The Experimental Farm

“On Thursday afternoon the weather- which has been none too good so far- tempted me to pay a long-meditated visit to the Experimental Farm. The lawns were a vivid green, and although the trees were just breaking bud, the scene was delightful as the sun shone through the ranks of white birch and other trees. 

‘The long perennial border, with its edging of Siberian Scilla, blue as the sky above, was awakening, and Iris Paeonias, and other plants were pushing up to greet the spring; the white blooms of the Arabis, one of the hardiest and earliest of the class were just showing. The crocuses were gone. A clump of leaves, like giant daffodils, attracted my attention; I turned up the label to find it was an Eremurus. Now I have never seen an Eremurus in bloom, so I must visit the Farm when this giant lily blooms later on. 

‘Behind this border was a bed where all “the lesser beauties” of the garden grew: Jacob’s Ladder, Columbines of sorts, Sweet Rocket or Dame’s Violet, and Oriental Poppies among them. 

‘Here I was joined by Mr. George Brown, who took me over the Orchard. Perhaps the most interesting trees were a number of young ‘Melba’ apples, which Mr. Brown assures me are destined to be the apples of the future. They were grown from single buds, grafted into hardy stocks and are now about four feet high. Growing among the trees were lines of rhubrab (sic), some of which- the new Rhuby, originated at Ottawa- had stalks of a glowing red and very distinct; the other was a local variety, with a good deal of green in it, but of a mild flavor and requiring little sugar. All had been raised from seed and kept true by a rigorous selection. 

‘The poultry pens next claimed attention and Mr F. Gregory who was working among them promised me the results of the tests when concluded, for the benefit of my readers. I gathered that some of the hens had an annual production of over 280 eggs to their credit. The big incubator was in operation in a special house and its electric fan to keep the warm air in circulation, kept up a monotonous subdued roaring…

‘Leaving the hatchery I made my way to the glasshouse (Anglice, ‘greenhouse’) which has been erected since my last visit. Here, I believe Mr. Tinney is in charge, though I had not the pleasure of making his acquaintance. Instead of the usual display of tender plants, plots of ripening grain met my gaze; for this is where the plant breeding experiments are carried on. In one corner I noticed a fine pot of lilies, and correctly guessed them to be Lillium regale: it is a new lily and (I have read) was discovered in China about ten years ago. I was afterwards shown a photo of this plant with 28 blooms on one stalk.

The Apiary and Laboratory of Plant Pathology were next visited, and will form the subject of tomorrow’s notes.”

Newsy Notes by Agricola. “The Experimental Farm.” The Charlottetown Guardian, May 18 1929.