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ferum, C. Koch) only produces branches from the flowering stem. In order to prove it, I removed all the panicles of flowers from a young tree flowering for the first time: the result was, that the main stem increased in height, and developed a new canopy of fine foliage; but no lateral branches were produced as obtained with those permitted to flower as usual. Those desirous of growing the waratah in perfection should not permit a flower to be gathered or otherwise destroyed. Many who are aware of the habit of this highly ornamental plant have some magnificent specimens in their gardens, attracting attention by their rich and brilliant mass of bright-crimson blossoms.
The waratah thrives in a poor, sandy soil, well exposed to light and air. The usual time of flowering is in September (the early spring in New South Wales), and it continues for nearly two months. There are two kinds of flowers, — one, the normal state, of a deep, rich crimson, calyx segments tipped with white. The blossoms, when just expanding, are of a delicate light pink, a rose-color, gradually changing to a more or less deep-crimson hue. —Dr. G. Bennet in "Journal of Botany.
Acrophyllum VENOSUH CULTURE. — This plant requires a light and airy situation in a cool house, to be well supplied with water when growing, and at all times to have the soil moist. A compost of two-thirds sandy peat, and onethird turfy loam, with a free admixture of sand, will grow it well. Good drainage is essential; and not less so are light and air plentifully furnished. The plant should be potted in spring after flowering, and may then be cut in as required, to give it a suitable shape. It is not hardy, but requires a house in winter from which frost is excluded, otherwise it cannot be kept too cool in winter. It is the better of a cold pit or frame in summer.
Causes Of Grapes Shanking. — There is, perhaps, no malady to which grapes are subject which has given rise to more difference of opinion than that termed shanking. This is not surprising, if, as is probable, almost any thing which militates against the health of a vine may produce it.
Shanking may be described as the death of the footstalk which unites the berry to the bunch, or part of the main stalk to which the footstalks of the berries are attached. The effect is to prevent single berries, or the part or whole of a bunch of grapes, coming to perfection, by the stoppage of the necessary supply of sap; thus destroying the hopes of the cultivator at a period when he feels secure of success.
Nothing is more certain than that either a low wet border will cause shanking, or that a soil totally unfit to grow grapes will produce it; but I am more than ever convinced that many a border is condemned, and many a house replanted, where the fault is entirely in the mode of cultivation.
Vines may often be seen mismanaged in the following manner: The sideshoots are correctly stopped at one leaf above the fruit, but afterwards are allowed to make seven or eight, or even more, leaves, which are all cut off and carried away in one day. I have seen barrow-loads of shoots and foliage thus removed. Now, is it possible such an amount of foliage can be removed from a growing vine without injury? that we can, whilst a vine is in full growth, with impunity cut through scores of fruit-bearing branches almost as thick as a man's little finger, and the plant not feel any ill effects? that roots growing rapidly will receive no check? that roots thus checked, particularly if the sort be a weak grower, will receive no permanent injury?
I believe it only requires attention to be directed to the subject to see the absurdity of the practice. Let us next see what takes place where vines are properly attended to.
The shoots are stopped, as in the other case, as soon as one good leaf is formed above the bunch of flowers. This checks the sap, and diverts it to the fruit. The strongest shoots soon recommence growing; and, when two leaves are formed, the point of the shoot is taken out with the thumb-nail. There is no loss of foliage in this case. The weaker shoots take advantage of the check their more robust fellows have received, and are in turn treated in the same manner. The sap is thus equalized, and no useless foliage is formed merely to be removed. This treatment is a gradual one, spread over the whole time a vine is growing, and not the work of one day. The plant, as a whole, receives no check.
Again: some vines are not allowed to carry foliage at all in proportion to the fruit expected from them. Can they, under these circumstances, make healthy roots? Some of your readers will ask, " Did you ever see Barbarossa or Black Alicante made to shank by such pruning?" I answer, " No; but I have seen them reduced to barrenness by it."
Having thought long on this subject, I have observed closely the conditions under which shanking has occurred, and in some cases have been able to predict it a year beforehand; and 1 am more than ever convinced that the mode of management pointed out is its most prolific source. — J. R. Pearson in Cottage Gardener.
Grapes Shanking And Spotting. — Grapes shank owing to two causes; viz., a deficiency of sap, and vitiated sap.
1st, Deficiency of Sap. — This may result from the great disparity between the temperature of the ground in which the roots are situated and that of the house where the foliage and fruit are. In the case of outside borders, there is very often a difference of ten degrees between the mean temperature of the house and that of the border: and in a hot, dry day, the leaves and fruit will throw off moisture rapidly; but, the roots furnishing sap slowly, too little will be pumped up to meet the requirements of the expanding fruit. The footstalks of the berries will therefore shrivel, or become ulcerated; and a complete stoppage of the communication between the roots and the berries will be the consequence, ending in the shrivelling of the berries thus cut off from further supplies of sap. Shanking may, therefore, be the effect of the roots not furnishing sap in sufficient quantity for the demands of the expanding fruit, through the disparity between the temperature of the ground and that of the air: and yet that, in all cases, will not cause shanking; for the condition of the roots may be such, that they will supply sap fast enough, or there may be enough stored up in the stems to meet any sudden demand of the expanding fruit. This, however, can only be the case where the roots are in a medium favorable to the formation and preservation of the fibres and their points, or spongioles. Shanking, therefore, may not be the effect of too great a difference between the temperature of the soil and atmosphere: but the conditions unfavorable to shanking are elevation, dryness, and openness of the border, which are essential to the preservation of the fibres in health until the crop is mature; whilst the predisposing causes of the disease are lowness, wetness, and closeness of the material of the border. In short, all outside borders have a tendency to cause shanking; for however dry they may be rendered by drainage, and the materials of which they are formed, yet very wet and cold weather when the fruit begins to color may so retard root-action as to induce shanking through an insufficiency of sap, arising from inactivity of the spongioles.
A deficiency of sap may also result from the border being not only outside, but also below, the level of the surrounding ground, and deep, rich, and imperfectly drained. This is generally the case when shanking is most severe. Than roots situated deep beneath the surface, and in a manner shut out from all sun and atmospheric influences, in conjunction with excessively rich soil, nothing further is required, except a period of cold rainy weather when the grapes commence ripening, to cause the speedy destruction of the fibres (never very plentiful), rendering the supply of sap insufficient for the expansion of the fruit; and, as a consequence, the berries shank. Examine at what time we may the roots of vines situated in a deep, rich, low, wet border, we shall find them little better than so many bare sticks, with a few fibres at the ends, — in winter, almost entirely rotten and dying back; and what can we expect but that similar destruction of the fibres will take place in summer when the same conditions of coldness and wet present themselves? Too great a depth of soil, roots too deep, soil wet, too rich, and cold in comparison with the temperature in which the branches and fruit are situated, will destroy the fibres, and cause a deficiency in the supply of sap; owing to which, the footstalks of the berries, or parts of the bunches, will become ulcerated.
An insufficiency of sap may also result from depriving the vines of too much foliage either in the current or the previous season. It is not unusual to keep vineries warm and moist, with no great amount of air after the fruit has set, in order to secure root-action. A great breadth of foliage is produced; and when the fruit begins to color, or a little before, a great part of the leaves is suddenly removed under pretence of getting the fruit well colored; and thus, the foliage not being in proportion to the fruit and to the root, it cannot assimilate the extraordinary amount of sap driven into it: hence the roots are rendered inert, and their destruction follows, either when the weather proves wet and cold, or a good supply of water is given to help the second swelling. The roots are now gone; but more air is given, the evaporation from the leaves becomes excessive, the roots do not supply sap fast enough for the swelling fruit, and shanking of the footstalks of the berries and bunches follows. This is not so common a cause of shanking as coldness, and wetness of the border; but it does sometimes occur with vines planted in an inside border.
The remedial measures are, to form the border inside, or have it wanned by hot-water pipes in chambers under it; to protect it from heavy and cold rains; to form it, in all instances where practicable, above the surrounding ground-level; and to provide the most effectual drainage possible, and this more particularly where the soil is of a cold, wet, clayey nature. I found that the vines planted in a border sunk so as to be level with the surrounding surface always had a tendency to shanking in the bunches which they produced, even after they had been lifted and the border thoroughly drained. The following course was therefore adopted: The surface of the border was concreted with lime-riddlings and gravel well pounded; and two-inch drain-pipes were laid thereon, so as to form one drain lengthwise eighteen inches from the front lights, another a like distance from the back, and one in the centre. These drains extended the length of the border, came out a yard beyond it at each end, and were crossed by similar pipes extending from the front to the back of the border, forming, where they crossed those laid longitudinally, a four-inch opening or parting covered with a tile. The cross-drains were four feet apart. Upon the tiles was laid a foot of brickbats, from which the finer portions had been sifted out by an inch sieve; and on the brickbats was placed turf, grass-side downwards. The border was composed of turf, cut three inches thick, from a pasture, the soil of which was a lightish hazel or yellow loam resting on a gravelly sub-soil. The turf was laid on fresh, as cut, grass-side downwards; and between every layer boiled half-inch bones were strewn, until the border had been carried up to the height of twentyfour inches. When finished, it had the appearance of an inclining terrace, with slopes in front and at the ends; the drain-tiles extending beyond these, and being each fitted with a wooden plug, so that they could be opened or closed at vrilL During the growing season, these plugs were taken out daily, if the temperature of the air exceeded that of the border, but at no other time; and they were invariably put in at night. Vines were of course planted, and the grapes did not shank. The border, having a sloping top or surface, was covered with boards if the weather proved unfavorably wet.
2d, Vitiated Sap. — In vineries where the borders are inside, shanking is not wholly unknown; nor in heated borders is it invariably true that grapes do not shank. I have seen them shank under what we may term very unfavorable conditions for the disease, and notwithstanding every precaution taken to guard against it. I fully believe the vine to be no feeder on carrion, nor any of those strong manures which subside during decomposition into a soapy mass, in which no vine-root will live for a single winter, or, if so, only to push into the subsoil, or anywhere out of the reach of the putrefaction. Very often, vine-borders are made so that the mouths of the vines planted in them are rotted off, at times taking up so much food as to cover the roof with an undue amount of foliage, and at other times scarcely enough for the pressing demands of the leaves and fruit; but, if this cause shanking, what is it but an insufficient supply of sap? The roots not taking up the supply of food as decomposed or rendered available, it is absorbed by the soil adjoining; and this goes on constantly, so that the soil not only becomes excessively rich, but sodden, sour, and deprived of air from its closeness. It surely must follow, that the spongioles take up food in a Vul. 1. 30
vitiated state, and that, the plant being unable to throw it off otherwise, new parts are formed: these being vigorously stopped, the vitiated sap chokes the passage in the narrow part between the berry and main conduit of the sap; and the berry, so cut off from further supplies of sap, shrivels.
The sap may be vitiated by excessive watering, too rich soil, and the border being deprived of air from the closeness of the materials employed; and this vitiated sap produces much wood, and long loose bunches of fruit with wiry footstalks. The berries swell very irregularly; and when they should become large, plump, and well colored, they stop swelling, remain red, shrivel, and are sour. A soil open, well drained, and poor rather than rich, would prevent the last result; and our best grapes are not grown in borders measured by their depth and the quantity of manure they contain, but by the openness of the soil, the slow decomposition of the manurial substances, and its dryness and shallowness. Naturally, the vine loves the hills and rocks, and will not thrive in bogs, such as we may see without much trouble in almost any garden where vines have been planted some time. Afford the vine a warm, dry, and open soil, and shanking will be less frequently seen. It may only be an idea which I have: but I think calcareous matter is valuable for some kinds of vines, and these are such as are most liable to shank; viz., Frontignans. I have had these free from shanking when grown in a border out of doors resting on a bed of chalk; which substance also entered largely into the composition of the border, as also another variety very liable to shank; viz., the Muscat Hamburg. Of all grapes, this I believe to be the very best, and, at the same time, the most difficult to grow without shanking in an outside border. With me, when worked on the Black Hamburg stock, it is any thing but cured, though vastly improved.
The "spot," as gardeners call it, is mainly due to the same causes as •shanking. — G. Abbey.
Cherries grow to an enormous size in California. A lot were exhibited, of the ox-heart variety, which measured over two and a half inches in circumference.
Annual Bedders.— To any one in want of a cheap, showy, and easilymanaged bedder, I would say, Try the common scarlet-runners. I have grown them for this purpose for two seasons, and have satisfied myself, that, when properly managed, this plant makes a very gay and effective bedder. At the present time, my row of runners is a perfect sheet of orange-scarlet, and this in spite of the drenching rains to which most of my bedders have succumbed. Nothing can be simpler than the management. Sow the seeds in May in poor soil, without manure, but on dry land, and in a sunny position, l'ut the seeds into the ground with your finger and thumb, at, say, twelve inches' distance from each other. They soon make their appearance, and grow like mushrooms. As soon as the stems begin to taper up, peg them down until you have a perfect row, or, if you grow them in a bed, until the ground is completely covered. After that, you must go over the row or bed occasionally, and nip off with a pair of shears any straggling shoot, together with some of the foliage if it is too thick. You will soon have an even mass of bloom, which will last till the frosts come.