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A Subscriber. — The articles on City Gardens, of which the second appears in the present number, will answer your questions.
George, Andover. — Your plant is Daphne cncorum, an old inhabitant of gardens, but recently brought prominently to notice. It is hardy certainly as far north as Boston, and thrives in good garden-soil. The foliage is evergreen. There is a variety with variegated leaves.
I. D. — The "native heath" is a variety of heather (Calluna vulgaris). Tor the history of the discovery and the controversy, see " Silliman's Journal," and "The Journal of Boston Society of Natural History,"passim; also Transactions of Massachusetts Horticultural Society for 1861. There is a heath, hardy in New England, Erica herbacea, and the variety carnea, blooming in May, and thriving in a rhododendron-bed.
A. C. R., Gambier, O. — Plants seldom thrive outside a sunny window in summer if planted in pots; for the heat of the sun upon the pot is so great, that the roots become dried. The best plan is to put a box outside the window, and plant bedding-plants or seeds early in May: these will make a good growth before mid-summer, and generally bloom well. Climbers trained upon strings to the top of the window make a pretty show. For bedding-plants, we recommend heliotropes, gazanias, verbenas, and scarlet geraniums; of climbers, canary-bird flower (Tropceolum peregrinum), cypress-vine (Ipomea quamoclit), Maurandia Barclayana, and the varieties of nasturtium (Tropceolum minus); of annuals, mignonette, sweet allyssum, or any other free-blooming, low-growing plants ; of bulbs, Jacobean lily (Amaryllis formosissimus), tiger-flowers (Tigridia pavonia and conchi/lora), and perhaps some of the more dwarf varieties of gladiolus. The one thing to be avoided is crowding: that requiring most care is watering.
I. G., Dorchester. — The new violets of which you have heard are of English origin, and are probably seedling varieties. They are the Czar, large, dark purple, fragrant, — a Russian violet; queen of violets, very large, double white; giant, somewhat resembling czar; king of violets, very large, double, blue. Some of these may be obtained of florists in this country; though of course, like other new introductions, they are of high cost.
In presenting to your notice the condition of the orchards in the Western country, it is necessary that you bear in mind the vast extent of territory embraced in the area of our great interior valley. You must also consider the varying soils that are spread over its wide surface, and at the same time take note of the different conditions of climate which must exist over an extent of eight degrees of latitude and twenty of longitude, modified as they .are, too, by their altitude above the level of the sea, by inequalities of surface, by elevations and depressions, by great bodies of timber-lands, wide areas of open steppes, and by broad sheets of water.
All these conditions are so totally different from those that exist in the limited area of New England, and the eastern slopes of the AMeghanies, near the sea-board, that we should hardly expect to find the fruits of one region succeeding in the other. And yet these circumstances have been overlooked by those who have planted orchards since the first settlement of the country. Within the great extent of territory above alluded to, there are local differences, requiring especial selections for each; but there are also certain general conditions that apply alike to all.
Vol. :. 41 331
Sources of our Fruits. — By a well-established law of population, now generally acknowledged by statists, though pointed out many years ago by our own Mansfield,* emigration moves very nearly along the parallels of latitude. With the immigration of men, there came, of course, the migration of fruits; for the settler would very naturally desire to bring along with him as many of the home-comforts of his former residence as possible. This fact and its results are so well understood by intelligent penologists, that the origin of the population of a county or township is not unfrequently predicated upon the observation of certain leading varieties of fruits in their orchards.
As with the lines of migration of men, however, there are often observed some marked deflexions from the parallels of latitude, so also do we find departures from these in the western progress of fruits; and thus, as we pass toward the great Father of Waters, we often see these lines converging, and sometimes even crossing each other.
Long Island, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and North Carolina, have furnished the most reliable and satisfactory varieties of our orchardfruits; and we are now seeking to extend our lists by fresh importations from the Southern States, encouraged by the happy results that have followed previous introductions. It need not be expected that these will all prove satisfactory: the lists must be sifted again and again. On the other hand, some of our extremely hardy kinds of apples are from the North of Europe and from Canada; while beside them some Southern varieties continue to brave successfully the hyperborean winters of Northern Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin.
Besides the little collections of fruit-trees brought by the early settlers, there very soon arose in every neighborhood some provident individual who was engaged in the useful occupation of multiplying the best varieties of fruits, and producing trees for others to plant. He was the primitive nursery-man. Another individual soon followed him, and too often eclipsed him, and drove him from the field by the grander display and more voluble eloquence with which he approached his credulous customers: this was the tree-peddler; and to this class of adventurers the Western farmers owe a grudge for the evils they have committed. Long after the home-nursery
* £. D. Mansfield, Commissioner of Statistics for Ohio.
man had discovered by observation what fruits were adapted to his neighborhood, and what were unworthy of culture, these strangers continued to flood the country with untried sorts from Eastern nurseries, and with those that had already been tried and found wanting, but which, they assured the credulous, were all the very best kinds for them to plant .
The unfortunate evils that necessarily followed this cause, eventually worked their own cure, but not until orchard-planting had come to be considered a very precarious business in many parts of the country, nor until many planters had lost their orchards from the inability of the varieties to withstand the vicissitudes of the climate. At length, the fruit-growers of the country began to assemble, and consult together upon topics of the greatest importance to their future success. From these meetings grew the North-western Association; and from it have legitimately descended our several State and local societies, which have done so great a work for the country.
One of the earliest conclusions of value that was arrived at by the discussions of these fruit-societies was, that many of the noted and highlypraised Eastern varieties were wholly unfitted for the new conditions to which they were exposed. Next it appeared that the Northern origin of a variety was no guaranty of its hardiness in its new Western home, and that some of these varieties had so much vigor while young as to make a late autumnal growth in our fertile soils, and they suffered a mortal blow on the access of the first frost . On the contrary, some of the Southern varieties were found to be able to withstand the severity of the Northern winters better than many of New-England origin.
Requirements. — A valuable result of these consultations was, that our fruit-growers came to an understanding with one another as to the requirements of a successful variety of fruit. First of these, by common consent, was, that the tree should be perfectly healthy and hardy. Too great a loss had been sustained all over the country to allow these men to reach any other conclusion. No matter how much the adoption of this principle might cut down the lists, an honest nursery-man could no longer recommend to his customers those varieties that were known to be tender, and which were liable to be winter-killed.
The second requisition was, that the tree should be productive in the orchard; for it was soon discovered that certain varieties were very unsatisfactory in the money-returns of their fruitage. Whether this arose from an inherent defect of their organization, from the effect of late-spring frosts, or from a superabundance of wood-growth, which for a long term of years kept the tree unfruitful, all such varieties were tabooed by these men, and in some instances to their own loss, as in the case last cited; for these trees, though a long time in coming into profit, are often exceedingly productive at last, and every way satisfactory. Besides, there are well-known means of accelerating the fruitage of these slow kinds, some of which have been successfully and extensively practised.
The next desideratum, and a quality that is imperatively demanded in a new country, is early bearing. Our first orchardists, having no fruit of the apple kind but the acerb native crab, were impatient for the results of their planting. They could not think of waiting twelve or fifteen years for the fruiting of the Northern Spy, Newtown Pippin, Rhode-Island Greening, or the Yellow Bsllflower, especially as they found on the mucky soil of the prairies that many of their trees were killed outright or sadly crippled by the winters before half that period had elapsed. Hence, the preference that was very early shown for the Baldwin, Red June, Keswick Codling, Smith's Cider, Ben Davis, Fallawater, Gilpin, Buckingham, White Pippin, and others that gave prompt returns, even though some of them were deficient in hardiness.
Excellence of quality, though highly appreciated by Western pomologists, was, and continues to be, a recommendation of the least value, if unaccompanied by the other requisitions. To men whose experience had led them to rejoice at the attainment of abundant fruit after frequent disappointments, the quality of the product was of secondary importance to its attainment. To the great world of purchasers called the market, it is a matter of very little consequence whether the fruit be good or very good, if it only be smooth, good-looking, and plentiful; and our Western orchardists soon learned to cater to the taste of the market as they found it. I am aware that my critical readers, especially those that are mere amateurs in fruit-growing, will exclaim against this decision: but I also know, that, in a business view of the operation, the orchardists are right; and I believe, that, outside of the circle of accomplished pomologists, the world, both East