The Florist and Pomologist, p. 169-170 (Nov. 1880)


OUR figure of this excellent and most useful Cherry has been drawn from a remarkably fine sample, which we owe to the kindness of Mr. G. T. Miles, gardener to Lord Carington, at Wycombe Abbey. The appearance of the fruit is not at all exaggerated in the accompanying plate. It is an old variety, having been, according to Hooker, introduced in 1794, by Mr. Ronalds, of Brentford, and like most other good fruits, bears a variety of names, of which the chief are Black Circassian, Black Russian, Ronalds' Large Black Heart, Fraser's Black Tartarian, &c. The fruit is large, and of an obtusely heart-shaped figure; the colour purplish, becoming of a shining black when fully ripe; the stalk is slender, an inch and a half long or upwards; the flesh is purplish, rather tender, with abundant purplish juice, and a rich luscious flavour; the stone is medium-sized. The tree is perfectly hardy, and the fruit ripens on east or west walls about the end of June or in July. We are indebted to Mr. Miles for the following remarks in reference to this fine Cherry:—

The Black Tartarian Cherry is the best of all the choice black varieties with which I am acquainted, and a variety which is indispensable in every garden. It also possesses the merit of being a superior kind for cultivation in glass-houses, and for forcing purposes. The fruits represented in the accompanying plate were produced under the latter conditions. A few remarks upon the subject of cultivation and forcing may with propriety be considered admissible here.

An impression prevails very extensively, even in the minds of many practical men, that the cultivation and forcing of this luscious fruit are attended with considerable difficulty, and so much uncertainty, as to make the matter hardly worth the trouble and expense it involves. Now this is a most erroneous notion, at least I have found it to be so, as after nearly twenty years' practice and experience in the matter, I am convinced that a crop of Cherries is as surely obtainable in this way year by year consecutively, as is one of peaches or nectarines, or any other kind of fruit placed under similar conditions. I have found the Cherry-house here to be a useful adjunct in furnishing a supply of luscious fruit, at a time when fresh fruits are limited in variety, exceedingly scarce, and much required.

Cherry-trees are, of all fruit-trees which are advanced by means of forcing operations, those which require the least heat, and, consequently, are thereby the least expensive. Those who may contemplate their cultivation under these conditions should remember that no stone fruit is more impatient of heat than the Cherry, and the greatest danger of failure would most likely proceed from overheating or want of proper ventilation, or both combined. The house selected for the purpose should, therefore, be so constructed that a free course of fresh air may pass through it, whenever it may be expedient; and in the case of forced trees, it will be so much the better if the sashes are of a moveable kind. The best varieties for forcing comprise Black Tartarian (Circassian), May Duke, and Frogmore, amongst black kinds; and Elton, Governor Wood, Bigarreau, and Bigarreau Napoléon, of the light section.

Good friable loam, with an admixture of road-scrapings, forms the best compost for Cherry-trees. This should be placed about 30 inches thick on a well drained border, with about 16 inches of rubble beneath it. Trees of four or five seasons' growth are the most suitable in size, and most profitable for the purpose. In planting, let the roots be regularly spread out amongst the soil, at about 10 or 12 inches below the surface. To have ripe Cherries in May, the trees should be started in the preceding December; this, however, would be too early to start in the case of trees which had not become acclimatised to such treatment. A slow and gradual process is absolutely indispensable; 40° at night, and 50° in the daytime by artificial means, should be the range of temperature, until solar influences operate in such a manner as to effect an augmentation of temperature, and whenever this happens, a slight admission of air should be given. The appearance of a Cherry-house, when the trees are in full bloom, is one of the prettiest sights of the forcing season, and the agreeable perfume emanating from the flowers makes it still more enchanting.— G. T. MILES, Wycome Abbey.

Black Tartarian Bibliography