From Thomas Rivers 29 March 1872
Bonks Hill, | Sawbridgeworth.
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 the stock the other is a purple leaved sort the Chasselas Noir this is the scion.1 Pardon me for giving you some instruction— The stock should be shortened to 3 feet & placed in heat when its shoots are from one to two inches long it is ready to insert The scion vine should be kept out of doors & as dormant as possible—in a northern aspect without this precaution “bleeding”2 will take place
The best covering for the graft is a lump of tenacious clay the size of an elongated pullet’s egg & over this a lump of moss the size of a turkey’s egg or so should be bound with lint & this should be kept moist till the union has taken place. The scion vine should be shortened so as to have 2, 3 or 4 buds above the junctions The operation 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 son3 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 long enjoyed
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.4 We shall have the same hybrid here ere long a seedling gage plum last spring had its young fruit covered with down it was from blossoms crossed by my son with the pollen of the peach thus dropped off
I have forgotten to add that the purple colour is only brought out by exposure to the open air in August or September
The vines should be with you to morrow
Sends two vines for CD’s experiments, with instructions for grafting.
Mentions a hybrid plum–peach.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8259,” accessed on 29 March 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-8259