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Wisconsin State Horticultural Society / Transactions of the Wisconsin State Horticultural Society. Proceedings, essays and reports at the annual winter meetings, held at Madison, Feb. 1, 2 and 3, 1870 and Feb. 7, 8 and 9, 1871
(1871 [covers 1870/1871])

Morrow, G. E.
Production of new varieties,   pp. 26-29 PDF (948.0 KB)


Page 28


28          WISCONSIN STATE HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY.
Here in the northwest, where it is still denied by some that fruit can successfully
be grown, the first points we should seek are hardiness and productiveness.
We
want trees and vines that will live and produce fruit, and these qualities
secured, we
look for excellence of quality as a highly important, but still secondary
considera-
tion. Hence it is particularly desirable here to choose any native fruits
which give
promise of capability of speedy development, as these give us undoubted hardiness
with which to start Our native crabs are probably too far down in the scale
to
make it advisable to attempt their improvement; but among the wild plums
of Wis-
consin there are doubtless some of much value, every way worthy of cultivation
for
their own merit, and furnishing admirable material for experiments with seedlings
or in hybridizing. So too of native blackberries, raspberries, cranberries.
Those
who have observed the difference in the habit of growth, and in the size,
flavor and
time of ripening of the fruit, of canes and vines found growing wild, and
have
noticed the excellence of some of them, will need no reminder that there
are doubt-
less varieties, now neglected in Wisconsin, which, if improved by cultivation,
would
equal in all respects, and surpass in hardiness, any of the now imported
kinds. The
most common method of producing new varieties, and the one by which most
thus
far has been accomplished, is by raising seedlings The time may come, when
we
will be able to predict with some certainty, the kind of tree and the kind
of fruit, to
expect from a given seed, the history of which is known; but now we know
little
about this. We know, however, enough to teach us that the hardiness of the
parent
tree should be considered, and this is a point of practical importance with
us. The
seeds of the most hardy kinds should be sown, and it is reasonable to believe
that
the seeds produced by the seedlings from hardy seeds, will be still more
desirable.
Hybridizing is usually attended, in the case of tree-fruits particularly,
with much
practical difficulty. Most has been done with this process in the case of
the grape.
To the scientific horticulturist, and to the enthusiastic amateur, this plan
is the
most interesting, perhaps, of any method of producing improvement in our
varieties
From it we may hope much in the future. In the work of encouraging the produc
tion of new varieties, and in commending all successes in this field, it
is the duty
and privilege of this society, and of all lovers of horticulture, to engage.
Who can
estimate the value of the Concord grape, and Wilson's Albany strawberry,
or tell
the influence in popularizing horticulture caused by the introduction of
these two
varieties? And yet it is but a few years since we had neither of them. So
we may
expect to have equally marked improvements in the near future. But with the
good
done in this way there is connected an inseparable evil. With the few reall
valua-
ble varieties produced we have many that are either worthless or at best
mediocre.
Many of the latter, and not a few of the former, are introduced to the public
with
such pretenses as to induce large purchases, and consequent disappointment.
There
are those who make it their principal business to introduce novelties, and
who are
not always careful to strictly regard truth in their recommendations. But
it often
is not necessary to suppose intentional deception on the part of the introducer
of
what proves to be only a poor fruit. It is natural that one who has reared
a seed-
ling, or spent years, perhaps, in developing a wild variety, should regard
the fruit
with partial eye and taste, and that he should seek to introduce it to the
public as


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