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.
Mr. Northrop, Secretary for the Connecticut State Board of Education, makes the following patriotic argument for tree-planting:
Tree-planting is fitted to give a lesson of forethought to the juvenile mind. Living solely in the present and for the present, too many youth will sow, only where they can shortly reap. A meager crop, soon in hand, outweighs a golden harvest long in maturing. As short-sightedness is the danger of youth, they should learn that forecasting the future is the condition of wisdom. Arboriculture is a discipline in foresight, for it is always planting for the future and often for the distant future. To do something in this centennial year which may live on in 1976 will be a healthful aspiration to any youth. Washington Irving well says of tree-planting, "There is a grandeur of thought connected with this heroic line of husbandry. It is worthy of liberal and free-born and aspiring men. He who plants an oak looks forward to future ages and plants for posterity, exulting in the idea that the acorn which he has buried in the earth shall grow up into a lofty pile and shall keep on flourishing and increasing and benefiting mankind long after he has ceased to tread his paternal fields." It would be a grand achievement for this centennial year, if a genuine interest in arboriculture can be awakened in all our towns.
To this end our pupils should observe all the common trees so as readily to recognize them by any one of the six most distinctive marks. If fit lessons were early given on the varieties and value, the beauty and grandeur of our majestic trees, our youth could hardly fail to admire and enjoy them, and then to plant and protect them. The planting of one hundred thousand trees by the wayside (and that would be forty thousand less than one for each pupil and teacher) would ultimately make the roads and streets of Connecticut by far the most beautiful in America. If private taste, public spirit, town pride and the sentiment of patriotism to our State could be duly enlisted in connection with the certainty of pecuniary profit and the manifold personal advantage of every citizen, our streets would become bowers of beauty and verdure. Nothing can add so great a charm to our country roads or village streets, as long and magnificent avenues of stately elms and maples, such as may already be seen in many beautiful towns in Connecticut. But there remain some desolate, neglected, repulsive, leafless villages, where taste and trees, and shrubbery, hedges, creeping vines and a park or green, would make the wilderness blossom as the rose.
Among the memories of my boyhood, while under thirteen years of age, no day has recurred with more frequency and satisfaction than that devoted to tree-planting. The maples then set out before the homestead, in Litchfield County, are now beautiful and stately trees. They have paid me a thousandfold for the work they cost, and added new attractions to the cherished spot to which I count it a privilege to make an annual visit. This personal incident is given to suggest how easily our youth may now provide for a like grateful experience.
A single fact out of many which might be given wall be enough to illustrate the economic bearings of tree-planting. New Haven owes its beauty and growth largely to the taste, liberality and foresight of James Hillhouse. The Public Green Association, which he organized in 1799, raised and expended a little over $1,500 for planting elms and grading the Green. One of the donors gave five gallons of rum, then apparently as good as legal-tender. Next to the location of Yale College, nothing has contributed so much to the growth and enrichment of New Haven as its elms. It is celebrated in this and other lands as the City of Elms. Its magnificent avenues of stately trees, surpassing even the famous Unter den Linden of Berlin, have enhanced its reputation for taste, beauty and elegance, and thus attracted many wealthy and desirable residents, and greatly increased the taxable value of all the property in the city. New Haven virtually receives an annual income from her elms far greater than their entire original cost.