Fruits and Vegetables. The fruits of Canada embrace all that are familiar to the English gardener, with others which the summer there is not warm enough to bring to maturity. The finest melons are grown in abundance in the open ground. In favorable seasons peaches are plentiful in the Niagara peninsula, and in the south-western portions of Ontario, along the shores of Lake Erie and the Detroit River. The vine is cultivated largely in open gardens. The Isabella, the Delaware, Clinton, and other varieties of grapes attain to perfect size and excellent flavor in the open air; and the manufacture of native wines is now successfully prosecuted to a considerable extent.
Wild fruits abound in wild vine (Vitis vulpine) is abundant everywhere, twining its tendrils around the trunks and over the branches of the forest trees, and yielding clusters of small grapes, inviting to cultivation. Among the other wild fruits may be mentioned plums, cherries, raspberries, brambles or blackberries, strawberries, whortleberries, blueberries, gooseberries, black and red currants, juniper berries, cranberries, hickory and hazel nuts, and walnuts. The raspberries ripen in such abundance that enormous quantities are annually preserved and sold both in the Provinces and the united States. The blueberry is also extensively sold; and the wild strawberry furnishes an agreeable dessert in many parts of the eastern provinces throughout the latter part of July and August.
Apples and pears are now largely cultivated. The island of Montreal has long been famous for its fruits; and the annual produce of the orchards of Ontario is exported to the States and to Europe. Vegetables for the table are also successfully cultivated in greater varieties than in England, and in such quantities that they are largely exported. The tomato flourishes and yields an abundant crop. Cauliflower, vegetable marrow, equals, French beans, pease, lettuce, spinach celery, asparagus, rhubarb, and all the more common vegetables are grown in abundant in the older provinces. The climate of Manitoba, notwithstanding its exceptionally low temperature from December to March, gives promise of equally satisfactory results. Professor Bryce, after noting such examples of agricultural produce as that of one old settler who obtained 420 bushels of wheat from 11 acres, and another who by garden culture produced the enormous yield of 134 bushels per acre of oats, thus proceeds: "These are given both as proof of the capabilities of the country, and of the advantage of careful culture. The ordinary table vegetables are surprising in their growth, and reach a prodigious size. The writer has seen nothing in his previous experience equaling the vegetable production of the province; and the late lieutenant-governor, Hon. Mr. Archibald, after testing the matter in his own garden, gave the same as his experience."
The exports of fruit and vegetables, the growth and produce of the five eastern provinces of Canada, for the year 1874, included fruity to the value of $128,904, and vegetables to the value of $332,068. But while this produce of the finer fruits and vegetables for the table shows exports to the value of $460,972 in a single year, and thus bears evidence to the character of the soil and climate, it conveys a very imperfect idea of the actual produce of Canadian orchards. Apples especially are in constant use at the table. Throughout the southern portion of Ontario thousands of acres are planted with fruit-trees, yielding valuable crops of the finest quality, and forming an even increasing source of wealth to the farmer.
Flowers. The flora of Canada naturally comes in order along with its agriculture and garden produce; but to deal with the subject effectually would require a botanical treatise on the whole flora of North America. There is the rich flora of the forest, which disappears with the clearing of the land for purposes of agriculture, and is even replaced in part by an immigrant flora, brought in with the hay and grass seeds of the European settler. Again, there is the brilliant flora of the prairies, which, in the full season of summer bloom, are resplendent with blue, scarlet, and yellow petals. The Rocky Mountains, and the rugged slopes of the Pacific province, have also their characteristic flora; while the shallows of the lakes and rivers abound with beautiful aquatic plants, foremost among which is the Nymphara odorata, the magnificent sweet-sce4nted white water-lily, which converts many a broad lagoon into a beautiful floating garden.
It will better accords with the practical aim of this article, to note that the honey-bee flourished in all the provinces of Canada; and, as will be seen by the following table showing the produce of a single year, is cultivated with profitable success in the four older provinces: -
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Canada - Table of Contents