UNDER TEST AT THE
WM. SAUNDERS, LL.D., Director Experimental Farms,
And THOS. A. SHARPE, Superintendent of the Experimental Farm at Agassiz, B.C.
The site for the experimental farm for British Columbia was chosen at Agassiz in 1888 and possession was had on September 19, 1889. Agassiz is located about 70 miles east of Vancouver and in a very central position in the valley of the Fraser in the coast climate. The land consists of about 325 acres of valley land fronting on the main line of the Canadian Pacific Railway and adjoining the station at Agassiz, with about 800 acres of broken mountain land in the rear. Prior to purchase about 35 acres of the valley land had been partly cleared and was more or less under cultivation, including 3 acres of young orchard.
About 30 acres of the land which had been partly under cultivation was thoroughly worked up in the autumn of 1889 and prepared for planting in the spring of 1900. Additional land has been cleared from year to year and through the energetic action of the superintendent the clearing has been made to keep pace not only with the necessities for orchard planting, but also with the requirements for experimental work with farm crops and the raising of supplies for farm animals. The cleared land in the valley at the present time is about 160 acres of which from 60 to 65 are occupied by fruit trees. There are also over 1,000 fruit trees planted in clearings up the sides of the mountain at elevations ranging from 150 to 1,100 feet in height.
The work of selecting the varieties and securing the trees has devolved mainly on the Director, while the planting and care, and the notes on their growth and productiveness, with the descriptions of the fruits, are entirely the work of the Superintendent.
A bright future lies before British Columbia as a fruit growing province, and the large collection of varieties now growing at the experimental farm, will provide the means for securing an amount of accurate information as to the relative quality and productiveness of varieties which will be of untold value to the future fruit growers of this province. Already among the new sorts of foreign introduction which have fruited several have been found of superior character with good shipping qualities and highly productive. These promise to be of great value to the country.
At the end of the catalogue a select list of each sort of fruit is given, prepared by Mr. Sharpe, comprising the best of those which have thus far fruited. Such lists, however, can only serve a present purpose and will no doubt be greatly modified as other varieties reach a bearing age.
For convenience of reference in the list of apples, all the different varieties of Russets have been grouped have been grouped together and the same has been done with the Calvilles and Reinettes.
The collection of large fruits here enumerated embraces the following named sorts: Apples, 1,217; Crab-apples, 36; Pears, 555; Plums, 311; Cherries, 154; Peaches, 213; Apricots, 50; Nectarines, 25; Quinces, 8; Medlars, 7; and Mulberries 6, making a total of 2,582 varieties. In so large a collection there will, no doubt, be many errors in naming, instances will also occur where the same variety exists under different names. The authors will esteem it a great favour should any apparent inaccuracies of any sort be detected if the party observing them would kindly report them so that such errors may be rectified.