- Transcriber's Note A quincunx is a geometric pattern consisting of five points, four of them forming a square or rectangle and a fifth at its center. It forms the arrangement of five units in the pattern corresponding to the five-spot on dice, playing cards, or dominoes. -
HANDBOOKS OF PRACTICAL GARDENING—XI EDITED BY HARRY ROBERTS
THE BOOK OF PEARS AND PLUMS
THE BOOK OF PEARS AND PLUMS
BY THE REV. E. BARTRUM, D.D., F.R.H.S.
RECTOR OF WAKES COLNE, ESSEX EDITOR OF "HELPFUL HINTS FOR HARD TIMES," ETC.
WITH CHAPTERS ON CHERRIES AND MULBERRIES
JOHN LANE: THE BODLEY HEAD LONDON AND NEW YORK. MCMIII
Printed by Turnbull & Spears, Edinburgh
I have grown pears, plums, cherries and mulberries for many years, and have written many articles about the first two fruits; yet, in preparing this work, I found that I had still much to learn, and I wish particularly to express my obligations to the new edition of Thompson's Gardener's Assistant, edited in six volumes by Mr Watson, Assistant Curator of the Royal Gardens, Kew, and brought out by the Gresham Publishing Company. I have also derived valuable aid from the volumes of the Royal Horticultural Society. The chapter on "cherries" is based chiefly on the booklet contributed by Mr G. Bunyard to my Helpful Hints for Hard Times published by the S.P.C.K.
E. B. WAKES COLNE RECTORY, ESSEX, July 1902.
HISTORY OF THE PEAR 1
SITUATION AND SOIL 3
STAKING AND WIRING 7
STOCKS FOR PEARS 8
ORCHARD TREES 10
COLUMNAR TREES 14
HORIZONTALS ON WALLS 15
FAN-SHAPED TREES 16
PRICES OF TREES 22
GARDEN ORCHARDS 22
PEARS FOR A PRIVATE GARDEN 24
EXHIBITION PEARS 24
COOKING PEARS FOR EXHIBITION 26
PEARS FOR APPEARANCE 27
PEARS FOR QUALITY 27
COOKING PEARS 28
EARLY PEARS 28
LATE PEARS 29
PEARS FOR COTTAGERS AND SMALL FARMERS 29
PEARS FOR PERRY 32
GATHERING AND STORING 32
PROTECTION OF FRUIT 33
WINTER AND SPRING WASHES 34
INSECT ENEMIES 37
THINNING FRUIT 43
SUMMER, WINTER, BRANCH AND ROOT PRUNING; LIFTING 43
MARKETING AND PACKING 44
PEARS IN AN UNHEATED ORCHARD HOUSE 46
OLD STANDARDS 51
AMERICAN PEARS 51
NOTES ON VARIETIES 52
WHAT IS THE FINEST FRUIT? 58
ORIGIN OF THE PLUM 58
SOIL AND SITUATION 58
PROPAGATION AND STOCKS 61
WHAT IS YOUR OBJECT? 62
PLUMS FOR A PRIVATE GARDEN 63
PRUNING AND TRAINING 66
MARKET PLUMS 70
GATHERING, PACKING, MARKETING 72
STORING AND KEEPING 74
INSECT ENEMIES 75
ORCHARD HOUSE 77
IMPORTANT POINTS 78
DRYING BY EVAPORATION 78
PLUM JELLY 82
"KEEPING" FRUIT, SUITABLE SOIL, ASPECT, SORTS RECOMMENDED BY R.H.S. AND MR BUNYARD FOR EATING, COOKING AND MARKET, PROTECTION, PRUNING, TRAINING, CHERRIES ON WALLS, INSECT ATTACKS, DISTANCES, MANURES, MARKETING, DERIVATION OF THE WORD 83-88
ORIGIN OF THE WORD, SOIL, SITUATION, ASPECT, SHAPE, CULTURE, PRUNING, TREES IN POTS, USE OF FRUIT 89-91
THE PROPAGATION OF THE PEAR 92
PEAR BLOSSOM (from a drawing by Ethel Roskruge) Frontispiece
BERGAMOTTE ESPEREN ON WALL 17
PEAR—MARECHAL DE LA COUR 25
PEAR—MARGUERITE MARILLAT 27
PEAR—BEURRE DIEL 31
FAN-SHAPED PEAR TREE, ONE YEAR AFTER GRAFTING, SHOWING THE LENGTH OF RESULTING SHOOTS 41
ESPALIER TRAINED TREE CUT BACK FOR GRAFTING—THE GRAFTS INSERTED AND CLAYED OVER 49
PLUM—RIVERS' EARLY PROLIFIC 64
A CHERRY ORCHARD 85
THE BOOK OF PEARS AND PLUMS
HISTORY OF THE PEAR
The Pear is my theme, and a pleasant one it is. Only those who have planted trees, pruned them, watched their growth, plucked the fruits, enjoyed them at almost all hours, seen them on the table month after month as an appetising dish, can fully realise the value of the Pear. A good Pear-tree is like a faithful friend—treat him properly and he will not fail you. Circumstances, as for instance, a late frost, may render him incapable of helping you; he may have nothing to offer you; no doubt he is sorry, but with patience he will do you a good turn.
Pyrus (or pirus), the Latin name for Pear-tree, is the name of a genus of plants belonging to the natural order Rosaceae. Pyrus communis, the wild pear, from which the numerous cultivated varieties have sprung, is found over a great part of Europe and Asia, within the limits of the temperate regions. Its origin is lost in obscurity. The lake-dwellers in Switzerland are said to have stored the fruits for winter use. It was probably brought by the Greeks, possibly by birds, from Asia, and after a time became a favourite with the Romans as well as the Greeks. It is mentioned by Horace, Vergil, Juvenal, and others. Pliny refers to numerous varieties, describing those with special flavours. He tells us that many of the sorts were called after the countries from which they came, such as the Syrian, the Alexandrian, the Numidian, and the Grecian. Thus he mentions pira nardina, a pear with the scent of nard; pira onynchina, a pear of the colour of the fingernail, and others. These last are evidently Greek. Forty or fifty sorts are named in Roman writers, and the Pear was appropriately dedicated to Minerva, the goddess of wisdom.
The Romans no doubt took their pear-trees northwards into Gaul and Britain. The climate of France is so well adapted to the growth of pears, that at one time it was thought all good pears must come from France. I well remember many years ago seeing a garden in this country full of pear-trees, every one of which had come from France. Happily there is no need now to go out of England for the very best varieties. A list published in 1628 by a fruit-grower of Orleans named Le Lectier (there is a new variety called by his name, and probably after him) enumerates 260 varieties. The well known Jargonelle is mentioned in that list. Our Parkinson in 1629 refers to 64 varieties only. Seventy years later we read of 138, and in 1829 of 630 varieties. John Scott, rather famous as a fruit-grower forty years ago, says in his "Orchardist" that he has above 1000 sorts worked upon the Quince Stock. He had studied pomology at the "Jardin Fruitier," the fruit garden attached to the Jardin des Plantes at Paris, and, using his opportunities, learnt all the secrets of Pear culture, and brought them from France to Merriott, near Crewkerne, in Somerset. The last edition of Dr Hogg's "Fruit Manual" (invaluable to the Pomologist), published in 1884, contains the names of 647 varieties. Not a few of these were marked as worthless by the Committee of the National Pear Conference, held at Chiswick in October 1885. The Royal Horticultural Society in their "Fruits for Cottagers and Small Farmers" (1892), selected eight varieties only for eating, and two more for late keepers; four were recommended for cooking or stewing. Fresh sorts are constantly being brought into notice, the result of cross-fertilisation, and we may, I think, congratulate ourselves that British pears in a favourable season are as good as those produced in any part of the world. Let any one who doubts this statement attend a Crystal Palace or any other first-rate Fruit Show; his doubts will soon be dispelled.
SITUATION AND SOIL
These two points are of the greatest importance in successful cultivation. No amount of skill will enable even a clever gardener to grow good fruit in a bad site. Where the land is low and swampy, exposed therefore to frosts more than ground at a higher altitude, the effort would be useless. Stagnant water moreover produces canker, and soon ruins trees. Pears love a deep moist soil, but not water that lies for any length of time about the roots. On a hillside, where the slope is more than gradual, so that in a dry season the upper part suffers from drought, they would be a failure. Trees planted near the bottom and properly protected from winds might succeed, yet they would probably suffer from frost. The slope should not be more than two to three feet in a hundred.
The aspect should be south, south-east or south-west. The Pear is of Eastern origin, and probably retains its Eastern habit in blooming early some time before the apple. It needs more warmth, and more protection.
To plant pears in a north aspect even on a wall is a mistake. Morello cherries are a sure crop, pears a very doubtful one. The wood is not well ripened, and bloom-buds are not often formed. The amount of rainfall is also a matter for consideration. If the soil is light, more moisture will be needed than in heavier land. Heavy clays are not good for pears, yet much may be done to improve such soils, and some outlay may be desirable in gardens and small plantations. Good drainage will be necessary. The ground before planting must be well lifted and exposed to the air; some portions should be burnt and mixed with the rest; decayed vegetable matter should be added in abundance. After planting, when the trees are rooted and growing, the soil should be often lifted with a light fork, or hoed, and the air admitted to the roots. A clayey loam is the best of all soils for the Pear, yet even that may be much improved by exposure before planting, and the use of the fork or hoe afterwards. In sandy or chalky soils, pears will have a poor chance even on the free (or pear) stock, unless the ground has been previously prepared by trenching, and then digging in a good quantity of decayed stable or farmyard manure. Marl or clay from other parts, or turf (chopped up) from a field, may be added with advantage. Generous treatment subsequently in the way of liquid manure will alone make trees in such ground a success. Should, however, the soil be shallow and the subsoil gravel or chalk, trees must be lifted every few years, and the expense in a large garden might be considerable.
The monks in olden days were wont to put slates or large stones below their trees before planting, to prevent the tap-root running into bad soil. In modern gardens a concrete bottom two or three inches thick, sloping towards a drain in front, is sometimes made. Methods must depend on soil and means. A concrete bottom is better than a stratum of stones or brick rubbish. Persons content with a few small trees may lift them frequently or root-prune annually, in which case no special precautions are required.
As the Pear needs sunshine and warmth as well as moisture, it must have protection from cold winds. Walls and buildings are not always to be had. Black Italian or Canadian poplars well planted and rather close together soon form a good shelter; limes (invaluable for bees) quickly make a good fence if encouraged to throw shoots from the lower part of the tree and closely cut in. Hedges of damsons or the myrobalan (the cherry plum) serve as shelters from the wind and grow rapidly. This cherry plum blooms early, and its flower is often cut off; otherwise its fruit (ripe in August) is useful for tarts. Protection is needed on the south-west against the winds as well as on the north-east. The larger trees should be placed at some distance that their roots may not absorb the nourishment needed in the fruit garden.
seems a simple subject, yet the difference between good and bad work may make the difference between success and failure. Proper planting is of vital importance. The ground should be prepared beforehand. If it is wet, and the water does not readily pass off, drainage is essential. The depth of the drains must depend on the outfall. If they can be sunk three or even four feet below the surface, they are less exposed to danger from deep trenching or the roots above them. The drains should be about five yards apart. The soil should then be well trenched and exposed thoroughly to the action of the atmosphere. But beware of opening holes some time beforehand. Should rain come, the holes will be filled, and if the soil is heavy, may remain there for some time. Abstain, too, from planting in wet weather. If the ground is sticky, the roots will not have free play. Should the soil be light, well-decayed manure may be dug in, especially if it has been well mixed some time beforehand with turfy or good loam. In strong soil, no manure is needed. When the trees arrive, do not unpack them until you are ready to plant. Exposure of the roots to the air should be avoided as much as possible. If delay occurs from rain, frost, or any other cause, put the roots in the ground, laying the trees in a slanting position in a trench, and covering the roots thoroughly with soil. Choose, too, a sheltered position in the garden for the trench. Should the ground be hard from frost, do not unpack the trees; keep them under cover, and protect them as far as possible from cold and frost. When the ground is fit and the weather favourable, open the earth 2 to 3 feet across at a depth of 12 to 18 inches according to the class and size of the tree and roots. Carefully examine the roots. Cut off the points of any jagged or torn roots cleanly with a sharp knife, and shorten all downward and coarse roots. Cut on the under side, and towards the outside, so that the tree may lie flat. Avoid any injury to the rootlets. The aid of a lad will be useful to hold the tree in its place while the gardener is planting. Spread the roots and rootlets carefully out with an upward rather than a downward tendency. Then scatter fine soil amid them, shaking the trees occasionally, adding more soil until it stands erect. Now tread in the soil firmly, and fill up the hole with fresh soil, raising the earth several inches above the ordinary level. The soil will sink after a time, and occasionally more soil may be added subsequently. But deep planting should always be avoided.
With pears on the Quince, it is important that all the quince stock should be covered by the soil, as it suffers in dry weather if exposed, and the fruit would therefore be affected. All buds on this stock should on this account be inserted as near the ground as possible. Should the soil be very heavy, yet pears must be planted, place the roots almost on the surface, and throw the lightest earth obtainable round the stem. If such ground is trodden down hard, and rain should soon follow, the ground would probably become like a brick, and the roots, kept in check, would suffer seriously.
The best time for planting is towards the close of October and in November. Select your trees yourself, and go only to first rate nurserymen for pears if you want varieties on the Quince stock. Each nursery has its specialty. Budding, grafting and double-grafting on special stocks do not always have the attention and skill required. If you cannot go, send your orders early, so as to secure an early choice and good trees. Planting may continue to the end of February, but you must not expect good trees for late orders. The roots, too, make some progress even in winter, so that early planting is preferable in every way.
STAKING AND WIRING
Standards should be attached to a round, strong, stout stake 2-1/2 inches thick or more, as soon as planted. The best plan is to have the stake in position ready for the tree. For full sized standards, the stakes should be 7 to 8 feet long, and driven 18 inches or more into the ground; they should be in the centre of each hole. Choose durable wood, as far as possible. A straw or hay band, or a piece of bagging, should now be run round the stem, and the stake attached to it by thick string or cord well tarred. The twigs of the willow (soft and strong, especially the golden willow) may also be used. Protection against rabbits must be provided at once. A wire fence round the orchard or garden is best; where there is no fence, put a yard of wire netting (1-1/4 mesh) round each tree. This will last for years. The wire should be 3 feet high at the least. Examine your fence every year in September and repair. You cannot be too particular. Serious damage may be done in a night.
STOCKS FOR PEARS
The discovery of the Quince Stock, as adapted to the Pear for budding or grafting upon, has added immensely of late years to the popularity of this valuable fruit. The discovery, it is true, is not a new one. Merlet, writing in 1667 (says Mr Scott), recommends the Portugal Quince as stronger and more favourable for working pears upon than any other variety: "It swells equally fast with the graft, which none of the other sorts do." Le Gendre, an author of about the same date, in Le Maniere de cultiver les arbres Frutiers, says: "I have been much aided by the invention of grafting the Pear upon the Quince," and adds that he was one of the first who helped to introduce this method. By this discovery the well-known saying: "Plant pears for your heirs," must give way to another:—
"That those who plant pears Grow fruit for their heirs Is a maxim our grandfathers knew; But folks have learnt since, If you graft on the quince The fruit will develop for you."
This stock checks excessive growth, and brings the tree into early bearing. It is not adapted for large standards nor for light soil; in good pear ground it is simply invaluable. Sometimes poor results occur, but the failure is usually caused by the want of proper care, either at the nursery or in the garden. Young trees are often overworked. Some varieties will not thrive on the quince stock, so that double-grafting has been introduced. Thus the strong-growing Beurre d'Amanlis is grafted on the quince, then two years after some other sort is grafted on it. It is said that in this way Gansel's Bergamot is made "a marvel of fertility," but this is not my experience! The disappointing pear Marie Louise is usually double-grafted, so is that excellent late pear Josephine de Malines for cordons, bushes, or pyramids, and so are many others. Strong-growing varieties like Vicar of Winkfield, Beurre Hardy, Beurre Clairgeau, Marie Louise d'Uccle, and others, are used as intermediate stocks. To check the vigorous Pitmaston Duchess, the weakly Winter Nelis is employed as an intermediary. Our chief nurserymen are studying the habits of each pear which needs double grafting, and failure is rare on their part. Fruits grown on the Quince Stock are often more highly coloured, and not so coarse as such as are on the Pear Stock. Those who have a good pear soil then should plant no tree on the Pear Stock, except in an orchard.
The varieties usually employed are the Portugal, the Angers, and the common Quince. The Angers being compact, prolific, and easily increased, is said to be the favourite.
In some soils Pear Stocks must be used. The Quince would not thrive; it is not strong enough. The latter is surface rooting, it emits more fibres, and does not rejoice in the tap-root of the Pear Stock. But for light and unfavourable soils, and also for large standards, the Pear Stock alone will suffice. This is often called the Free Stock, as compared with the dwarfing Quince. In former years the seeds of the wild pear were used to raise new stocks, but at the present time pear seedlings are sent from France to England and the United States in large quantities. Our cousins, however, are exerting themselves earnestly to improve the pear, and with their energy and variety of climate, will not long be dependent upon France.
In good soil and a favourable, well-sheltered aspect, standard trees on the pear stock may be a success if planters and owners can wear the cap of patience for eight to ten years. Should it be probable that cattle will use the ground, a strong and lasting fence must be put round each tree, as thorns encircling them will not suffice. Iron fences made for the purpose, with wire netting added at the top, may be the cheapest in the end. Otherwise, put three posts (larch or oak) to form a triangle round the tree. These should be well charred or tarred at some distance from the lower end before being firmly driven in. The tops should slant outwards. Then nail cross-pieces to the posts; old railway-sleepers are sometimes cheap and useful. The standards in good soil should be thirty feet apart or more. It is a mistake to allow the grass at any time to grow under the trees. Moisture which pears require is absorbed, and the air is kept from the roots. Reduce the branches after planting (in October or November) to five or six at the most; cut these back to an outer eye, six to nine inches from the stem. The roots will establish themselves for the first year, and good growth will usually follow. The strength of a tree depends mainly on its roots. These must not be overtasked at first, or the tree will suffer seriously. Next year, late in July, cut back to the sixth leaf all shoots springing from the main branches which run inwards; keep the centre open, well exposed to the light, sun and air, and allow the main branches to develop themselves freely. In the winter cut all shoots not needed back to two or three eyes. If more boughs are needed, shorten the leading shoots, always cutting just above an outer eye. Make the tree as even as you can by shortening leading shoots on opposite sides. Never allow boughs to cross or to interfere with one another. If boughs are void of a fair proportion of shoots and spurs, they should be stopped. Be careful to admit the sun fully on the south side. Cut off all shoots springing from the central part or on the lower part of the branches of old standards. If young standard trees are well planted, carefully fed and pruned, the stems kept clear of weeds and grass, they can be brought into comparatively early bearing. Where irrigation is possible, let a stream of water that has flowed some distance over the ground be turned in dry weather on to their roots, or let liquid manure be given after rain; the effect will be surprising. But beware of very cold or stagnant water!
Early pears are probably the most profitable for orchard planting. The following are reliable:—
Six Market Orchard Standard Pears selected by Messrs Bunyard: Hessle, Fertility, Williams' Bon Chretien, Beurre Capiaumont, Durondeau, Pitmaston Duchess.
Messrs Rivers' list of seven: Beacon, Bon Chretien, Clapp's Favourite, Fertility, Conference, Marie Louise d'Uccle, Vicar of Winkfield.
The list of an eminent firm in the south is as follows:—
Bon Chretien, Hessle, Pitmaston Duchess, Louise Bonne of Jersey, Emile d'Heyst, Marie Louise. At the Pear Conference (R.H.S.), 1885, Bon Chretien had 50 votes, Louise Bonne 46, B. Capiaumont 38, Hessle 30. Thus, William's B. C. has 4 votes, Hessle 3, Pitmaston 2, Fertility 2. Personally, I prefer Pitmaston as a bush, the fruit being so large. It is a pear for a good market, not a coster's fruit. Ten trees of three varieties would make a good orchard. Vicar of Winkfield or Verulam might be added for a later Stewing Pear. The bloom of Marie Louise is so tender that I prefer Marie Louise d'Uccle, a very good cropper; the fruit is sometimes sold as Marie Louise. The list of 1885 is hardly up to date. Louise Bonne does not do well with me as a standard, and I should substitute Fertility. Clapp's Favourite is also very promising.
If the plantation is of any size, do not put two trees of the same variety close together. Some varieties are self-sterile, yet quite capable of cross-fertilisation from the pollen of other varieties. Bees should be kept close at hand to fertilise the blooms.
The following is Mr Radcliffe Cook's list of orchard standards for Perry (see his "Cider and Perry"):—
Barland, Moorcroft, Red Pear, Taynton Squash, early varieties.
Langland, Yellow and Black Huffcup, midsummer.
Blakeney Red, Butt Pear, Oldfield, Pine Pear, Rock Pear, late.
It is said that in France there are more than 1500 varieties of Perry Pears. We must "wake up" and grow the best varieties.
No one should plant high standards except under special circumstances; pyramids are a part of almost every large and good fruit-garden. In moist, strong soils they should be on the Quince Stock. In light soils the Pear Stock alone has a chance. Some trees succeed only as bushes, others can be trained as pyramids. The lists of the leading nurserymen usually refer to the habits of each tree. Buy trees trained as pyramids direct from the nursery. If you prefer maidens (trees one year old) train as follows: In early spring, after planting, stop the tree slightly, and encourage growth; next winter cut it down almost to the stock. A strong shoot from the base must now be made the leader and the central stem. Next winter cut this back to within 18 inches of the ground. The highest shoot next season must be trained upwards by a straight stake; the side shoots will form branches. These in September must be brought (by stakes) into a horizontal position. The stronger must be more depressed, the weaker may be left for another year. Bend into position before the sap sinks. In winter reduce side shoots on branches to two or three eyes. Cut the leading shoot 12 or 15 inches (according to growth or soil) above the branch below it, so as to produce fresh branches. Bend these down as before. As the tree progresses, the leading shoot may be stopped in summer when it has grown a foot, so as to throw out more branches; it may grow another foot upwards by September, and also send out fresh branches. Every care should be taken to keep an upright and straight stem. In summer pruning check the upper branches before the lower, stopping the terminal shoots so that they shall not spread out further than those below them. Stop them when they have grown 8 or 10 inches, removing the top. Any shoots from the branches (laterals) must be reduced to six or seven leaves about mid-June (on young trees), so as to open the tree and concentrate growth on necessary parts, and also to produce bloom-buds. These may form near the base. In winter reduce to two or three eyes. Pyramids on the Pear Stock in strong soil reach a height of 15 to 25 feet, but such trees are hard to manage. Weak growing sorts might be tried. The larger trees would need annual root-pruning (half a side each year) to secure good crops. Train pyramids from the nursery in a similar way, keeping the upper branches in subjection to the lower, taking care to let light into every part of the tree by summer pruning. Pyramids on the Quince should be not less than 10 feet apart, 15 in strong soil with strong sorts (such as Pitmaston Duchess, or Duchesse d'Angouleme); on the Pear Stock in similar soil for strong sorts 20 feet apart. Avoid crowding. Lift or root-prune rather than crowd. Do not plant two trees of the same variety close together. The pollen of a different sort may make each tree more fruitful. Have hives of bees at no great distance to promote fertilisation.
The following are good sorts for pyramids:—
Citron des Carmes (on pear) early, Williams' Bon Chretien, Clapp's Favourite, Marie Louise d'Uccle, Duchesse d'Angouleme, Durondeau, Fondante d'Automne, Beurre Hardy, Beurre Superfin, Marechal de la Cour, Doyenne du Comice, Princess, Josephine de Malines, Beurre Rance.
COOKING PEARS.—Bellissime d'Hiver, Vicar of Winkfield, Verulam.
Others might be added. Some of these also do well as bushes.
are pyramids on a smaller scale, kept well in check by lifting or root-pruning, more like a column than a pyramid. In light soil this work would not be needed. They are adapted for small gardens, and, well managed, may be very useful. Plant from 8 to 10 feet apart.
in the open ground (according to some good growers) are the most economical of space, but I do not care much for them. Train at first from maidens as for a pyramid, keeping one upright shoot and guiding one branch each side in an almost horizontal position. Cut back the leader once a year at first at about 12 or 15 inches from the branch below to one bud just above the buds whence the branches are to spring. From this one bud the upright leader will grow. The branches should be about a foot apart. Stop the topmost in summer (if very strong) to divert the sap into other parts. Stop strong horizontals to strengthen the weak and to promote fruit-buds. Stop shoots on the branches late in June or in July at six full leaves, if the tree is flourishing, but not otherwise. Equalise the sap as far as possible. Espaliers may be bought from the nurseries, saving several years. Plant 15 or 20 feet apart according to ground and tree. Support with rails or stout firm stakes placed 2-1/2 feet from the walk; place the tree 3 inches from the stake on the side of the path. Keep the trees low to prevent shade on the garden; 5 feet is high enough. Prune established trees in July; cutting back fresh shoots (laterals) to six leaves, and opening the tree and fruit to the sun, removing shoots not needed. Reduce to two or three buds in winter; with a small saw cut back large lumpy pieces the growth of years.
HORIZONTALS ON WALLS
should be trained as Espaliers. They are better for a low than a high wall. The branches should be about a foot (four bricks) apart. In some old gardens, enormous Horizontals may be seen with the branches at distant ends turned upwards. The lower branches are horizontal as far as the space allows, then turned upwards. This change checks the sap, lessens luxuriance, and promotes fruit-buds. But there often is excessive growth in the upper parts. These upper shoots must be pruned before the lower. Such trees are called Palmetto Verrier, and are scarcely to be recommended.
are adapted to high walls. Tomatoes or other fruits may be grown below in the vacant spaces. By planting a standard against a high wall, it will soon be covered if fed and duly trained. Cut the tree back as an orchard standard after planting. Keep the boughs well away from each other, 12 inches or more apart. If a wall is shaded with foliage it derives little heat from the sun. Stop the gross upright shoots early in the season to spread the sap, and summer prune in July. Keep the branches close to the wall, and complete pruning in winter. These trees must be on the Pear Stock. The choicest sorts, such as Doyenne du Comice, Beurre Superfin or Diel should be selected for a south wall. Prune the upper parts before the lower. Wires may be placed on the walls 1-1/2 inches out, with an interval of 12 inches or more between each wire.
are of great value, either in a plantation or a garden. In good soil, even those on the quince grow large, and may need root-pruning or moving. In poor soil, with gravel or chalk not far below, bushes on Pear Stock must be moved every few years, and well fed. Rotten manure given in the autumn will attract and feed the roots. Fruit on low bushes is less affected by strong winds. Some sorts do better as bushes than as pyramids; bushes, too, are more under control. A maiden tree after planting should be allowed to grow for a year unchecked, to establish the roots. In winter cut the tree back to within a foot of the ground. In the spring it will throw out vigorous shoots. Select three or four of these, and fix them in position with stakes, removing the others. Next winter cut these back to an outer eye, leaving six or nine inches of each branch from the stem. Other branches will soon follow. Time will be saved by buying bushes from the nursery. Keep these as open as possible, especially on the south side and the centre. Each branch should be a foot apart. Summer prune in July and winter as before. Stop the branches in summer, if growing rapidly, to produce fruit spurs, and in winter cut back to strong wood (to an outer eye). All new wood will thus be feathered during the following year. Some bushes are very diffuse and need much room, e.g. Catillac and Uvedale St Germain. Bushes on quince should be eight to twelve feet apart; strong growers, such as Pitmaston, Duchesse d'Angouleme, Catillac, should be even more in good soil, if root-pruning is not to be practised. The following are good as bush trees:—
Dessert Pears.—Doyenne d'Ete (very early), Beurre Giffard, Jargonelle, B. d'Amanlis, Doyenne Boussoch, Louise Bonne, Pitmaston Duchess, Emile d'Heyst, B. Diel, Forelle or Trout Pear, B. Clairgeau, Winter Nelis, Josephine de Malines, Passe Crassanne, Easter Beurre.
Cooking Pears.—Catillac, Uvedale's St Germain, Verulam (more compact), Bellissime d'Hiver (grows like a cypress). Others might be added. Some of these do well also as pyramids.
oblique or diagonal, on one stem only, are my favourites. The finest fruit can be grown on them even in the open, if the situation is good and well protected. They are usually placed against a wall, but they also do well on wires. These should be put near a path about 18 inches or 2 feet away, and 2 to 3 feet should be allowed the other side. If the wires run N. and S., the best fruit will be on the S. side. E. and W. is a better aspect, but both are good if there is shelter. On a wall, S. or S.-W. is best. Plant single cordons in good ground, they will soon grow and bear. Double-grafted trees are dearer, yet cheap. All in such soil should be on Quince. On chalk or gravel soils they must be on the pear or free stock. Older trees cost a trifle more, but never buy old trees. Old trees are like old folks, they rarely transplant well. Avoid horizontal or double cordons. The former are too near the ground, and often in the gardener's way. The latter are not so manageable as single stems. Sometimes single stems fail from various causes; they can be easily removed, and a fresh tree substituted at little cost. In a year or two the new tree, if not cropped at first, may begin to do well and bear fruit. Plant 18 or 20 inches from each other at an angle of 45 deg.; when the tree reaches the top wire, train it onwards. After a time, this wire may be crowded; then a tree here and there may be allowed (as a single stem) to go upwards. But root-pruning (half a side only) each year will keep gross growers in check. Stop the tops of strong growers of any size after planting to produce fruit buds, and always remove blossom buds at the top. All varieties do well as cordons; the most tender should be planted in the best protected and warmest spot. The wires (galvanised) should be stretched from iron posts, the latter strengthened with stays. Bars of iron perforated, flat, and light, 6 or 7 feet apart, should keep the wires in position. The lowest wire should be about 18 inches from the ground, the wires above at least 12 inches apart. Six feet is a sufficient height for the top wire. Otherwise the garden is shaded and the trees require a ladder. Oak posts 7 to 8 feet long, 4 to 5 inches through, tarred or charred at the bottom, are perhaps cheaper at first. These also require stays. In three or four years the wires are almost covered, and good crops in a fine season follow. Leave openings at intervals for gardeners to go through.
(with a cordon on each) may also be formed over paths and wires stretched from one to another. But beware of bringing them very near to each other. Sun and air are essential to success. A shoot allowed to run along a high horizontal wire will often bear fine fruit. Walls too should be covered with cordons rather than horizontals. Double the crop is often secured in half the time. Visitors to the Chiswick Gardens of the R.H.S. may see a large number on a high wall bearing in a hot gravelly soil good fruit. The treatment of all such trees is simple. If against a wall and on light soil, they must be fed well. Stable manure should be given in the autumn and left to decay; liquid manure when the fruit begins to swell. Summer prune in July, pinching or cutting new growths back to the sixth leaf, reducing these in autumn to two or three eyes, but leaving fruit buds untouched. Root prune when necessary in late October or November. In winter, look over the trees, see that all are tied properly, reduce with a small saw any large lumps of wood formed in the course of years, and prepare the trees for spraying or washing.
PRICES OF TREES
The cost of Standards is usually from 1s. 6d. to 2s. 6d.; Maidens or Yearlings 1s. 6d. each, 12s. per dozen; Bush and Pyramids on Pear or Quince 1s. 6d. to 3s. 6d.; cordons, 1s. 6d. each, 12s. per dozen; double-grafted trees 2s. 6d. to 3s. 6d.
Bush trees on the Quince are best for these. They come soon into bearing, are interesting and sometimes profitable. Heavy fruits have a better chance than those on standards or on pyramids. These latter require more time, and are more exposed to the wind. Pyramids can soon be converted into bushes by cutting out the central branch within 2 or 3 feet of the ground. Begin by enclosing your orchard with a wire fence, then form a hedge of damsons. Plant your pears 8 to 12 feet apart. Keep avenues open for the transit of manures; one hard path or road may be very useful. Use intermediate spaces for other crops while the bushes are young. As crops cannot be expected every year, grow gooseberries, strawberries, currants, salads, etc., in a large plantation. Trees of the same variety should not be planted next each other. Pollination is often promoted by a different variety being close at hand. The following are reliable and saleable:—Beacon, Clapp's Favourite, Bon Chretien, B. d'Amanlis, Souvenir du Congres, Louise Bonne, Fertility, B. Hardy, D. du Comice, Durondeau, Pitmaston Duchess, B. Diel, Josephine de Malines, and (cooking) Verulam. No one growing for market should plant all these sorts except in a large plantation, a first rate soil, and a well sheltered position. For market only take Bon Chretien, Amanlis, Fertility, Durondeau, Pitmaston Duchess, Josephine de Malines, Verulam. Bon Chretien does not suit every soil. Clapp's Favourite might be better. Fertility, Durondeau and Pitmaston are a good three; Hessle, Beacon and Fertility, if earlier pears are desired.
The artificial manures recommended by the R.H.S. are as follows: 4 oz. of Basic slag and 1 oz. of Kainit per square yard (as far as the roots extend) in the autumn; follow these in February or March with 2 oz. of superphosphate and 1 oz. of sulphate of ammonia. Liquid manure stimulates growth of wood, roots and fruit. Soot (1 peck to 30 gallons of water) allowed to stand till the liquid is clear, given once or twice a week, is very helpful. Every fruit-grower should have a good supply of some kind at hand. Not a drop from his stables, etc., should be wasted in summer. In a drought it may save his trees.
But rank or fruitless trees of any age, as a rule, need no manure. If there is a heavy crop, feed well when the growing season is over. Pears are gross and thirsty feeders. Messrs Rivers recommend "that a peck of soot should be strewed on the surface in a circle 3 feet in diameter round each (dwarf) tree in March. Pears on the Quince in a light, dry soil should have the surface round the tree covered during June, July and August, with short litter or manure, and in dry weather be drenched once a week with guano water (1 lb. to 10 gallons), and equal parts of soot, which must be well stirred before it is used. Each tree should have 10 gallons poured gradually into the soil. Lime rubbish or chalk should be added wherever there is any deficiency." If it be possible, in dry weather allow a stream of water to flow by their roots, or in any case give liquid manure. The roots should never be dry; cracking often follows rain just after a drought if the roots are dry. Soot is a safeguard against insects, and is supposed to give colour. Dr Griffiths (in "Special Manures for Garden Crops," p. 101) says: "Nitrogenous manures are requisite for backward, potash and phosphates for forward trees; the former aids growth, the latter develops bloom, the sugar in the fruit, and the ripening of the wood. Pear trees are aided by a manure containing four parts (by weight) of kainit and one part of superphosphate—4 lbs. of this mixture to be given in the spring to each tree after pruning. If the trees are backward, water once a week with a solution containing 1 oz. of nitrate of soda to 2 gallons of water." If basic slag and kainit are given, autumn is the time, as their action is slow. Nitrate of soda is good on hot, dry, and chalky soils.
PEARS FOR A PRIVATE GARDEN
If the space is small, try cordons or bushes. If three are enough, Fertility, Pitmaston, Josephine de Malines; if six, add Durondeau, Bon Chretien, Comice; if nine, add B. Hardy, B. Superfin, Verulam; if twelve, B. d'Amanlis, Louise Bonne, B. Clairgeau; if fifteen, Jargonelle, Clapp's Favourite, B. Diel; if twenty, Doyenne Boussoch, Marie Louise d'Uccle, Marechal de la Cour; if twenty-three, Glou Morceau, Winter Nelis, Passe Crassanne; if twenty-six, Comte de Lamy, Dana's Hovey, Thompson's; if thirty, Doyenne d'Ete, Emile d'Heyst, Baronne de Mello, Easter Beurre or Olivier de Serres.
Size is of importance as well as perfection in every point. Coarse pears of inferior quality rarely win. Choice must depend on the time of year when you compete. The same fruits cannot be sent to several shows; they are certain to be bruised and to suffer in some way. The following are the chief pears for exhibition:—
August and September.
Beacon. Souvenir du Congres. Flemish Beauty. Clapp's Favourite. Bon Chretien. Marguerite Marillat.
September and October.
B. d'Amanlis. Bonne d'Ezee or Brockworth Park. Beurre de l'Assomption. Triomphe de Vienne.
B. Hardy. Marie Louise d'Uccle. D. Boussoch. B. Superfin. Louise Bonne.
October and November.
Beurre Alexandre Lucas. Marechal de la Cour. Emile d'Heyst. D. du Comice. B. Diel. Pitmaston D. Beurre Fouqueray. Magnate. Duchesse d'Angouleme. Conference. Durondeau. Marie Louise.
November and December.
Thompson's. B. Sterkmans. Nouveau Poiteau. B. d'Anjou. Princess. Glou Morceau. Fondante de Thirriott. General Todleben. B. Baltet Pere.
Nouvelle Fulvie. Passe Crassanne. Bergamotte Esperen. President Barabe. Olivier de Serres. Easter Beurre. B. Rance.
COOKING PEARS FOR EXHIBITION
December and April.
Uvedale's St Germain. Bellissime d'Hiver. Catillac. Directeur Alphand. Verulam.
Size is the chief point in cooking pears, then equality of excellence. Size is produced by careful culture and good feeding in good soil.
The dates above are only approximate.
PEARS FOR APPEARANCE
Doyenne Boussoch is perhaps the most handsome of all pears, but does not last long. Marguerite Marillat (September) is large and handsome, so are B. Clairgeau, B. Sterkmans, B. Mortillet, Souvenir du Congres, B. Baltet Pere (very turbinate), B. Giffard, B. Hardy, Louise Bonne, and others.
PEARS FOR QUALITY
Much depends on the season, soil and situation. In a cold season, even pears of good quality are only fit for cooking. Thus used, they are often excellent. The sweetest of all pears is Comte de Lamy. Dana's Hovey (of American origin) is perhaps its equal. D. du Comice, B. Hardy, Marie Louise, Josephine de Malines, Winter Nelis, Bon Chretien, B. Superfin, Thompson's, Fondante d'Automne, are among the best. A warm autumn makes a vast difference. B. Diel then becomes first rate, so do Passe Crassanne, Olivier de Serres, Bergamotte Esperen, B. d'Anjou, B. Sterkmans, and others.
Growers should keep in mind that dessert pears often cook well if gathered before they are ripe. Stewed pears are excellent food in every way; pears that do not ripen well can be utilised thus. There are special sorts pre-eminently good. Verulam and Bellissime d'Hiver, very fertile as bushes or cordons, keep and cook well. Catillac and Uvedale's St Germain are very large, the latter often enormous; the fruit sometimes exceeds 2 lb. if the tree is well fed. The two last are spreading as bushes, but do well as cordons. Bellissime d'Hiver was the favourite C. pear of the famous Dr Hogg. Vicar of Winkfield is also good, but not so lasting. Cooking pears should begin in September and last until April. B. Clairgeau is regarded by the R.H.S. as a cooking pear. It is free-bearing and handsome, but not lasting. Directeur Alphand (new) is described as very large, but needs sun to ripen.
These are not important (except for sale), as so many fruits of other kinds are usually abundant. Doyenne d'Ete is the first in. Double-grafted on the Quince, it is very fertile. Next comes Citron des Carmes, a great French favourite. The fruit of this is said to be fine when the tree is double-grafted. Crawford, a favourite Scotch pear, is regarded as its superior north of the Tweed. Jargonelle is also a Scotch favourite, especially in Perth, where every vacant wall space is said to be soon occupied by this pear. It is grown, too, as a standard on the free stock, but does not love the Quince. If double-grafted, the leading shoot pinched as well as the side shoots two or three times in the season, it will bear well. Beacon and B. Giffard are also August pears. Later on come Clapp's Favourite, Bon Chretien, and many others. Early sorts should be gathered before they are ripe. Mr G. Bunyard recommends that early pears as well as early apples should be laid in heaps, covered with nettles or straw, and "sweated," to improve their appearance. They are said to colour well treated thus.
Are often worthless until they are in the kitchen; yet a warm autumn makes some of them delicious. The best of all is Josephine de Malines. The tree does well as a standard or bush, and the demand for the fruit is sometimes great. With care it will last to March. Next comes Winter Nelis, not so hardy; then follow Nouvelle Fulvie, Madame Millett, Passe Crassanne, Olivier de Serres, Easter Beurre, and B. Rance. A new sort, President Barabe, has received a First Class Certificate from the R.H.S. Late varieties must be allowed on the trees as long as possible, and be well protected from birds. Great care must be taken in handling and storing. Bruised pears soon rot.
PEARS FOR COTTAGERS AND SMALL FARMERS
The following were selected in 1892 by the R.H.S. on the advice of forty experts: for eating, Jargonelle, Bon Chretien, B. d'Amanlis, Louise Bonne, Durondeau, Marie Louise, D. du Comice, Pitmaston Duchess; for cooking, B. Clairgeau, Catillac, Uvedale's St Germain, Verulam. But Marie Louise is a poor and uncertain bearer.
When fruit trees have numerous names, they certainly are popular, probably good.
Passe Colmar has twenty-eight, chiefly French; grown in a rich warm soil it is a first-rate dessert pear (November). The tree is vigorous and makes a good pyramid.
B. Diel has thirteen: among the French it is Beurre Magnifique. It requires a good season here.
Uvedale's St Germain (Belle Angevine of the French) has twenty-two, chiefly French. Yet it was raised in 1690 by Dr Uvedale, a Schoolmaster of Eltham in Kent.
Windsor, a very old English pear, mentioned in 1629, yet of French origin, has eleven. The fruit is large and greenish-yellow, flushed, but soon becomes dry and worthless. In good soil it grows and bears well (August).
White Doyenne has fourteen, a fairly good September and October pear, rather large, a good bearer, "flesh white, but somewhat acrid and gritty" (Barron).
Vicar of Winkfield has twelve. A long large fruit often twisted, fairly good for baking, from November to January, "second rate" (Barron).
B. Rance has six. A long, largish, late pear, sometimes very good.
Wardens, a name given to pears which never melt, are long keeping, and used for cooking only. The name comes from the Cistercian Abbey of Warden in Beds. Parkinson's Warden is now Black Worcester. There are Spanish, White and Red Wardens.
Bishop's Thumb was originally called Bishop's Tongue, It was a favourite in 1690, and is still a favourite. The tree is hardy and a good bearer, the fruit long, firm, melting, sweet (October, November).
Brown Beurre has ten; an old favourite, which requires a wall or very warm site (October).
Chaumontel has nine, requires a very warm climate. Better in Jersey than in Britain.
Easter Beurre has twenty-two, most of them French. Good if grown in good soil and in a good season. It does not grow well on the Quince.
Flemish Beauty has seventeen. The fruit is large and sometimes russetty and flushed crimson; good only when gathered before it is ripe (September and October).
Louise Bonne has seven. Raised at Avranches in Normandy (1788), it curiously is called L. B. of Jersey.
Marechal de la Cour has six, large and good. "One of the finest" (Dr Hogg).
Napoleon has fourteen. "Second rate" (Barron).
Red Doyenne has eleven, chiefly French. The fruit is superior to White D. (November).
Glou Morceau has twelve or thirteen, chiefly French. It is excellent in a warm soil and site (November and December).
PEARS FOR PERRY
Our people are beginning to discover that we can and ought to make as good Cider and Perry as is made in any country. Mr Radclyffe Cooke in his "Cider and Perry" gives the following list:—
Barland. Moorcroft. Red Pear. Taynton Squash.
Langland Yellow and Black Huffcap.
Blakeney Red. Butt Pear. Oldfield. Pine Pear. Rock Pear.
Sixty varieties appear in the List sent to the Pear Conference of the R.H.S., October 1885.
GATHERING AND STORING
Mid-Season and late pears should be gathered in dry weather as soon as they come easily from the tree. Lift gently, and gather by degrees as the fruits ripen, those on south side first. Use padded baskets, and treat good fruits with loving care. Beware of piling a large quantity in one basket, of turning or rolling out instead of handling by the stems. With high pyramids Heathman's combined ladder-steps may be needed. Pears should be put away quite dry in a dark and dry place, where the temperature is as even as outside wooden or other walls, and thatch above can make it. Perfect and fine fruit should be wrapped in tissue or other paper and placed singly on shelves or in shallow drawers or boxes. Boxes are excellent for late fruit. For storing they should be only deep enough to hold one layer of fruit. Scott recommends clean bran, others dry silver sand, to put among the fruit so as to absorb any moisture. The ripening may be hastened by placing the fruit in a gently warmed room, or on hot water pipes in a greenhouse. "Sorts dry and tough carefully ripened in warm drawers or on the shelves of a warm cupboard become deliciously melting and rich. A heat from 60 deg. to 70 deg. is about the proper temperature" (Scott). Fruit pecked, bruised, or injured in any way should be kept apart and got rid of without storing. White tissue paper, glazed on one side, the fruit resting on the glazed side with another sheet on the top, the glazed side downwards, is useful where a large amount of fruit is stored on shelves or trays. Orr's Patent Trays, sold by John P. White, Bedford, are excellent for storing. The trays fit on each other, and single trays are readily moved, so that the fruit on each tray can be examined without being handled.
PROTECTION OF FRUIT
As trees must be protected against hares and rabbits, so must fruit be from other enemies. Birds in some seasons are most destructive, attacking the finest fruit, pecking a piece out near the stalk. Such fruit soon decays. Wasps and blue-bottle flies feast on ripe or injured fruit. Mr Cheal in his "Fruit Culture" recommends that galvanised wire netting be put over the whole ground. This may do for small plantations, not for large, nor for places where the trees rise beyond 7 feet. Many use the Cloister Fruit Protector of perforated celluloid. This protects peaches, apples, pears, etc., from birds, wasps and snails, but the cost is heavy. Muslin bags kept carefully from year to year are good. The fruit rests in them and grows. Nets made in different sizes might be put over bush trees on stakes. They last if kept dry. The gardener, too, should have a gun and use it at dawn and daily. Messrs Bunyard recommend a trap like a lobster pot made by Gilbertson & Page, Hertford, to be baited with soaked bread. This trap takes birds alive. The house-sparrow and the bullfinch are the chief, but not the only, enemies. Robins, hedge-sparrows, etc., might be released. Cut ivy carefully back, and encourage winter nets and sparrow clubs. Frost is another foe. Cordons might be protected by hoops covered with tiffany, Russian canvas, mats, or netting; bushes by nets, mats, etc. A movable coping over a wall is often useful. But if strong colonies of bees are close at hand, they will rarely fail to fertilise some blossoms. In fine intervals bees come out in crowds, and do great good. Queen wasps and wasps' nests should be sought and destroyed. Country children will find them for a small reward.
WINTER AND SPRING WASHES
If the fruit-blossoms survive frost, cold winds and rain, enemies of a different kind await them. It is necessary to spray or wash the trees if these enemies are to be kept at bay.
1. The following mixture is recommended by the Board of Agriculture: "To prepare caustic alkali wash, first dissolve 1 lb. of commercial caustic soda in water, then 1 lb. of crude potash (potashes or pearl ash of oilmen) in water. When both have been dissolved, mix the two well together, then add 3/4 lb. of soft soap or agricultural treacle, stir well, and add sufficient water to make up 10 gallons." As the wash has a burning effect on the hands, the sprayer should wear gloves and be careful. The Eclair hand-spraying pump, supplied by Clark & Co., 20 Great St Helens, E. C., sends a spray like a mist. The cost is about 35s. We have used it for years, and the same firm repairs it well. This mixture with us, though easily sprayed, has not been a great success. If used, it should be applied in February, just before the buds open.
2. The Bordeaux Mixture is used for spraying by some, and is recommended by Messrs Bunyard. It is a good fungicide as well as insect-enemy. The following is the receipt: Sulphate of copper 6 lbs., unslaked lime 4 lbs., water 50 gallons.
Dissolve the sulphate of copper in a wooden vessel, pouring in sufficient water to cover the coarse bag in which the sulphate should have been placed. Attach the bag by means of a string to a rod placed across the vessel, and let it hang in the water. In another vessel add water gradually to the lime until a thick paste is formed; when cool mix the two together in a third vessel, and add water up to 40, 50 or 60 gallons. If the mixture is properly made, a clean knife blade held for one minute in the solution should remain unchanged; if coated with copper, add more lime until no copper adheres to the blade. Stir the mixture constantly while spraying and use it fresh. Spray the trees when the buds are first expanding. Messrs Bunyard (Fruit Catalogue, 1901-2) recommend "6 lbs. of pure sulphate of copper, 4 lbs. fresh unslaked lime, and 22 gallons of water, the sulphate to be put in a piece of sacking or light cloth, and hung by a string from the top of a barrel containing 18 gallons of water, a few inches below the surface so as to dissolve. Then slack 4 lbs. of fresh lime in as small a quantity of water as possible, the water being added very slowly, until slaking is completed; then slowly make up to 4 gallons. When cool, thoroughly stir and strain slowly the milk of lime into the copper solution, stirring well while mixing for another minute or two; it is then fit for use as a winter spray. It should be used when freshly made, (a) Apply before buds start to all fruit trees with the 22 gallons mixture. This can be diluted to a 30, 50 or 60 gallons mixture for spring or summer use. (b) Spray again just as the petals drop with the 60 gallons mixture. If made and applied as above (within ten or twenty hours) it adheres closely to the wood and foliage; treacle need not be added." This adhesion is of vast importance, as lime is abhorred by stem-borers (e.g., the goat and leopard moths) as well as by all insects. The double application of lime is also helpful. In the United States Paris Green is sometimes added, and is no doubt useful; the proportion must be very small.
3. For many years I have painted my trees in winter with the following mixture: one bushel of lime, half a bushel of soot, a quart of paraffin, a pail of cow dung, a pail of clay; melted grease is sometimes added, and the whole worked into a paint and then put on the trees. Treacle might be substituted for the cow dung and grease. This has proved a valuable preventive. The lime and soot gradually falling off, leave the bark clean, and enrich the soil below. But painting is a much longer process than spraying with (1) or (2). Apples have subsequently been sprayed with Paris Green, and pears might also be.
1. The pear oyster scale is very injurious, especially on walls, if not checked at an early stage. The covering of the female is like a small oyster scale, hence the name. Scrape off any rough bark in winter, and apply the alkali or one of the other washes as a preventive. In May and June affected parts might be brushed with 1/4 lb. of soft soap in a gallon of water. Tobacco or lime water might also be applied. Paraffin largely diluted may be used, but is dangerous in excess. Messrs Rivers in "The Miniature Fruit Garden" (p. 144) say: "Washing the parts affected with a mixture of soot, lime and sulphur will remove the roughness and restore the tree to health; the above mixed with skim milk is more enduring." As a believer from experience in soot and lime, I prefer this receipt, if the trees were not washed in winter.
2. The Blister Moth makes brown blisters on the leaves. It may be kept from laying eggs on the tree by syringing occasionally with soap-suds. Spraying with Paris Green just after the fruit is formed will do good. Half an ounce of best paste to 10 or 12 gallons of water, with some fresh lime added, will suffice for small gardens. Spray only in fine weather just after the petals have fallen. Paris Green is arsenic, and may poison bees if used too soon. The sprayer should avoid breathing over the mixture when making it up, should use gloves, work from windward, and not allow any spray to reach his flesh. A second spraying for this and other insects is often useful. Blundell, Spence & Co. (Ltd.), Hull, supply good paste. Price 1/2 lb. 1s., less for larger quantities. See also No. 3.
3. The Pear Leaf Mite causes small blisters on the leaves, but not the tunnels or galleries of the Blister Moth. It winters in the bud scales, and emerges in the spring. If the trees are washed and syringed, the attacks will be lessened. In (2) and (3) collect the blistered leaves as soon as seen, burn them and spray or syringe at once.
Miss Ormerod recommends a dilute paraffin emulsion sprayed over infested leaves. Dissolve 1/4 lb. of soft soap in a gallon of water, add this while boiling to two gallons of paraffin, churn the whole with syringe or small pump for ten or fifteen minutes to make a perfect mixture. For spraying add 12 gallons of water to each gallon of the emulsion. Stir well while spraying, and try the mixture on a branch or two lest it be too strong; if so, add more water. This emulsion is good for the Blister Moth and the Slug-worm.
4. The Slug-worm is so called from the similarity of the larva of this sawfly to a small black slug. The worms feed on the upper surface of the leaves. Dust with quick lime two or three days in succession, or syringe with strong soap-suds and some tobacco water. Clean with pure water in a few days. The paraffin emulsion (No. 3) might also be used. Quick-lime scattered around the roots and forked three or four inches into the soil may destroy their cocoons. But beware of excess. The remedy may be worse than the disease.
Insects that attack leaves will also eat the skin of the young fruits if conveniently placed for them.
5. The Pear Sucker is a jumping plant-louse which early in the season sucks the juices of the tree about the axils of the leaves. They are covered with the exudations of the sap, which often drops on the ground. The visits of the ants should call attention to this pest. Syringe well with soft soap and water, 1/2 lb. to 4 gallons, and add tobacco water. Remove all rough bark (their hiding-places) in winter.
6. The Pear Gnat Midge (Diplosis pyrivora) may readily ruin a crop if unchecked. It is a recent importation among us. Both here and in the United States it is spreading with alarming rapidity. It is a small two-winged fly, with a black body having lines of yellow hair. The female pierces the flower-buds and lays her eggs in them. These soon hatch, and the young tiny grubs eat their way into the embryo fruit, keeping to the fleshy part, leaving the core and seeds alone. The pears turn brown, and then black. Cut them open, you will notice maggots. The fruit bursts or falls, the maggots form silken cocoons in the soil in which they pupate, and remain till the blossoms begin to expand next spring. Mr J. Fraser (editor of Gardening World) has kindly sent these details, and recommends (1) that the injured fruit be gathered and burnt; (2) that two inches of the ground beneath the trees should be taken up and burnt; (3) that kainit should be distributed round the trees in autumn. Kainit is said to keep off wireworm, and is recommended in the United States as a preventive against this pest. I think the mixture No. 2 or No. 3 should also be used, as insects may be deterred by the scent. Lime and soot spread over the ground in winter would probably do good.
7. Weevils devour leaves, buds, young shoots, even the skin of fruit. They feed by night, and may be shaken into a cloth off bushes. Lime and soot may lessen their attacks, either as a wash No. 2 or 3, or spread lightly round the stems, or as a powder over the leaves.
A special bellows for distributing any dry powder (as sulphur, lime, soot, etc.) can be had from De Luzy Freres, 44A Harold Street, Camberwell. The price is 7s. 6d., carriage paid.
As a general rule insecticides should be applied in the evening or after the sun is down. Early and late visits to the trees are best for finding them feeding.
8. Wasps, after a dry spring, may be very numerous. Their nests often hold many thousands. Large numbers may be destroyed thus: place a hand-light upon bricks, make a small hole in the top of this, and over it put a sound and closely-fitting one. Fruit cut open should be thrown beneath the lower light. The wasps often go up through the hole, and do not return. Their buzzing attracts others. Destroy by burning sulphur beneath, or by drowning. A glass destroyer on a similar principle is sold in china-shops. Open-mouthed bottles filled with beer sweetened or water sweetened with treacle will lure many to destruction. Queen wasps in spring and wasp-nests must be noticed and destroyed. Fasten a piece of cloth soaked in a solution of cyanide of potassium (a small quantity dissolved in hot water), and put it in the nest; all the wasps will be killed. Dig out the grubs. This is a deadly poison, and should be handled only by an expert. The emanation from the solution must not be breathed. Tar does almost as well. A nest may be partly dug and flooded at night. A clean wine bottle (half-filled with water) inserted in the place of the nest (the top of the neck level with the surface of the ground) will probably capture all stragglers. Some make a heap of injured fruit and syringe the wasps with nicotine soap, eight ounces to a gallon of hot or cold water. This plan kills quickly, but the fruit no longer attracts. Squibs a half-inch in diameter, three inches long, made of gunpowder moistened with water, one-fourth of flowers of sulphur added, mixed into a paste, wrapped in brown paper, and tied at one end, are good for the work. After dark, light the squib, push the lighted end into the hole, put a sod over, and ram it in to confine the fumes. In a few minutes dig up and destroy the grubs, then fill up the hole. If the nest is high up, attach the squib to a stick, light, and keep it close (while burning) to the entrance. Young gardeners enjoy this squibbing process.
If you wish for fine fruit or a crop every year, trees must not be overworked, especially in their earlier days. Thin whenever there is a large crop, but do not begin too soon, as some fruits are not fully fertilised, and may fall. Never let fruits touch each other. As the fruits mature, give any grub-eaten to the pigs, and use inferior pears for cooking purposes. Grub-eaten fruit must not lie on the ground.
SUMMER, WINTER, BRANCH AND ROOT PRUNING; LIFTING
Summer pruning rests chiefly on the principle that the trees should always be open more or less while in leaf to the sun, the light, and the air. So cut out at any time branches that crowd the tree or threaten to cross other boughs. Cut from below, so as not to tear bark away. Pears do not bleed from being cut. In July, when the growing time is almost over, cut back to six or seven leaves any strong shoots springing from a main branch, or in cordons, from the stem. If they shoot again, they should again be stopped. In late autumn or winter look over the trees, reduce the shoots to two or three eyes, taking care not to remove bloom buds. Early in the summer, and at any time, remove from the trunk and boughs any shoots threatening to crowd or shade the centre. Keep the tree (especially the centre) open to sun and light. Even large standards are improved by summer pruning. Tree-pruners should be used where the shoots are out of hand-reach. Root pruning is also essential in strong soils where trees are too rank in growth and produce wood rather than fruit. Trees of all kinds may be root pruned with advantage in such soils, and also where the lower soil is bad. Open a trench 20, 30 or 40 inches from the stem (according to size of tree) until the coarse roots are reached. One-third the distance from the stem that the trees are in height is a rule suggested by a recent writer. Cut back such roots with a sharp knife; drive the spade under the stem (if possible) to cut the tap roots, and any others going downwards. Open a trench half round one year, and if necessary attack the other half next year. Be careful not to prune too hard at first, or to injure the fibres. Begin in mid-October. If the ground below is very dry, give warm or rain water. Fruit blooms will probably appear next autumn. If young trees grow very luxuriantly, they may be lifted at the end of October with advantage. Cut the tap root and replant at once. Exposure of the roots is dangerous to vitality. Persons who prune their trees only in winter usually grow wood rather than fruit.
MARKETING AND PACKING
Marketing depends greatly on the neighbourhood. Colour, size and quality ensure a sale everywhere, but only a constant supply of good fruit will attract retail dealers or the London salesmen. Poor stuff will not sell at a good market. The early fruits may be sent in flats (with tops) lent by the salesmen. But these are often lost and involve trouble and expense. Non-returnable boxes to contain half a bushel or a bushel are now in use, but such boxes are too large for the better fruits. Californian pears come to us in good condition in boxes containing each a few dozen fruits, each fruit being separately packed in tissue paper. French pears are also sent in boxes evenly graded and packed in one, two, or three layers. Small boxes bought by the gross are not dear. The following list is taken from Watson, vol. v. p. 369.
Gross. Length. Width. Depth. S. D.
11-1/2 in. 10-1/2 in. 7-1/2 in. 32 6 15 " 6 " 7-1/2 " 31 6 15 " 11 " 7 " 50 0 15 " 13 " 4 " 53 6 16 " 8 " 4 " 28 6
In the larger boxes, strong paper should be put round inside to prevent bruising. All fruit, however sent, should be even in size, of good quality, not diseased or bruised. Pears are more attractive when well packed than apples. Placed with their heads against the two opposite sides in two rows with the stems toward each in a box of suitable size, they may be made to fit closely so as to travel safely. The better and later sorts should be bedded in wood-wool and wrapped in tissue paper, white or coloured, with a sheet of paper between each layer, and the whole firmly packed. Loose fruit are sure to suffer. The contents of each box must be made so firm as not to be moved in the slightest degree. The G.E. and other railway companies provide cheap boxes of a suitable size and allow similar boxes also to be used if nailed. They must not be corded. Wire hinges and a fastening in front have been suggested. Nos. 3, 4 and 5 (G.E.R.), 2s. 6d., 3s., and 4s. per dozen are the best sizes. They will hold 18 to 24 fruits. On G.E.R. 20 lbs. can be sent for 4d. to London; 1d. extra is charged for every additional 5 lbs.; delivery is included. Such boxes could be readily stamped with the grower's name. The companies assist growers by publishing the names of those who have produce to sell.
PEARS IN AN UNHEATED ORCHARD HOUSE
With skill and care pears may be successfully grown in an unheated orchard house. They may have apples for their companions, but not cherries, peaches, plums or apricots. The most convenient house is a span-roof from 20 to 24 feet wide, 10 to 12 feet high to the ridge of the roof, and 4-1/2 to 6 feet at the sides. Ventilators should run round the sides 18 inches wide, and hinged at bottom; the top ventilators should be 3 feet wide by 15 inches, 7-1/2 feet apart, on alternate sides of the ridge (Mr T. Somers Rivers, in Royal Horticultural Journal, vol. xxv., parts i., ii.). A good length for this breadth is 50 to 60 feet. A half-inch wire protection over the ventilators and an inner wired door may be as necessary (as a protection against birds), as it is for cherries. There should be a path made hard with clay and gravel through the centre. Some advise a concrete floor; others prefer to plunge their pots inside as well as out. A lean-to house from 6 to 9 feet wide against a south wall may be of great service. Cordons can be grown on the wall, or planted outside and trained indoors, like vines, near the glass. Trees in pots can also be placed there. With either house, some ground to which the trees in pots can be removed when all danger from frost is over is required. It should be warm and well sheltered. Maiden plants may be put into 8 or 10-inch pots in September, and cut back later on, but time is saved by purchasing older trees of nurserymen; 15 to 18-inch pots will be needed in a few years. If there is a concrete floor, the pots must be raised on bricks, that surplus water may pass off. If the pots are plunged, care must be taken that the water can run away. In June take them into the open air, plunge them in the ground within three inches of the rim, to keep them warm and moist, and to protect the trees from the wind. After the fruit is gathered, the trees should as a rule be repotted. Prepare a fresh pot with broken flints, etc., at the bottom, place a piece of turf on them, next a handful of soot, and some fine soil on that. Have ready some new soil made chiefly of good turfy loam, to which old mortar rubbish or road scrapings, wood ashes, guano, and bone-dust have previously been added. The whole should be well mixed. Then take the tree out with a ball of earth, remove the soil all round the ball with a pointed stick, shorten the rootlets around, and cut any coarse roots away with sharp pruning scissors. Place the topmost roots an inch and a half below the rim, then shake this compost among the roots, finally ramming the soil hard down into the pot. In two or three days soak the ball with rain or warm water. The trees are better in the house until re-established. Sprinkle the leaves daily with soft water. Close and keep the house moist. The pots can then be taken out and plunged once more. The house will probably be wanted. They must be carefully protected in severe weather; place ashes, earth, or manure around them. Another plan is to lay the pots on the ground and cover them with mats. Take them back to the house before the buds begin to move. Shape the trees in winter, and summer prune as may be necessary. They require syringing as well as rich feeding when carrying a crop. A mixture of poultry droppings or night soil (half a barrowful) added to the same amount of sifted soil and of wood ashes, with a peck of soot and a peck of bone dust, all made into a compost a few days before use, is a strong surface-dressing. A layer half an inch thick when the fruit is swelling should be given two or three times, and be watered down with a fine rose. Messrs Bunyard recommend cow manure mixed with malt combings, and (as an artificial) sulphate of ammonia.
Liquid manure (not strong nor cold) must also be given two or three times a week. The fruit must be thinned, and the trees never over-cropped. Large trees in 16 or 18-inch pots need the annual renewal of the soil rather than repotting. The flowers should be fertilised by the admission of bees, by shaking the trees in fine weather about mid-day, or by passing a light brush gently over the blooms from flower to flower. Change of diet as well as air, and frequent syringing with clear water (say Messrs Bunyard) are very necessary ("Modern Fruit Culture," p. 23). But a dry atmosphere is best when pear and plum trees are in flower. Syringing in the open air is good for all trees in dry weather after the fruit has set. The following is a good wash to be applied when the trees are brought into the house in January or February. Put a peck of fresh soot into a coarse sack, and hang it in a tub containing 30 or 40 gallons of water; leave it there for eight or ten days; then remove it and throw in half a peck of fresh lime. Mix well, then take off the surface scum. A decoction of quassia made by boiling 2 or 3 ozs. of chips to a gallon of water for twenty-five or thirty minutes (or steeped in soft water for twenty-four hours) added to the above is a useful insecticide. Syringe with this before the buds appear, but not again until the fruit is set, then once a week, or oftener, as occasion may require.
N. B.—Never repot until you have learnt that the ball and roots of the tree are thoroughly moist. Soak the ball, if necessary, for twenty minutes. In surface-dressing leave a space near the tree open, that you may see what water is wanted. Never give strong liquid manure. As severe frosts and dull weather sometimes occur in March when the trees are in bloom, some hot-water pipes (two rows of 4-inch) may be added if means allow. A span-roof house should run north and south. Only the choicest sorts should be deemed worthy of a house, such as Bon Chretien, Souvenir du Congres, B. Brown, B. Superfin, Louise Bonne, B. Hardy, Marechal de la Cour, Marie Louise, D. du Comice, Josephine de Malines, Winter Nelis, Passe Crassanne, Bergamotte Esperen, and others.
Old Standards that have ceased to produce good fruit should be cut down to within a few feet of the stem. The young wood will soon bear better quality. The trunk should be well cleaned and washed.
Wherever possible, irrigation should be applied in dry weather. An aero-motor pump or engine of some kind may raise the water to a tank. It should be allowed to run over the ground for some distance to be warmed and aerated. Apply in strong soil only when the growing season is over.
Labels add greatly to the interest and pleasure of a garden. Acme labels are popular. Those sent out by John Smith, Label Factory, Stratford-on-Avon, are also good. They may be attached by his copper wire, but those of the form of the rose labels with the name affixed at the top of a long spike are less likely to be lost.
The chief pear in the States is the Bartlett, corresponding with our Bon Chretien. A schoolmaster named Wheeler, of Aldermaston (Berks), raised it about 1770. A nurseryman named Williams brought it out. In 1799 one Enoch Bartlett, of Dorchester, near Boston (U.S.), introduced it into America, and now it is cultivated so widely that it is on sale for three or four months in the year, and exported also to England. Seckle, a good October pear, but small, we have from the States; the original tree is said to be near Philadelphia, about 100 years old. Clapp's Favourite (August) comes from Dorchester, Massachusetts; Dana's Hovey, "a veritable sweetmeat" (November and January), also comes from the same State. It is sometimes called Winter Seckle. Most of our good sorts are grown in the U.S., and Californian pears are now coming to us in great quantities. They are sent in wooden boxes, properly graded and packed. Every fruit is in paper, with the name of the grower on it, and the name of the variety on each box. The excellent quality and careful packing ensure a good demand at a high price. Good American sorts are Lawson or Comet, Block's Acme, Sugar Pear, Bloodgood, and others. Our growers may learn a useful lesson from Californian pears in the London market.
NOTES ON VARIETIES
Emile d'Heyst is said to be equal to Marie Louise in quality, to be hardier, and to be a better bearer. It is not a grand grower on the Quince, nor does the fruit keep long (October, November).
Althorp Crassanne is often a first-rate pear. Mr Knight (very eminent a century ago) called it the best of all. It lasts from October to December. The tree is hardy, and a good bearer, but the fruit is hardly large enough for exhibition.
Brockworth Park, almost identical with Bonne d'Ezee, was once a pear of great repute, being large and showy, but the flesh is coarse (November).
B. Bosc is largely grown in Kent as a market pear. It succeeds on a chalky, warm soil. It is sometimes "first rate," Barron (October, November).
Beurre Mortillet (new) (D. G., i.e. Double Grafted) is a large and handsome September pear; gather before it is ripe.
Conference (Rivers), comparatively new, is large, handsome, and a good bearer, but not first rate (November).
Fondante de Thirriott, or Thiriot (new), grows and bears freely, fruit large and good. "First quality," Barron (November and December).
Madame Treyve is a good September pear, red and yellow, in chalky soil. It bears freely, but is not first rate.
Bon Chretien should be gathered gradually before it is ripe, and laid on the shelves. It is said that you must sit up all night to eat it just at the right time.
D. du Comice is regarded as the best all round Dessert pear grown. Marie Louise is tender and unreliable. Thompson's, some think, the best for flavour. It is smaller, and bears best on the Pear Stock.
Marie Benoist is recommended in many lists as a good late pear, but my experience has not been favourable. It is late and large when it bears.
General Todleben is large and handsome, but usually only fit for cooking (October and November).
Princess (new) is a late Louise Bonne, large and good; the tree bears well.
Beurre or Doyenne Sterkmans is a medium-sized, late pear (December, January, February), flushed bright red on one side; "second rate," Barron.
Beurre de Jonghe is a good Christmas Pear, but a slow grower, and needs a wall or orchard house.
Beurre Bachelier is large, handsome, a good bearer, but quite second rate (November).
Hacon's Incomparable is large and handsome, but second rate (November).
Swan's Egg was a popular pear fifty years ago for market, as the tree is hardy, bears well, and the fruit is good, but rather small (October).
Noveau Poiteau is a good exhibition pear, of vigorous growth, and bears well; the fruit is excellent but does not keep well (November).
Pitmaston Duchess is an increasingly popular pear for market. It is very large, and on a cordon often handsome; in warm seasons of good quality, golden yellow when ripe. Bush trees on Quince bear well (October, November).
Duchesse d'Angouleme was a great favourite formerly, the tree growing and bearing well. Fruit often very large, but coarse and gritty. Crossed with Glou Morceau it has given us a child Pitmaston superior to the parents.
Josephine de Malines is pronounced by Mr Barron to be "always good." Hardy, and bears well on Quince (January-April).
Fouqueray is a large, good pear, an improved B. Bachelier (October).
B. Hardy is a great favourite with birds; they prefer and peck the best fruit.
B. Alexandre Lucas is large and handsome; pyriform, the tree is a good grower (October, November).
Triomphe de Vienne is a large and handsome September pear tree (D. G.), grows and bears well, comparatively new.
Marguerite Marillat, a very large, handsome September pear, bears well: comparatively new.
Michaelmas Nelis is a new variety, of which a specimen fruit has just been sent me by Messrs Bunyard. It is as delicious as the Winter Nelis pear (December and January).
RECEIPTS (from Cassell's "Dictionary of Cookery," slightly abridged)
1. To bake Pears.—Rub half-a-dozen large hard pears with a soft cloth. Put them on a buttered baking tin into a slow oven, and let them bake gently for five or six hours. When tender, they are done enough, and are excellent if eaten with sugar. Probably cost 4d. Sufficient for three or four persons.
2. Another way.—Pare very smoothly a dozen large baking pears. Halve them, take out the cores, put them side by side into a well-brightened block-tin saucepan with a closely fitting cover. Pour over as much cold water as will cover them, add the thin rind of a small lemon, a tablespoonful of strained lemon juice, an inch of stick cinnamon, and fifteen grains of allspice. Put on cover, place the dish in a gentle oven, let it remain until the pears are tender, add a little white wine if liked. If such a saucepan is used, no cochineal will be needed. Time to bake six hours. Probable cost 1s. 8d. Sufficient for eight or ten persons.
To Preserve Pears.—Gather the pears before they are quite ripe, pare, halve, core and weigh them, put into a deep jar, allowing 3 lbs. of sugar to every 4 lbs. of pears, and just enough water to moisten the sugar, and to keep the fruit from burning. The strained juice and thinly-pared rind of a lemon and an inch of whole ginger may be put with every 2 lbs. of pears. Place the jar in a saucepan of boiling water, and let the fruit steam gently for six or seven hours. Turn it into jars, and at once fasten these down securely, and store in a dry, cool place. Two or three drops of cochineal added to the pears after they are cooked improve their appearance. Pears preserved thus will not probably keep good more than three or four months. Probable cost 8d. per lb.
Pears Preserved, Red.—If in preserving pears it is wished to give a deep pink tinge to the fruit and syrup, use a perfectly bright block-tin saucepan. If this is not convenient, add three or four drops of cochineal to the syrup or a small proportion of Red Currant or Red Gooseberry juice.
Pears Stewed.—Pare, core, and halve eight or ten good-sized pears, leaving on the stalks or not, according to taste; put them into a tinned saucepan, with 6 ozs. of loaf sugar, 6 cloves, 6 whole allspice, 3/4 of a pint of water, and a glassful of port (?). Let them boil as gently as possible until quite soft but not broken. Lift them out, put them on a glass dish, and when the syrup is cold, strain it over them. Some cream or custard added is a great improvement. Time to stew the pears from two-and-a-half to three hours. Probable cost 1s. 4d. Sufficient for five or six persons.
For Compote of Pears, Pears Frosted and Iced, Pears Pickled, and other such receipts, see same dictionary.
For another method of preserving, see plums.
To Preserve Pears (from an old author).—Pare them very thinly and simmer in a thin syrup; let them lie a day or two in the syrup. Make the syrup richer, and simmer again, and repeat this process till they are clear; then drain and dry them in the sun or a cool oven a very little time. They may be kept in syrup, which makes them more moist and rich, and dried as wanted. Jargonelles are said to be the best for this purpose.
To Bake Pears.—These need not be of a fine sort; but some taste better than others, and often those that are least fit to eat raw are best for baking. Wipe, but do not pare, and lay them on tin plates, and bake in a slow oven. When soft enough to bear pressure, flatten them with a silver spoon. When done thorough, put them on a dish. They should be baked three or four times, and very gently.
To Stew Pears.—Pare, halve or quarter large pears, according to their size; throw them into water, as the skin is taken off, before they are divided to prevent them turning black. Pack them round a block tin stewpan, and sprinkle as much sugar over as will make them pretty sweet; add lemon-peel, a clove or two, and some allspice cracked; just cover them with water, and add a little red wine. Cover them close and stew three or four hours; when tender, take them out, and strain the liquor over them.
 See Cheal, "Fruit Culture," p. 8.
 See an excellent article on Pears in new edition of Thompson's "Gardeners' Assistant," by R. L. C.
 See elaborate account in the "Watson's G.'s Assistant," vol. iv. p. 116.
 See "Miniature Fruit Garden," p. 64.
 See Watson, vol. v., "Storing."
 Hedge-sparrow smaller, duller in colour, eggs bluish green, builds in hedges; house-sparrow, eggs white, with brown spots, nests in trees and buildings.
 John Wright, "Profitable Fruit Growing."
PLUMS AND DAMSONS
What is the finest fruit in the world? The secretary and the superintendent of the R.H.S. (in vol. xxvi., parts ii. and iii. of the Journal of the R.H.S.) agree in thinking that Goldoni, a yellow nectarine raised from a peach by the late Francis Rivers is, when properly ripened, without exception, the finest fruit in the world. It has not been my privilege to taste it, yet I venture to think that a thoroughly ripened plum of one of the best varieties must come near it. The incessant demand for greengages is a testimony to the popularity of the plum as a dessert fruit. Next to the apple, it is the most useful of our fruits.
ORIGIN OF THE PLUM
Eminent botanists are of opinion that our plums and damsons have had their origin in the Prunus Communis found in various parts of Europe and Asia, but others consider that the Prunus Domestica is the parent of the majority. Mr A. H. Pearson of Chilwell, Nott. (v. Journal of the R.H.S., vol. xxi. part ii.), thinks that "the blood" of more than one species is found in the plums of the present day, as varieties closely resembling one another demand different stocks for their well-being when propagated by grafting. The cherry plum is Prunus myrobalana, and of this species there are several varieties, as St Etienne, Mirabelle Precoce, i.e. the Early Mirabelle, Mirabelle Petite, and others. Rivers' Early Prolific is said to be of the same race.
The Bullace is classed by some botanists under the Prunus Instititia, and they place the damson in the same species, but the latter is round, the former oval. The damson, a small plum, may be safely classed with the Prunus Communis. It derives its name from the city of Damascus. Damascena is the word used in Pliny for the district round Damascus, and damson originally meant the Damascus plum. The Chinese have for centuries cultivated plums, and in the United States plums from Japan are coming rapidly into use, and appear to be more successful there than in the British Isles. We find the word prunum, a plum, in Vergil, Ovid, Martial, and other Roman writers. Prunus, a plum tree, is derived directly from the Greek; prunus silvestris, in Columella and Pliny, is supposed to mean the black thorn or sloe tree. These illustrations prove that the plum has been known for ages, and that its value is recognised in every part of the world. Our word plum is plainly derived from the Latin (probably through the Anglo-Saxon), and the word prune is almost identical with prunum.
SOIL AND SITUATION
The plum is not so particular as the pear about soil, yet it has its preferences. It is not so deep-rooting as the apple and pear are; the character therefore of the lower soil is not so important. But stone-fruits require lime. In planting for profit, no site should be selected for a large plantation if the soil is deficient in lime. It is true that lime can be added, but this plan may suit a private garden, not a large plantation for profit. The plum being hardier than the pear will flourish in most soils, even in a heavy loam, but not in light sandy or gravelly soil. In the latter case, something may be done by heavy manuring and frequent removal. The trees in the R.H.S.'s garden at Chiswick are a triumph of skilful culture, as good crops are raised on many trees in a hot and gravelly soil. Some damsons, however, do not thrive there. But such culture is costly. In soils of an intermediate character, much may be done by adding other materials as suggested for pears. If there is any doubt about the amount of lime in the soil, an analysis should be obtained, and special notice taken of the trees in the neighbourhood. The plum (like the pear) will not thrive in a low, wet, undrained locality, nor in one that is very dry or exposed. Drainage is essential to success. If, in a rainy season, water in a clay soil is allowed to remain round the roots, canker or gumming is pretty sure to follow. Excessive moisture is as bad as extreme dryness. The slope of the ground, therefore, is a matter of importance. In Essex there is often land quite level with a heavy clay soil difficult to drain; such soil would not suit plums, though it might suit quinces. The aspect as well as the slope must also be considered. For the better class of plums, i.e. dessert varieties, where sweetness is expected, a position open to the southern sun is best, but they will also thrive if the aspect is S.-E. or even S.-W. Culinary and hardy varieties might be planted in the colder aspects to the N., N.-E. or N.-W. Proper shelter must by no means be forgotten. Bitter north winds may injure the bloom almost as much as frost or rain; strong winds from the E. or S.-W. may do great damage to heavy crops. Mr Lewis Castle in "Plums for Profit" (edited by myself, S.P.C.K.) suggests that "Canadian and Italian poplars make a good break if tall growers are required, but cherry plums, the myrobalan, will grow into a strong hedge in two or three years' time if the height be sufficient." Damson hedges serve a double purpose and afford good protection. He also suggests that some of the ornamental crabs are similarly useful for protection. Of these the Transcendant and Hyslop or Dartmouth produce good crops of lovely fruit which are excellent for cooking purposes and would probably sell well.
PROPAGATION AND STOCKS
The usual method of propagation is by budding and grafting. The stocks on which the different varieties are grafted are raised from stones. Mr Pearson states that six kinds of stocks are used in the best nurseries—i.e. the common plum, the Brussels, the Mussel, the Brompton, the Damas Noir or St Julien, and the Myrobalan. The secret of success is to work the stock with a variety which is of common parentage. Nearly all plums will grow upon the common plum stock, though some of them thrive much better upon other stocks. Prince Englebert and Diamond flourish upon Mussel, but not upon the Brompton. Belgian Purple will not grow upon either Brussels or common plum, but succeeds upon Damas Noir, Mussel, or Myrobalan. The accurate knowledge required points to the wisdom of purchasing trees only from nurserymen who make such trees a specialty.
The late Archdeacon Lea in his excellent book "Small Farms" dwells strongly on the folly of buying cheap stuff. Trees on unsuitable stocks or not true to name bring bitter disappointment after a few years. "Never purchase trees because they are cheap. Visit the nurseries, and pick out trees with clean healthy bark, even though they are smaller than others." If you cannot go or send a reliable man, write in good time and get an early choice. Select and accept only young trees not more than two or three years' old. Budded trees are better than those grafted, as a general rule, the union being better; indeed grafting is usually adopted because budding has failed. In trees that have been budded, there will probably be less gumming.