This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V20", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Mr. Peter Henderson made an admirable address before the American Institute Farmers' Club, on the 29th of April. Besides the excellent practical hints as to the formation and management of farm-gardens, he made a strong point on the fact that many of the best men in the garden business were originally farmers, and even from other ranks have some of the best recruits been drawn. Of an old New York firm he says:
" This I know to be the fact, in scores of in. stances where the business of nurseryman, market gardeners or florists was, as it were, just forced upon the farmer by his village neighbors desiring to buy the products of his garden.
The original proprietor of one of the largest seed-houses in the city of New York emigrated from Scotland some time about the beginning of the present century. He was a nailer by trade, and was entirely ignorant of anything pertaining to seeds or gardening; but one day, coming through the Bowery, then half farm, half city he saw a Rosebush in a cottage window. It was a Rose in the wilderness, for probably there were not a score more in the city of New York. He went in and bought it for 50 cents, took it home, painted the pot-green, and placing it in the window of his nailshop, quickly sold it for a dollar. This was easier work and better pay than nail-making. He started out daily, buying plants of all kinds, always painting the pots green (a practice that modern science, would frown at), and doubling his money rapidly.
From plants, the transition to dealing in seeds was natural and easy, so that in less than twenty years from the time this humble Scotch nailmaker had purchased his Rosebush in the Bowery, his seed-house had become the largest on this continent.