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.
The semi-centennial address of Hon. Marshall P. Wilder. This is an admirable contribution to horticultural chronology. The first Horticultural Society in America was one in New York, in 1818; but it did not live to a great age. The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society was established in 1827 and still lives. The Massachusetts Society dates from 1829. Col. Wilder gives the names of the distinguished citizens who made the society successful by their patronage and of the exhibitors who from time to time introduced the striking novelties to show how great has been the advance of gardening under its auspices; and after an encouraging glance at the future, concluded in the following eloquent strain :
" And now, my friends, permit me in conclusion to say, that, among the various invitations which I have received to address my fellow-citizens, I have never been honored with one which I more readily accepted, or more highly appreciated, than the invitation to address you on this occasion, coming as it does from those with whom I have labored for so many years. Never have I more heartily joined with you than I do now in commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of our society; and I am quite sure there is no one here who does not rejoice sincerely in this occasion.
" I have summed up briefly, and as well as impaired health would admit, a sketch of the results of a half-century's work. With many of us the sun is fast sinking behind the horizon of life; but the fruits of your labors will continue to enrich with golden hues and spicy odors the tables of posterity for ages after we have dropped like the fruits of autumn, to rise no more.
" One after another of us will pass away. Few of those present will attend the anniversary of this society at the close of the half-century upon which we have entered; but our society shall still live on and prosper. Others will rise up, and carry on the good work; and as they come with fruits and flowers - the results of their labors - to adorn these halls, they will remember those who have gone before. Thus from generation to generation may this temple continue to stand, and honor the names who erected it.
"And now remembering those who have gone before, let us extend a hearty welcome to those who are to succeed us.
"Welcome to our homes, and the beautiful grounds which we have made and planted for your happiness ! Welcome to our fruitful orchards, smiling gardens, and charming landscapes, which we shall leave to you! Welcome to these halls, whose walls have resounded so often with cordial greetings and friendly salutations; where thousands shall minister in the future at the altars of nature and art, until perfection shall crown our tables, and gladden our sight, and we shall have exchanged the cultivation of the soil for the culture of the soul!
"Welcome to its libraries and to all its privileges and pleasures ! and when at last we shall relinquish our labors on earth, may we fall into the lap of mother earth, like the ripened fruits of summer, then to be welcomed to those celestial fields and to that richer inheritance in the better land where the flower shall never fade, the leaf never wither, the fruit never perish; to the rewards of a well-spent life on earth, that we may partake of the tree which bears immortal fruit, - its bloom on earth, its fruit in heaven".