Gardening Directory


The cultivation of Grapes in the open in our cloudy andchangeable climate cannot be looked forward to with any certainty of success. Two successive favourable seasons are indispensable--one to ripen the wood, and the next to ripen the fruit. Nevertheless, the highly ornamental

foliage of the vine entitles it to a place on our walls, and every facility should be afforded for the production of a chance crop of fruit. The soil most suited to the growth of the vine is a medium loam, with which is incorporated a quantity of crushed chalk and half-inch bones. It should be given a south aspect, and be liberally supplied with water in dry seasons. April is the best time to plant it, spreading the roots out equally about 9 in. below the surface of the soil, and mulching with 3 or 4 in. of manure. Should mildew set in, syringe the vine with a mixture of soapsuds and sulphur. To secure a continuance of fruit, cut out some of the old rods each year as soon as the leaves fall, and train young shoots in their places. Last year's shoots produce other shoots the ensuing summer, and these are the fruit-bearers. One bunch of grapes is enough for a spur to carry. Professional gardeners cast off the weight of the bunches, and allow 1 ft. of rod to each pound of fruit. Tie or nail the bunches to the trellis or wall, and remove all branches or leaves that intercept light and air. The vine may be increased by layers at the end of September. Cut a notch at a bud, and bury it 4 or 5 in. deep, leaving two or three eyes above ground. It may also be propagated by cuttings, about 1 ft. in length, of the last year's growth, with 1 in. of old wood attached, taken the latter end of February. Plant these deep in the ground, leaving one eye only above the surface. Both the Black Hamburgh and Royal Muscadine ripen as well as any in the open. It is under glass only that Grapes can be brought to perfection. Here a night temperature of 55 to 65 degrees, with a rise of 5 or 10 degrees in the day, should be maintained, the walls and paths damped once or twice a day, and the vine syringed frequently until it comes into bloom, when syringing must cease, and a drier atmosphere is necessary; the moisture being reduced by degrees. As the grapes ripen, admit more air, and reduce the heat, otherwise the fruit will shrivel. After gathering the grapes syringe the vine frequently to clear it from spiders or dust, and keep the house cool to induce rest to the plant. The fruit may be preserved for a long while in a good condition by cutting it with about 1 ft. of the rod attached, and inserting the cuttings in bottles of water in which a piece of charcoal is placed: the bottles to be placed in racks nailed on to an upright post in any room or cellar where an equable temperature of 45 or 50 degrees can be kept up. The system of pruning adopted is that known as spur pruning (see "Pruning"). Mrs. Pearson is a very fine variety, and produces very sweet berries; the Frontignan Grizzly Black and White are also delicious. Grasses, Natural--

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