Title: Garden and forest. / Volume 7, Issue 319 [an electronic version]
Collection: Garden and Forest
Garden and Forest. Apples at the Midwinter Fair. W HEN I was a boy on an old farm four miles from the shore of San Francisco Bay the apples we grew seemed perfect. We had many varieties, because my father was always putting in grafts of new sorts. We soon discovered, however, that few of the old standard varieties did very well, and many of them very badly.. The Rambo was dull in color, mealy and dry in flavor. Baldwins were often specked and full of dry rot. The sweet apples were less sweet, and the sour apples less sour, so the old folks said, than the same kinds as they remembered them in New England. The best market sorts we tried were Yellow Newtown Pippin, White Winter Pearmain and Smith's Cider. Valley Farms like this have for years produced nearly all the apples that reach the San Francisco market. These large, juicy, but second-rate apples have become known as "California apples." But the products of the real apple country of the state were hardly known, even in San Francisco, until recently, and apple-growing in these hill-districts is likely to be as important an industry as peach-growing at a lower altitude. At the Midwinter Fair displays, in the various county exhibits, the apples have ranked next in number and attractiveness to the oranges. Horticulturists, noting: these collections, are beginning to say that perhaps there is more money in the neglected apple than in any other fruit. "Perhaps," they are saying, "perhaps we can grow these great red mountain apples, fragrant, solid and perfect, and compete in eastern markets with anything from Vermont to the Ozarks." On MAarch I5th I notice in perfect keeping condition apples of the following varieties: Fall Pippin, Rambo, Rome Beauty, Tulpehocken, Yellow Belleflower, Rhode Island Greening. These, and many others that are really but autumn apples on the lowlands, are February and March apples when grown at elevations of from I,500 to 3,000 feet. Judge, then, what firm and perfect specimens of such apples as Lawyer, Hoover, Ben Davis, Golden Russet, Wagener, Grindstone, Virginia Greening, Northern Spy, Esopus Spitzenberg and Yellow Newtowns are now in the displays of these new apple districts. The color is so much more brilliant in these mountain apples than in those from the valley that it is often difficult to determine a variety. In Ben Davis, for example, as grown at an elevation of 2,000 feet, the streaks are of purple, scarlet and gold. Newtown Pippin in such localities often acquires a red cheek on the sunny side of the tree. Baldwin is of a clear, waxen transparency. Winesap is twice as large as the Winesap of the valleys. The first Apples brought to California were of the varieties most popular in the New England, middle and western states in the forties. These were first disseminated in the mountain towns; next in those valley towns that traded most with the mines; lastly throughout newly developed fruit-growing districts, chiefly in the lowlands. Shasta City and Placerville, for instance, had small, though very profitable, Apple-orchards, even earlier than Marysville or Sacramento. Then large orchards were planted along the river-bottoms early in the fifties, and one after another was abandoned, as the channels filled up and the water-table rose, or as floods tore the soil away. In those days people planted Roxbury Russet, Summer Pearmain, Early Harvest, Strawberry, Minister, Maiden Blush, Beefsteak, Jersey Black, Cayuga, Red Streak, Sweet Bough, Grindstone, Hubbardston Nonsuch, New York Vandevere and forty or fifty other sorts, all equally old-fashioned. Sometimes they planted seeds in distant mountain-camps, where grafted trees cost five and ten dollars apiece. Oregon, less of a mining country, early became famous for its apples, and for years supplied the bulk of the San Francisco demands. In I858 the fruit-growers used to send apples to San Francisco in three grades, two sizes for picked apples, and "windfalls or culls" for cooking. These last sold for a dollar a box of forty pounds. Different varieties were seldom kept sepa rate, or, if graded, other than by size, were divided into "red apples" and "yellow apples." The display at the Midwinter Fair emphasizes in every particular the revolution that has taken place in Appleculture. Nearly every one of the pioneer varieties has disappeared from the tables of the leading Apple-growing counties; the best of the new southern and western Apples have taken the place of the old favorites; the hardy Russians and " ironclads," so popular in Canada, Vermont and Minnesota, are not represented; there is no demand as yet for very hardy varieties of any fruit in Calfornia. There will not be any such demand until the settlers attack in earnest the great Pine-regions of the Sierras, where the winters are too severe for ordinary orchard fruits. The time is close at hand, however, when there will be a demand in portions of California for the hardiest varieties of not only the Apple, but also of the Apricot, Plum, Pear and Grape. Apples are shown at the Fair from an old Mormon settlement in Carson County, Nevada, that are remarkable in their way. Here, on the east side of the Sierras, thirty miles from the California line, at an altitude of about 3,500 feet, in a dry, cold climate, are very famous orchards, and seedling Apples quite worthy of testing elsewhere. No larger, better-colored, more highly flavored apples have been on exhibition from any part of California or Oregon. This Sage-brush Apple district is very extensive; for two hundred miles north along the eastern slope of the Sierrasto Lassen, in fact-the pioneers often peddle bushels of apples around among the villages, for a cent a poundapples of the highest quality and free from spot or blemish. So varied and extensive have been the apple displays, that even old Californians note with surprise how important an industry was being neglected. The commercial development of apple-culture on the same scale as that of oranges and prunes, may be expected to date from the Midwinter Fair, and nurserymen are preparing to meet the demand. The most interesting feature of the exhibits, however, is in the California seedling-apples, shown for the first time. There has been no organized effort to secure them, and yet about thirty new varieties have been sent in, all attractive, and some very promising, even when seen alongside such standard varieties as Yellow Newtown Pippin, Ben Davis and Hoover. The Experiment Station of the University of California is securing cions of these new sorts for its orchards. Indeed, it has been collecting Pacific coast seedling-fruits for years, and will soon publish a catalogue that will be of interest to fruit-growers everywhere. The University does not sell cions or trees, but exchanges with other experiment stations and with individuals in many parts of the world. Niles, Calif. I Charles H. Shhinn. Exotic Trees and Shrubs for Florida Gardens.-V. IBURNUM TINUS (Laurestinus) is a pretty evergreen shrub from southern Europe. It grows luxuriantly in a half-shady moist position. The ovate-oblong leaves are somewhat hairy and of a dark green color. The flowers appear in flat corymbs at the ends of the branches, and are delicately scented. To make dense specimens, pruning is necessary, and this should be done in early spring. The Laurestinus under good culture attains a height of from eight to twelve feet. In Florida it flowers from November to March. It needs fertilizing and a heavy mulching. V. odoratissimum, a native' of China and the Khasia Mountains, excels V. Tinus in beauty. The leaves are large, elliptic, acute and glossy green. Its habit is dense and very ornamental, and it reaches a height of ten to fifteen feet. The flowers, which are white and sweetscented, appear in dense corymbs in May. The lower branches rest on the ground if left to themselves. I have never seen this shrub in the gardens of Florida, although it is frequently seen in New Orleans and Mobile. Mr. J. P. Berckmans writes me that it grows well in all parts of Georgia and Florida. Under the name of V. Awafuki, I 132 [NUMBER 319.