This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V22", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Under this heading, in the May No. of the Gardener's Monthly, Mr. Chas. Downing refers to a statement said to have been made by me in regard to the changes that had taken place during the last quarter of a century. Mr. Downing says I was either mistaken or incorrectly reported.
I think I was incorrectly reported. I spoke, or intended to speak, of half a century. I held in my hand, at the Pomological meeting at Rochester last September, a catalogue of fruits of Wm. Prince, of Flushing, printed in 1824, and to this my remarks referred. I alluded particularly to Pears and Grapes.
That catalogue contained the names of 108 varieties of Pears, only one of which,'the Seckel, is now in general cultivation. Of Grapes 16 varieties, of which four are now in cultivation, Isabella, Catawba, Norton's Virginia and Scup-pernong. A nursery catalogue of 1880, now before me, contains the names of 72 varieties of native Grapes, 35 black, 20 red or purple and 17 white, and these do not, by any means, exhaust the list.
Of 70 varieties of Peaches in the old catalogue, several are still in cultivation to a limited extent, but scarcely one of the popular varieties of the present day are found there.
Coxe's work on Fruits was published in 1816. In it we find the names of 67 varieties of Pears, only two of which are in modern collections, and only one that can be said to be in general cultivation, viz., the Seckel.
There can be no doubt but that great progress has been made in the introduction of new varieties of fruits during the past half century, and this is what I referred to.
A word or two on other matters. At this moment, May 14, the fruit trees are all in blossom at once, and promise an abundant crop, but we are not yet out of danger. There has been renewed activity in the nursery trade this spring, an indication of the return of general prosperity.