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may be left bare from the ground, on each side of the tree, to as far as the tree extends." —(Gard. Mem.)
Fertility, in every part of the tree, is the chief object of the wise gardener; it is incompatible with absolute preciseness of figure; because nature cannot be constrained to produce bearing wood at all times and in all situations. If therefore, a blank space occur, or a branch fail on one side of the tree, it will be always better to coax without violence a small branch on the other side, so as to bring it over the vacancy; and moreover this bending of the wood produces a fertile condition of the buds.
A new mode of symmetrical training invented by a gardener of the name of Seymour, consists in leading up a nine or ten foot wall, one central stem, from which branch out lateral shoots to the right and left. From these laterals (which become permanent branches), secondary shoots are trained, but only on the upper side of each: all those which are produced from the lower side, being rubbed off as they appear. The secondary shoots are the bearers, and from these, fresh bearing wood is sent forth every year. To form a handsome tree by this new method of training, much adroitness, discernment, and foresight are required: with the exercise of these, a beautiful tree of exquisite symmetry is the result.
M. Protecting the fruit. Mr. Cobbett objects to the use of boughs and mats. "Frosts," says he, "descend, that is to say, their destructive effects come down upon a tree perpendicularly. It is not the cold that destroys the germ of fruit; it is the wet joined to the cold." "When frosts come without rain, or dews, they do very little harm to blossoms; therefore, the thing to be desired, is something to keep off the wet during the time that the blossom is becoming fruit." He recommends wood-bricks to be built into the wall, in the row of bricks next the top row, at suitable distances, and to have holes bored in these wooden bricks, to admit the ends of stout rods, or pieces of iron, about two feet long, exclusive of the part to be inserted; and just before the blossoms begin to burst, these pieces of iron are to be fastened in the holes. Upon these pieces of iron, boards are to be laid along, by the top of the wall; "the boards might be fastened down to the pieces of iron, by holes made in the former, to admit a small cord to fasten the former to the latter; and the whole would remain safe against the power of the winds, until the season arrived when the fruit would be out of danger. The boards might be placed rather in a slanting direction, in order to prevent rains from pouring upon, and running down the wall."
The best and readiest materials for protecting fruit-trees is bunting, or an old flag, of the required length and breadth, let down every frosty night over the tree or trees, and rolled up to the top of the wall in mild, or sunny weather.
87. Thinning the fruit. Suffer no single shoot to ripen more than two peaches: commence thinning when the peaches are about the size of small gooseberries, and thin them finally to six inches apart. On this subject Mr. Cobbett remarks: "it is not the producing of the pulp, which requires the great effort of the tree, but the bringing of the seed to perfection; so that, though you are to have the same weight of peaches on a tree that should bear one hundred, as on a tree that should bear two hundred; still the effort required from the tree would be only half as great in the former case as in the latter; because in the former, there would be only half the number of Seeds."—(English Gardener, No. 278.)
There is something exceedingly curious in this phenomenon; it adds another proof, to the many already existing, that there is a distinct set of vessels appropriated to the maturation of the seed; which, when excited, seems to divert the regular course of the fluids in the vascular system of the plant, and wonderfully to exhaust its energies. I suspect this sympathetic action to be carried on by the agency of electric currents taking a lateral course through the medullary or divergent rays, and that the office, or one of the offices of these rays, is to regulate the sympathies which exist between the vessels of nutrition, and those of fructification
A very interesting paper is found in the Annales de Chimie et de Physique, tom. 46. Fevrier 1831. p. 147, entitled, Memoire sur la maturation des fruits, par M. Couvebchel; lise a TAcademie des Sciences, le 10 Mai, 1830.
88. Varieties and soil. Loudon enumerates fifty-three varieties of the peach; and afterwards mentions, on the authority of Forsyth, the sorts which may be suitable to a small garden; these are
The early Avant, Royal Kensington, Early Chancellor,
Small Mignonne, Noblesse, Nivette,
Anne, Early Newington, 'Catherine,
Royal George, (1 aliunde, - Late Newington.
The best catalogue of peach and nectarine trees is found in George Lindley's Guide to the Orchard and Kitchen Garden, 1830. The author has been at great pains to classify the trees according to the serratures of the leaves, and the structure of the glands on the peduncles.
The peach flourishes in a soil of good meadow earth, or top-spit loam, enriched with vegetable mould, and mulched at top with dung; and in borders trenched twenty inches deep, and made up with the soil thus composed; on this subject, much will be said in the section on "forming a new garden"
Mode Of Acceleration.
Peaches and nectarines grown on the open wall are liable to many casualties, and therefore it becomes extremely desirable to protect the trees more effectually than by mere coverings; and at the fame time to accelerate the ripening of their fruit. Both these objects can be accomplished by adopting a plan now to be described. Let a piece of ground in the proximity of the garden, be excavated about nine inches deep, to admit of the erection of a brick pit twenty-one feet long, and from six to seven feet wide; the front wall should not be more than four flat courses of bricks above the ground-level, exterior of the excavation; which will admit of two courses within it for the foundation. The side walls will slope from the front to the back wall, which should be at least a yard above the exterior level, and thus produce a good bold angle, amply sufficient to carry off water, and obviate drip from the laps of the glass. Four inch' work will be sufficient, even for the back wall, which may be pigeon-holed, six courses high. Six lights, supported by rafters let into curbs, of sufficient strength, properly glazed with quarries 6 by 4, or 5| by 3£, will complete the erection. A trellis consisting of sloping strips of deal, crossed from end to end, by copper wires made to pass through each slip, nine or ten inches below the glass, will be required for the purposes of training. The ground inside, and to border outside the front wall should be trenched eighteen inches deep, and filled with soft turfy loam, obtained from a sheep-common if possible. The subsoil must be dry, or be rendered so by drainage; and all water which falls on the lights may be carried off to a reservoir by a gutter in front. The aspect should be south by east.
Thus prepared, a good tree, the variety of which is not doubtful, (as the Violet h&tive or Gallande peach, and the Elruge nectarine,) is to be planted in the border, its stem let in through a central opening in the front wall, so that the tree may conform to the slope of the trellis.
The roots being carefully raised and distributed, covered with soft earth, insinuated into close contact with every fibre, then made firm by moderate pressure, and by pouring a copious stream of water on the covering soil, will progress without loss of time, and support a moderate crop of fruit in the following summer. This I proved in 1836, by having moved a young bearing peach in November 183-5.
The operation of forcing, if so it can be called, will commence by putting on the lights in December; and in January applying a strong lining, three feet wide, along the whole extent of the back wall. When the blossom buds swell, tarred deal boards should be put over the lights in the event of frost. Thus maintaining a temperature, without sun, of 50 to 56° by day, and admitting air freely during sun-shine, the growth of the wood and setting of the fruit will be secured. I speak from the experience of three years, confirmed by observing the progress of other trees, which have borne fine crops, almost without exception, for more than fifteen years.
A young tree must, of course, be educated for two or three seasons; but a tree ready for bearing may be moved without danger or loss of time, and ripe fruit, of the highest quality, can be gathered late in July, or early in August. Pruning is very simple; extra shoots are taken off as they appear, but no cutting out in winter is practised, nor till the fruit is set in spring; then, all useless wood is cut back, to a well-placed shoot to serve as a future bearer. Fertility takes the lead before figure in these peach-pits.
OPERATIONS IN THE FRUIT DEPARTMENT.
89. The season for pruning in general approaches, as the blossom buds are now very discernible; therefore prune apricots, peaches, and nectarines, if the blossoms be much advanced: prune also apple and pear trees; vines, gooseberry and currant bushes. It has been remarked, that professional gardeners prune too much, and domestic gardeners too little. The entire removal of dead and cankered wood, and the regular distribution of the branches, are operations of real utility; but it is certain, that many trees have been forced to throw out useless wood, instead of fruit branches, and possibly have been much injured by habitual close pruning.
Plant fruit-trees of all descriptions; but choose open, dry weather.
Remove moss; and destroy insects on the bark of trees, by washing the stems with plain lime-wash, or with the one described in January, at No 49.
Grafting.—Apple and pear trees may bo grafted towards the end of the month, though it is still full early. This is a scientific operation of great nicety, difficult to describe, and hardly to be understood from any mere description. More may be learned by attentively observing one operation performed by a skilful grafter, than by the perusal of twenty pages. However, as the success of grafting depends upon the knowledge of the physical structure of the tree, and of the due insertion of the scion into the stock, the subject will be fully noticed hereafter. .. . . . ..,..-.•. ., It
90. Dig the shrubberies; sweep and roll gravel walks, and grass plats; trim the edges; cut up weeds, and remove them, and all litter to the compost heaps.
Sow in the flower borders, a few hardy annuals.
Parterre flowers for bedding out, should be sown in heat: Verbena venom; Rhodanthe Manglesii: Petunia (varieties) CUntonia; Thunberqia alata, et alba; soak the seeds of the two latter in warm water.
Transplant and divide the hardier herbaceous plants
Hand-fork (in mild, dry weather), the flower patches and borders: if carefully and neatly done, the surface will be made as smooth and level at, after the finest raking, and with less risk of doing injury.
91. The following trees, shrubs, and border plants will, in favourable seasons, be found in flower this month.
Trees and Shrubs.—Apricot, Armeniaca Tidgaris; Peach, Persica; Mezereon, Daphne Mezereum; Bay, Laurus nobilis; LaurusViburnum Tinus.
Perennial herbaceous Plants.—Hepaticas, purple, blue, and white, Anemone hepatica; Lesser Periwinkle, Vincaminor; Polyanthus and lilac Primrose, Primula veris; Primrose, Primula tuharis.
Bulbotis roots. —Winter Hellebore, or Aconite, Helleborus hjemalis; Yellow Crocus, Crocus vernus; Snow-drop, Galanthus nivalis; Daffodil, Narcissus pseudo-narcissus.
THE NATURALIST'S CALENDAR.
February is usually a rainy month;—" February fill dyke;"— there are exceptions, however, of which the years 1827 and 1832 furnished decided examples: the first was brilliantly clear and frosty, for above three weeks of its course; and in the latter fogs prevailed, but scarcely a drop of rain fell. In general, the early part of the month partakes of the character of the latter end of the preceding one; and during the remainder, rain, frost, and thaw succeed each other alternately. The sun has gained so much power, that the thermometer indicates an increase of several degrees in temperature.