do you know the fashion here is to plant the corn, and plough the land after the corn is up? That is, two furrows of a little one-mule plough are turned together, and the seed planted upon this little ridge of fresh earth, and left to grow, while " the middles " remain green strips of grass or weeds until the owner finds time to plough them out. A crop of ten bushels per acre is considered a good one. Of course it cannot be grown for profit, when a crop of two or three hundred bushels of sweet-potatoes can be grown upon similar land.

The great want of Florida at this time is capital in the hands of Northern men, who would make as great a change here in this wilderness as they have in all the Western States, and probably with a much more certain and immediate profit. I am certain that a great field is open to enterprise. It is a disgrace to this age that it has remained so long unfilled. The time has come for a change; so it has to close this letter.

Solon Robinson.

[ocr errors]

L. T., Baltimore, Md. — The best geraniums for winter blooming in the house are the different varieties of the Zonale or Horse-shoe family. These are free growers, adapt themselves well to the atmosphere of the parlor, and are seldom out of bloom. To flower well, they should be potted on through the summer, and well pinched to make them of good shape. The colors are white, pink, orange, red, scarlet, and crimson, in many different shades. If bedded out in the summer, they will grow very strong; and may be potted before the frost, and will soon bloom. The varieties with golden and silver foliage are not as well adapted for parlor culture as the plain-leafed kinds, but do well in a green-house. All the varieties are good ; but, for the parlor, those of dwarf habit are preferable. The rose, nutmeg, ivy, apple, and oak geraniums also do well in the parlor, but are desirable rather for foliage than flower.

G. E. B., Auburn, N. Y. — Your communication has been privately answered. The Editors cannot undertake to recommend the works of one publisher above another. In all works on a given subject, much of interest and valuable information may be found. Our advertising columns may always be depended upon, as we only insert advertisements of parties we believe to be fully responsible.

A New Subscriber.—New-England May-flower, trailing arbutus, and groundlaurel, are all popular names of the same plant, — Epigea repens. It is extensively distributed and very abundant in some localities. In cultivation it seldom succeeds, but will thrive In a rhododendron-bed. We have but one species, of which, however, the flowers vary much in color, from deep rose to white; and the foliage in size, according to situation. In England, seedling varieties have been produced, and may be found in catalogues; but we doubt much whether they vary more than the wild plants of different localities. In England, the plant receives the usual treatment given to "Alpine plants." Plants maybe removed to the garden in early spring before growth begins, or in August after the season's growth is finished.

I. C. —A decided case of red spider. Syringe well, sprinkle on the flue flour of sulphur (but not so it will burn), and, during summer, thoroughly paint the staging of your green-house. Any plant as badly affected as the leaves sent had better be thrown away at once : one such plant would stock a green-house in six weeks. — See article on the subject in the April number, concluded this month.

S. P. S., Brookline. — Lilacs, syringa {Philadelphus), deutzias, and Pyrus (Cydonia) Japonica, or Japan quince, are hardy ornamental shrubs, which will of themselves, and bear any amount of ill treatment. The Persian lilacs are very free flowering, and much more delicate than the more common varieties. Of syringa, the large flowered are most showy, but are not fragrant. Dentzia scabra is very handsome, and the hardiest; D. crenata, fl. pi., is a new variety which may prove valuable. Of Cydonia Japonica, the red is the more showy; but the pink is far more beautiful. The double and many new seedling varieties lately introduced are valuable only as varieties.

« ZurückWeiter »