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.
The progress in correct nomenclature has been| most gratifying, and the labors of the American Pomological Society, in connection with its I great exhibitions of fruits, have had a prominent leading influence in this result.
Mr. John J. Thomas says: "I well remember the continued disappointments I met with when a young man in procuring trees that were true to the name - in some fruits accuracy seemed to be decidedly the exception. In corresponding on this subject some forty years ago with the elder Robert Manning, he remarked that the account of my disappointment was a history of i his own." At the present time, all respectable nurseries are accurate throughout, and pur-chasers scarcely find an error. One of the objects of the founders of this Society was to correct the evils which formerly existed; to aid in determining the synonyms by which the same fruit was known, and thus to establish the cor- rect names and impart a knowledge of the value of varieties.
Much has been accomplished by the Society's Catalogue, whereby a permanent foundation has been laid, which will eventually result in the complete abrogation of such names as are used without fitness, propriety or even truth. We especially desire, for the honor of our science, that all inelegant or absurd names, such as Cathead, Hogpen, Sheepnose, Stump the World, and the like, should no longer be applied to fruits. In this respect we have made great advances by the suppression of vulgar names and the adoption of such as have reference to the origin, introduction, or the characteristics of our fruits. How absurd to give to a luscious fruit, radiant with the loveliest tints of nature, and fragrant with the spices of Arabia - a fruit possessing almost supernal grace - such vulgar names. How inappropriate the dedication of fruits to warriors and statesmen, to generals and colonels, presidents and senators, or the long roll of titled nobility, which have no natural connection, or analogy, with fruits. How much more appropriate, for instance, are the names of the Baldwin and Porter apple, the Bartlett and the Sheldon pear, the Early Crawford and Late Admirable peach, the Concord grape, and Wilson's Albany strawberry.
Some of these have come down to us from former generations, and will survive as long as the varieties which bear them exist, without the use of three hundred and seventy names for twenty-nine kinds of apples, as stated in Dr. Howsley's Report of 1875. Our catalogue already abounds with the names of fruits of American origin, and they will ere long surpass in number those of foreign climes. Let us, then, labor to establish a pure, proper and practical nomenclature of fruits for our land, which shall be correct, definite, intelligible and which shall endure for all time.
Among the most important acts of this Society was the rejection, as unworthy of cultivation, (in 1858, nineteen years since,) of 625 varieties of fruits, then known in the catalogues of nurserymen, but since suppressed. Not less important was the adoption of its own Catalogue of varieties adapted to the various sections of our widely extended country. This took place in 1862, but it was reserved for the year 1871 to inaugurate the present grand quarto form arranged in Northern, Southern and Central Divisions, similar in climate and other characters affecting fruit culture, with columns for fifty States and Territories, thus presenting to the world the most perfect and practical catalogue of fruits extant. Thus shall we improve our pomology and thus hand down inestimable blessings to the world; not for ourselves only, but to gladden the sight, gratify the taste, and cheer the hearts of the advancing millions that are to occupy this blessed land. And what more enduring memorial of valuable service to posterity can we render than to transmit a fine fruit which shall survive when we have passed from our labors on earth.
The pleasures of sight enhance the pleasure of taste, and thus generation after generation will rejoice in the beauty as well as the richness of fruits which have adorned our orchards and cheered our social meal, and which, with each successive year, cause us to realize the thought of the poet, that " A thing of beauty is a joy forever".