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.
No one who sees any form of plant-life but wonders if it were always as it is now. The history of the earth shows that there has been a succession of forms in plant-life. Thousands of species have become extinct; and yet there is no reason to believe that the number of species on the earth's surface is any less than it was before these thousands of missing ones died. It may be accepted as an undoubted truth that plants were not all created at one time, but that there has been a continuous succession of created forms. Then we look at a plant and note that it is made up of living cells. The matter of which the cells are made is little more than senseless clay - it is but earthy matter and gases; but it becomes endowed with some power of selection and power of reproduction, and we call this plant-life. How did these selective and reproductive powers originate? How did " life " obtain this power over the senseless elements? How did life become a part of inorganic matter? And how, when it once got control, did all these various forms arise? These constitute what is known as questions of evolution and spontaneous generation. Notwithstanding the most careful studies the knowledge has not yet been reduced to scientific certainty.
There is as yet no evidence that it would be safe to accept that any live creature, no matter how simple, has been produced from anything but had life before; and, notwithstanding the truth is manifest that there has been a succession of forms, is there any direct evidence that any great class of plants has been derived from others that are gone. They look alike, and we can trace resemblances, but we cannot see the truth so clearly that all must of necessity embrace it.