This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V18", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
As will be known to most of our readers before their eyes meet this, the Horticulturist has now become a part of the Gardener's Monthly. Personally we regret the fact. We have never felt any rivalry in regard to our old friend, or that we had anything whatever to gain by its absence from the field. On the contrary, we have ever been ready, earnestly and sincerely, to lend it a helping hand; and not only to it, but to all enterprises of a similar kind. Mr. Williams resigns it, primarily, because of his connection with so many other works; but, of course, it would not have come into our hands had other people felt encouraged to continue it in an independent form; and the impression from these considerations by the outside world must be, that horticultural taste cannot be very wide spread on this continent if there is room for only a single horticultural magazine, and that a monthly one. It is because we know that this view is deceptive that we offer these remarks now. We have been abundantly satisfied with our own success. Nothing was more surprising to every one than the immense circulation, for a purely horticultural paper, achieved by the Gardener's Monthly before the war.
Though not equalling its original strength, the course has been steadily onward since the end of the great struggle. The intelligent and the refined, to whom horticulture was among the highest pleasures, were the chief sufferers by the war; and an entirely new class came to the surface, with whom the taste for horticulture was in a measure no more enjoyable than an unknown tongue. This has been, however, annually improving; and we have been quite satisfied with our share in the good work. We know the taste will continue to increase, and we firmly believe there was no reason why any of the horticultural magazines that have disappeared from the field should cease to be.
Let us review for an instant our own course. Horry's magazine had the field in the writer's younger days. In some departments of gardening it did immense service, especially in fruit culture, and Pomology generally. The present high position of Pear growing in this country is mainly due to its labors. The Horticulturist followed. It chose a higher field. It was the embodiment of the best intellectual culture in this beautiful department of art. Its sphere was all its own. There was still room for another in a different line, and the Florid appeared. The young editor was abundantly fitted for the work. It was a brave and worthy effort; but what could be done by one without a dollar in the world? With its departure the field was still open. The highest taste and pomological gardening were fully ministered to; but there was nothing for the thousands with slender purses and small yards and grounds, and others who, in numberless ways,could be benefitted by little hints of a practical caste. This was our time. Unfortunately our good neighbor, "The Horticulturist," came down from the position it was so ably filling, working in a measure in our own line. We are satisfied it lost a great advantage by the change. The Hearth and Home folks saw the opportunity, and it was indeed a grand one.
Why they failed was perfectly clear to those who understood the needs of horticulture in this country. It might have been to-day the exponent of the highest culture in our beautiful art a leader equal to some of the best in the old world - and a good paying investment instead of the heavy sinking fund it was to the projectors, As for the American Gardener's Chronicle, the American Journal of Horticulture, and the American Garden, the very fact of the adoption of these names betrayed a want of originality, and invited a comparison so unfortunate for themselves that no one acquainted with business, in its relation to horticultural literature, ever had the slightest hope of their success.
The Gardener's Monthly is left the sole survivor, but indeed it is not because there is no room for more. The work which so many have tried to do is really better done by the numerous excellent agricultural papers of which our country may well be proud. There is one agricultural phase of gardening which, while not ignoring aesthetics wholly, yet looks mainly to profit; and there is one which places the mental and the beautiful a long way before the monetary and the material, though still bordering on the mere agricultural, and this is the work which we have to do. It commences just where their's ends. No attempt to build up a paper which is simply in competition with the horticultural departments of our excellent agricultural serials can possibly succeed. They ought not. There is no need of them. But those who can comprehend what true horticul, ture is, and what it needs with us, need not fear to find abundant patronage.
Truly we had no desire to involve our elder brother. Earnestly do we desire to see more of our family keeping house for themselves, and it is because we sincerely wish to have them do so, and because we believe there is plenty of reason why they should, that we have candidly given our views on the situation.
In the meantime, we bespeak sympathy for the Gardener's Monthly and Horticulturist in its lonely condition. If we make any new friends by the change we shall try to treat them well, while we trust our old friends shall have no cause to feel jealous of any attention we may give to the newcomers in our household.
We cannot close these remarks without thanking our Weekly Agricultural, and other exchanges, for their kindly notices of our new situation, for many are coming to hand while we are writing this. Our relations with them have always been kind and cordial, and we do not know of one that we may not call our friend. We are, indeed, co-operative in the same task, and no one can appreciate their good will as well as we.