The meaning of Horticulture as given by Noah Webster is the "cultivation of a garden, or the art of cultivating gardens." But modern advancement has given the word a much broader signification. It now includes such important divisions as pomology, or fruit-growing, ornamental and shade trees and shrubs, flowers and their culture, modes and methods of propagation, landscape gardening, spraying for insects and fungi, garden and orchard irrigation, systematic pomology, or plant description and classification, and still other divisions and subdivisions in varied climes and on different soils.
Quite as important is the modern change in the requirements of the student or beginner in horticulture. In the days when gardening was a mere art the operator was told what to do and how to do it. At this time the student is required to know not only how to perform a given work, but to give the reasons for doing it in a certain way in order to reach given results.
In agricultural college work, at institutes, and at horticultural meetings the discussion of practical details is now associated with the underlying principles that often border on science.
Commercial horticulture in its many classes is also a modern development. This is specially true of the commercial growing of the orange, grape, strawberry, apple, tomato, melon, and indeed all fruits and nute that can be widely distributed in fresh or preserved form.
Modern facilities for transportation have had much to do with this rapid development, together with the much-published information and literature that naturally grew up in connection with these extended systematic operations. Indeed the literature connected with growing fruits for market has advanced far more rapidly than that pertaining to home-making, home propagation, and the principles connected with the modes and methods used in the varied divisions of work. Hence in this volume the needs of the student, amateur, and beginner have been regarded in every section and every chapter.
To prevent duplication and to give a clearer presentation of the union of theory and practice, the work and the reasons therefor are given in connection, or reference is made to other explanatory sections.
The division of systematic pomology, or the description and classification of fruits and nuts, is quite distinct and separate as a study. In some respects chapters on this subject are used for reference in time of need as we use a dictionary, while the theory and practice of horticulture is a continued study in which about all classes are interested.
A number of years ago Daniel Webster said: "Horticulture is one pursuit of natural science in which all sexes and degrees of education and refinement unite. It attracts, delights all. It seems to be a common field where every degree of taste and refinement may unite and find opportunity for their gratification."
Hence the principles and practices of horticulture are outlined in Part I in a separate volume.
Sytematic pomology, giving a description of the fruits in cultivation largely planted in the various sections of the United States and Canada, together with those of special promise in local parts, is treated in Part II, which is also published as a separate volume for the benefit of those most interested in varieties that succeed most perfectly on varied soils and in different sections and districts.
The figures used in Part I, when not original, are copied by permission from those used by Professor Goff, Professor Green, Professor Bailey, and others, as credited in each case, to whom special thanks are due.
My able associate, Professor N. E. Hansen, has read the manuscript of Part I and assisted in various ways, and he has given much time and labor to the responsible and difficult work of describing and deciding the status of the many varieties in cultivation as given in Part II.
The discussions and statements in Part I have been carefully considered, and verified as far as possible by travel, correspondence, reading, and consultation, yet in some cases they will be questioned. But this will lead to investigation. It cannot be hoped that a volume of this character can be faultless in all respects. The details of modern horticulture are so varied that no one person can cover the whole range without omissions and mistakes of judgment.
J. L. Budd. Ames, Iowa, March 1, 1902.