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clearness or cloudiness of the sky greatly influences the time of ripening. The rich juices of the grape are not dependent on heat alone for their elaboration ; light plays an equal if not more important part: so that in a cool, dry summer, when clear skies are the rule, grapes will be much sweeter and ripen earlier than in a cloudy, damp season, although the latter may be above the average temperature. «
Apropos of grapes: a Hartford Prolific vine in my possession has produced this season eight clusters from a single bud. The shoot proceeding from this bud, in May, forked at the first leaf, about two inches from the main branch; and each division produced four well-formed clusters of average size: they were all allowed to remain, and have ripened perfectly. I mention this fact in the hope that some among the readers of this Journal may have seen or heard the like: if so, I beg they will publish the description. As far as my knowledge goes, the case is very unusual, if not quite unique. It is not probable, that, on an undivided shoot, six clusters could be exceeded. D. M. Balch.
Oct. to, 1867.
Fringed Gentian. — This loveliest of autumn flowers is invaluable for parlor decoration. If the plant be gathered just as the first flowers expand, and put in water in a light, airy place, every bud will expand into a lovely blue flower. The only care is to keep the glass filled with fresh water. As one plant not unfrequently has from twenty to fifty buds in different stages of development, it lasts in perfection a long time, — often a month or more.
Magnolias. — The following kinds may be considered hardy enough to stand a New-England winter: Glauca, acuminata, tripctala or umbcllata, auriculata or Frascri, cordata, macrophylla (precariously hardy), conspicua. Soulargiana, and the many hybrids between these two, — 7/iompsoniana, purpurea (after the plants are well established), glauca Iongifolia, and the varieties of purpurea subject to the same limitation as the species.
M. Lame has not yet been fully tested, but is probably hardy.
352 Definition of Zonal and Nosegay Pelargoniums.
the stem; surface a little uneven, and in this respect, and its formation at the crown, resembles the Bartlett; stem rather short and stout, generally inserted without cavity; calyx not large, closed, set in a shallow, small plaited basin; color yellowish-green, with dull-red cheek, becoming clear yellow with crimson cheek at maturity; flesh greenish-white, fine-grained, melting, very juicy and buttery; flavor pleasant, sprightly, refreshing, with a delicate perfume, free from musk; maturity, last of August, but should be gathered about the 20th of the month, and house-ripened; quality very good; one of the handsomest pears in cultivation. The tree is hardy, healthy, vigorous, and productive, persistent both in fruit and foliage, and possesses all the characteristics of a first-rate variety.
The Clapp's Favorite was raised from seed by the late Thaddeus Clapp of Dorchester, Mass.; and from the resemblance of the wood and foliage to the Flemish Beauty, and of the fruit to the Bartlett, it is probably a cross of these varieties. As an early, large fruit, it is one of the best acquisitions of our day. Marshall P. Wilder.
Definition Of Zonal And Nosegay Pelargoniums. — The name Zonal was given a few years ago to that particular section of pelargoniums to distinguish it from others. They were all called "scarlet geraniums;" which did not truly express what was meant, as there are so many shades of color in the flowers of that class; and it would be absolutely incorrect so to call Madame Vaucher, which has a pure white flower. Almost the whole of this family have a zone on the leaf, though sometimes faintly developed: hence the old-fashioned name of " horseshoe " geranium. The word "Zonal " at once conveys to the mind the particular section of pelargoniums of which we may be speaking. A nosegay pelargonium is a Zonal in every sense of the word; the leaves are generally marked with a zone: and then a nosegay differs only from other Zonals in the form of its flowers, the petals of which are narrow and long, and the three front petals wide apart from the two at back: the trusses are much larger than the usual size, and are more enduring under rain or hot weather. Nosegay stella and the variety called Punch, or Tom Thumb, are respectively good examples of a nosegay and the large-flowering Zonals.
FAILURE OF THE APPLE-CROP IN NEW ENGLAND.
Is some parts of the country, the crop of apples has been almost a failure for several years past. This crop, that was formerly regarded as one of the most certain, has now become quite unreliable. Formerly the markets were glutted with this fruit, many farmers sending them in by hundreds, and, in some instances, by thousands, of barrels; so that the price of even the best ruled quite low: a dollar and a half was considered as an outside price for the best Baldwins, Greenings, and Russets; while, for the past three or four years, the same quality of fruit would command five or six dollars per barrel. Then every wild apple-tree in the woods, pasture, orchard, or roadside, produced its fruit in abundance, from which good cider was made, to be sold for two dollars a barrel or less ; while, in many instances, the fruit was not considered worth gathering: now these wild trees are as barren, or nearly so, as the grafted trees ; and hence few apples are found to be made into cider, and this article commands a large price. No fruit is so universally esteemed, and so useful for a variety of purposes, as the apple; and its loss is severely felt. The question as to the cause of this failure has been often asked, but seldom or never satisfactorily answered. Nor do we expect to succeed in doing what so many have failed to do; but we propose to examine the reasons that have been given by others, and advance some that we believe will be quite as satisfactory to the public. This failure of the apple-crop has not been universal, but has been confined mostly to the New-England States; New York, and States farther West, furnishing apples enough to supply in part the deficiency. Local causes have operated to some extent, such as canker-worms, caterpillars, and other vermin that have been quite destructive; but this does not alone account for the almost universal failure of the crop. When the foliage has been entirely destroyed for several years in succession, that of itself might be a sufficient explanation of the failure; but when we know that trees or whole orchards even in the same neighborhood, that were partially or wholly protected from the ravages of insects, gave no better results, we must look farther for the cause.
It is true that the trees have sometimes blossomed; and the question
VOL. IL 45
has naturally arisen, Why have they not produced fruit? Of course, there could be no apples when there were no blossoms: but it does not inevitably follow, that, because the trees bloom, there will be a crop of fruit; and the fact is, though there was a full blossom in many orchards last spring, there was little or no fruit.
It has been asserted that the thunder-storms that have occurred when the trees were in blossom have prevented the fruit from setting, and thus the crop was lost. We do not believe in this theory at all, except so far as this, — that if the trees were in full blossom, and a heavy shower, or, what would be worse, a long storm, should come on, and wash out the pollen before the germ had been impregnated, then, of course, the bloom would prove abortive; but it would not be because of the electricity in the air, as some believe.
Thunder-storms are no new invention; for we well remember that many years ago, when apples were as plenty as blackberries in August, we had a greater number of thunder-storms than we have had of late years. Why were not the blossoms destroyed then by electricity?
It has been said of late by some unknown writer in a commercial paper, commenting on the failure of the apple-crop in New England, that one if not the chief cause was, that the lands of this part of the country had become exhausted, and were no longer able to produce this fruit. This is entirely, without foundation; for many orchards that have been planted on new land just reclaimed from the forest, or virgin soil that has never produced any other crop than that which Nature planted, have shown the same results with the apple. Even the trees that have sprung up spontaneously in choice locations, where the soil has grown richer year by year from the accumulations of leaves and other material, have also failed: while, in some instances, the reverse has been true; a fair crop having been obtained from trees standing in the midst of an old orchard, where, if anywhere, the soil would be exhausted. Again : if this is the true cause, why should it not affect pear and other fruit trees gtowing in the same soil, and receiving the same ti eatment?
But it is not true that it does; for each year, while the apple has failed, the pear has been a partial success, and given crops of fruit. Now, all will admit that it requires a good soil to raise good pears, — even better than to raise good apples.