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Letter 8259

Rivers, Thomas to Darwin, C. R.

29 Mar 1872


Sends two vines for CD’s experiments, with instructions for grafting.

Mentions a hybrid plum–peach.


Bonks Hill, | Sawbridgeworth.

Mar 29/72

My Dear Sir/

I have much pleasure in finding you still full of experimental life &have sent you two vines for acceptance with my best wishes

One is a variety of Frontignan with green leaves this is to be thestock the other is a purple leaved sort the Chasselas Noir this is thescion.f1 Pardon me for giving you some instruction— The stockshould be shortened to 3 feet & placed in heat when its shoots arefrom one to two inches long it is ready to insert   The scion vineshould be kept out of doors & as dormant as possible—in a northernaspect   without this precaution “bleeding”f2 will take place

The best covering for the graft is a lump of tenacious clay the sizeof an elongated pullet’s egg & over this a lump of moss the size of aturkey’s egg or so should be bound with lint & this should be keptmoist till the union has taken place. The scion vine should beshortened so as to have 2, 3 or 4 buds above the junctions   Theoperation is very simple yet as usual much work is required.

I am now an old man & am suffering from a late attack of influenza  75 is not an age to recuperate but I am still interested in culture &in experiments now carried on by my sonf3 for I am now an idle man  the seedling crossed fruits are of high interest but the thought will intrude“shall I see the end of these matters”? Still I am free from pain &infirmity & have the “mens sana & I am thankful for the prosperity I have longenjoyed

I am My Dear Sir | Yrs. ever truly | Thos. Rivers

In the Revue Horticule for this month is the figure of a plum-peach,Prunus Simonii with the flesh of a plum & a rough stone, peach-like  this is from China.f4 We shall have the same hybrid here ere long   aseedling gage plum last spring had its young fruit covered with down  it was from blossoms crossed by my son with the pollen of the peachthus dropped off

I have forgotten to add that the purple colour is only brought outby exposure to the open air in August or September

The vines should be with you to morrow

DAR 176: 173



Frontignan and Chasselas noir are grapevine varieties now more commonly known as Muscat blanc à petits grains andDolcetto, respectively.
Bleeding is the extravasation of sap, such as occurs invines injured in the spring, during leaf expansion (Jackson 1900).
Thomas Francis Rivers. Thomas Rivers (senior) was cited frequentlyin Variation, especially on the characteristics of grafthybrids. For CD’s earlier correspondence with Rivers on graft hybrids,see Correspondence vols. 11 and 14.
Rivers refers to an article in Revue horticole 44 (1872): 111–12 onPrunus simonii, the apricot-plum.
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