This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V21", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
One of the misfortunes of this age is, an editor is expected to know everything. But be that so or not, I will ask you, also for the benefit of many nurserymen, especially in the rural district. Suppose a nurseryman is sued, and on his land is a fine growing stock; also his glass structures, his sash, his framing, pits and sash, his plants in pots, his empty pots, and his tools; can a constable seize on them as personal property ?
Again, suppose a nurseryman is sued and levy is made on his real estate, and in time sold; can the purchaser, in the two years you have to redeem it in, take possession, displace the owner or prevent him from digging and selling any or all of his stock, or from selling his sash, greenhouses, pits, pot plants, pots and tools? You will say consult your lawyer. But lawyers, judges and courts, say they don't know the rule in such cases, and are as likely to decide the wrong way as the right; if there is not, there ought to be some basis as a guide, and I and many others look to you as a leader.
[So far as we know the exact status of nursery products has never been definitely fixed by any high tribunal, and m the absence of any high judicial decision the lower courts decide as seem-eth best unto them; and hence the most contrary verdicts come from the same courts. In one of the Philadelphia courts during the war when the "profits of business" were taxed, a large Philadelphia nursery was compelled to pay as " profits" on the increased value of growing trees. For instance, if a tree a foot high was worth in the market five cents, and the next year had doubled its growth and be worth ten cents, this extra five cents after expenses of culture and interest on investment were deducted, would be considered " profit," and was taxed accordingly, the nursery paying somewhere about $500 a year on this basis only, although the trees might subsequently be all dug up and burned. By this decision they were of course personal property. But when one of these same trees which had already been dug up, and was temporarily heeled in, was stolen, Judge Thayer of the same city, discharged the thief on the ground that nursery trees, as well as any other trees, were not personal property, and so could not be stolen.
Nor could we ever decide whether it would be best for the nurseryman to have his products classed as personal property or as real estate. There are advantages and disadvantages, the one seeming to balance the other. At any rate, as there has been no definite testing of the matter, there is no way to do but to abide by local decisions, however contradictory they may be, unless one is disposed to spend time and money in getting a final decision; and even then as we have already said there may be as many disadvantages as advantages follow in special cases. - Ed. G. M].