This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V23", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
A lady from a Western City Writes: " This Spring A Mr --------, agent of the --------- Nurseries, was in our neighborhood soliciting orders for fruit trees, for which he asked prices very much above what we had ever given, but he claimed, among other things, that their pear trees were grafted on such stock (fringe tree, etc., I believe) that they would not be subject to the blight. That he could give me a woolly plum that the curculio would not touch - the plum to be of superior kind. As we are losing our fruit from blight, curculio, etc., we should be glad to pay three times the ordinary price to be free from these garden pests. But for some reason or other I doubted if there were any such thing as the --------- Nurseries.
If it is a fraud will you be good enough to let me know?"
We have cut out the name and location of the firm, but may say that it is one of the most respectable firms of the United States. We thought proper to send the letter to the firm and have the following reply:
"I am very much obliged for your letter of the 20th inst., covering one from a correspondent of yours. The man complained of was not our agent, but I think he did sell for one of our customers - a dealer - with whom we had a contract to supply trees. It seems to be impossible to control these men, for we hear constant complaints of misrepresentations which they put forth to enable them to secure orders. We sell our trees in good faith - often by contract in advance - and I am sure I do not know any practical rule for distinguishing between an honest and dishonest "dealer." I enclose back the letter as requested."
The correspondence shows the difficulty by which the whole subject is surrounded. The only deduction we can draw from it is that wherever practicable it is best to order direct from the nursery in preference to buying from the canvasser or dealer, unless such canvasser or dealer is known to the purchaser. As we have before stated, there is always risk in buying from a person or persons unknown. There is quite enough risk even in our dealings with those known to us, either personally or by reputation, without adding this unknown quantity. In cases where no responsible nursery is known to the buyer, he has to buy of dealers unknown to him, and the only advice we can give in such cases is to remember that he cannot see what he is buying, and that he has to take the word of a total stranger who may be strictly truthful; but who, on the other hand, may possibly lean a little from the perpendicular in order to make a sale.