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.
By Thomas Meehan. Illustrated by chromo-lithographs, by L. Prang & Co., Boston. The editor of this journal - the author of the above work, cannot, of course, say anything of its value - this he shall leave to his co-temporaries; but he may be pardoned for saying why it was undertaken, and what he hopes to accomplish. It has always been the aim of his life to aid in spreading intelligence among the whole people. Twenty years ago, before the Gardener's Monthly was thought of, the existing Horticultural magazines appealed only to the wealthier classes. It was thought something might be done for Horticulture and general intelligence among a class that could not subscribe for higher-priced papers. Thus a magazine at two-thirds or three-fourths less in price than any then existing was projected, and the Gardener's Monthly was born. There was no intention of competing with any other magazine, but to work in a field wholly its own. Conscious of innumerable imperfections in his ability to manage it, he yet believes it has done some good - at any rate, all the good he ever hoped for it.
The same feeling induces the present attempt. Botanical works are abundant; but it seems to him there is yet room for a cheap woik for the people. There are thousands who want to know something about wild flowers, who, when they are attracted by some wild waif of Flora, are interested in its history in all its relations to man, but who have not the time, money or opportunities to investigate the subject. Could not something cheap be prepared for these people? This work is the answer. Four colored plates and sixteen pages of letter-press for fifty cents. Can we do more? What our critical friends may have to say of the work we cannot, of course, at this writing, tell. It is just possible some will show that if the work had been five dollars instead of fifty cents, much better plates or better work could have been given; that if the author had more intelligence it would have been better done; that if he had not blundered here or blundered there it would have been nearer perfection; that if the artist had only seen this or seen that he would have made a more accurate representation, or that the lithographer should have put more color here or less there, in order to have done just the light thing.
Perhaps no one is more conscious of all this than the editor himself. Had he hesitated on these scores, as probably so many have before him, the work would never have been begun. It would have been much more to his taste if some gentleman of means, greater accomplishments, and more time to spare than he had, should have undertaken it. If some such a one so well fitted for the task could have been induced to take it up, the public would probably have had a much more complete work.
But as the fact was, no one else would undertake a people's work of this magnitude, so the present editor tried it. Imperfect as it may be, he yet hopes to improve as he progresses; and in the meantime he feels sure that he will have taken an intelligent pleasure into thousands of homes.