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pear, and this in combination with a very fertile soil propitious to the strong growth of trees.
Two of these undated pear-trees stand upon the farm of Samuel Squires, near Nameoki Station, on the Terre Haute, Alton, and St. Louis Railway, in Madison County. They have been known by their present owner for fiftysix years; and he estimates their age at between seventy and eighty years. Calvin Knider, another old settler, states that he saw them in 1825, and
that they then seemed about forty years of age; thus varying little from Mr. Squires's estimate. This carries the date of their planting back to about the year 1785, or about fifteen years before the first American pioneers settled in the country. They are, therefore, probably of French origin. The fruit of one tree is small and worthless: that of the other resembles the Bartlett in outline and color, ripens in August, is only good in quality, and quite productive. I enclose an outline taken from a ripe specimen on the 22d of August. The trees stand in an open field, and, though showing signs of heavy bearing, seem hale and hearty as ever, and stand a perpetual encouragement to discouraged pear-growers.
At the ancient village of Cahokia, just below and opposite St. Louis, are pear-trees of much greater age. Mr. Knider estimated them as forty years older than the trees of Mr. Squires, or about a hundred and twenty years of age. George C. Eisenmeyer, in a letter to the Alton Horticultural Society, states that he was informed in 1865 by a Mr. Aubry, who has resided in the "French Bottom," near Cahokia, for the last thirty years, that an old man upwards of a hundred years of age told him that seventy years ago there were large old pear-orchards in the neighborhood of Cahokia, of which five trees now living are the survivors. This would put the time of their planting prior to the year 1750, or about the time the "Company of the West" were endeavoring to settle and improve Upper Louisiana. These trees are said now to be forty or fifty feet high, with trunks three feet in diameter. They produce from fifteen to twenty bushels each of a pear which is said to rival the Seckel; but this I think must be an exaggerated estimate of their flavor. It has, however, been sufficiently esteemed to be propagated, by a nursery-man of the county, under the name of the "Cahokia Seedling."
In 1844, the year of the great flood on the Mississippi, the fruit was gathered, and conveyed to market in skiffs. The trees were not injured by the freshet; whilst smaller trees, whose foliage was submerged, perished.
There are other old pear-trees at Prairie du Rocher, but of a much less age ; although, among the American settlers, they would be reckoned patriarchs of the orchard.
The Cahokia pear-trees are the oldest, to my knowledge, in the Valley of the Mississippi; and though they will not compare with the Endicott or the Stuyvesant pear-trees in their age, nor with that of Vincennes in their size, they are very big and ancient trees, and suggestive of the best conditions of pear growth and hygiene. IV. C. Fhgg.
Alton, April 24, 1867. Vol. L 46 CULTURE OF HERBACEOUS CALCEOLARIAS.
In the first place, every endeavor should be made to secure a packet of first-class seed from a well-proven source, as the bad sorts require just the same space and attention as the good: besides, the pleasure, in the end, of having a superior to an inferior quality of flowers, will infinitely outbalance the extra trouble and expense.
About the beginning of July, the seeds ought to be sown in pans well drained, on the following compost, after being thoroughly incorporated: two-fourths rich fibry loam, one-fourth leaf-mould and old mushroom-bed dung, one-fourth silver or river sand; the whole put through a fine riddle. Fill the pans about half up with crocks, putting a thin layer of the fibry portions of the riddlings over the crocks; the remaining half fill with the soil, when slightly press and smooth the surface; then scatter over the seeds, and finish with sifting a little soil over, and give a sprinkling of water through a fine rose.
The pans may be placed in a shaded part of a pit or frame, near the glass, where they can get a little bottom-heat; or, better, on the back shelf of a vinery, near the ventilators, where they may have the advantage of both heat and air. If the vine-rods are insufficient to shade the pans with their leaves, pieces of glass, whitewashed above, will be found necessary to cover them until the plants have made some progress, and can stand exposure.
Remove daily the drops that will gather on the under surface of the glass, so that they do not fall among the young plants; and never permit the plants or soil to get dry or crusted, but keep both slightly moist with water.
When the seedlings have made sufficient strength to be handled, prick them in lines into boxes, and give a good shower through a fine rose, that will lay the earth to their roots; and return them to their old quarters, shading as before until they are on their feet again, when they may be removed to a cold frame or pit. Place them near the glass, shading in strong sunshine, and giving sufficient air to harden them off by degrees to the full exposure of air and light.
Continue to keep their foliage damp, and never allow them to flag for want of water at the root, or with the sun, throughout any stage of their growth; and in a short time they will be prepared for a shift into pots three inches in diameter. Cut out their balls carefully into squares, and place them individually into the pots, using soil the same as recommended for the pans, only more rough. The plants will not appear to suffer from the shift,, but will continue growing; which growth ought not to have a check up to the time the flowers make their appearance.
If green fly pay them a visit, take advantage of them, when the foliage is dry, by giving a smart smoking with tobacco-paper, and administer a good lashing with the syringe after the smoke has passed away.
In a short time, if all prospers, the roots will be through the soil, when a larger shift will be requisite, which, on no consideration, ought to be neglected or put off till to-morrow. Procrastination, or any other cause of prevention, will be found ruinous, as nothing can be worse than allowing them to get pot-bound; in which case the consequence will surely be stunted plants, that will send up flower-stalks weak and premature; whereas a regular succession of shiftings up to ten-inch pots will produce really good plants. About the beginning of November, prepare a place in the greenhouse as near as possible to the glass, without endangering them to frost. Place them there for the winter, after carefully washing and clearing the pots of weeds, being careful not to break the leaves in the operation; and continue to treat, as regards watering, syringing overhead, and potting, when needful, as the winter passes. As soon as the plants are established in their last shift, give a good soaking of liquid manure, at the rate of forty gallons of rain-water to one pound guano once a week, up to the time the flowers begin to expand; when it may be discontinued. Turn the plants every time you have occasion to water, that they may be well balanced with the foliage; and, as soon as the flower-stalks are of sufficient length, stake out, and finally stage to flower.
A. Kerr, in "Scottish Gardener." VEGETABLES.
Keyes's Early Prolific Tomato. — This new and very distinct variety originated with Mr. Charles A. Keyes of Worcester, Mass. The fruit is of medium size, uniformly smooth, solid, and of excellent flavor. It is very early. Grown with the Tilden and other leading varieties the past season in the grounds of Mr. Keyes, it ripened thirty days earlier than any other sort. The fruit is produced in clusters, from six to twenty in a cluster, and from seven to fifteen clusters on a vine, with the fruit not more than eighteen inches from the root of the plant. The foliage is large, — entirely distinct in this particular from any other variety; some of the leaves often measuring eight inches in length by six in breadth. Being naturally of a dwarf, compact habit, it can be planted as thickly as potatoes; and may, on this account, prove a valuable variety for forcing. We consider it worthy of trial, and shall grow it extensively the coming season for an early crop.
Black Pekin Egg-plant, introduced the past season by Messrs. Hovey & Co., is a native of China, as its name indicates. It is very distinct in its character. Fruit very large, round, and weighing from five to seven pounds each; plant erect, vigorous, without spines; leaves oblong, and of a dark bluish-black color, quite ornamental. Fruit of this new variety was exhibited at the Annual Exhibition of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, and attracted considerable attention. Seeds of this new variety can probably be procured of seedsmen the coming spring.
Simons's Extra Early Beet, introduced last season, fully maintains its reputation for earliness; and is an improvement on the Bassano, being quite as early. Uniformly smooth, of a blood-red color, and turnip-shaped. Valuable as an early variety for the market-gardener.
C. N. Brackett.