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.
In contemplating the rapid progress of American Pomology, its influence in promoting the ' health and happiness of our people, its importance as a source of revenue to our nation, and the agency which our Society has had in promoting its advancement, I am deeply impressed with the obligation which rests upon us to sustain our organization in all sections of our country. Few are aware of the time, money and persistent efforts which have been spent in the prosecution of our cause. With many of us it has been a life-work of patient and persevering investigation, the results of which have been of lasting benefit to mankind. But not until we look back to the time when this Society was established, and compare that period with the present, can we estimate the advantages which have arisen therefrom.
But who can form any adequate conception of the vast proportions and value of the fruit culture of our country, when it shall have been opened up to its full extent by our various Pacific railroads with their connections, and other means of transit - when the Northern Pacific, soon to reach our western coast - when Washington Territory and Oregon, with a climate in many places varying only one degree in eleven years from that of Paris, with millions of acres of fruit lands, and even in Southern Alaska, Sitka and other places where the mercury, close as they are to the Arctic circle, has only fallen four times, in forty years, below zero; where the average of winter temperature is above the freezing point, and for the entire year forty-three degrees; where ice and snow are exceptions; where the tropic waters of the Japan gulf stream, crossing the Pacific, softens the climate so as to make it similar to that of Kentucky, and where they can plant earlier than we can at Boston.
Nor should we omit the possibilities for fruit culture even in the colder States of our Northern borders, like Idaho, Montana, Minnesota and Dakota, with rivers and valleys of great extent and astonishing fertility, the latter especially favorable, with her one hundred million acres of tillable land, sufficient for half a million of large farms, and on which a hundred thousand emigrants have settled in one year. Hardy varieties of fruits will be produced in these regions, and on the upper waters of the Columbia, where now they grow spontaneously, and where along their rivers and streams the wild grape abounds; and it is thought that that portion of the country north-west of the Rocky Mountains will be peculiarly favorable for the growth of the apple.
And we turn now to the Southern Pacific road, which is opening upon us the vast regions of New Mexico, Southern Colorado, Arizona, and the valleys of the Rio Grande and El Paso, already renowned for their grapes and wild fruits, and whose fertile lands yield abundantly - where the climate is as mild as Italy, and "where, in some instances, the capabilities for fruit culture are of great promise.
And to these great resources we may add those of Texas, greater in territory than all the New England and the Middle States, opening up another avenue by this road for the transport of its products, and affording great facilities for fruit culture. And, to crown all, we have imperial California, whose products, by the facilities of transportation, are sent to all parts of our Union, whose capacity for fruit culture is marvellous, whose wines are exported by cargoes to Europe, to be muddled over and returned for consumption by those who prefer "far-fetched and dear-bought" to the products of our pristine soils.
When I reflect on the possibilities of the great future, our vast territory, our fertile virgin soils, our amazing agricultural, mineral and pomo-logical resources, our ever-increasing population, prosperity and power, in all of which fruit culture will have its full share, I fully concur in the opinions of Mr. Gladstone, when he says: "The American Union has territory fitted to be the base of the largest continuous empire ever established by man." And I would say with him, also, " I am proud of America, and her physical capacity." Glorious words, indeed! but not more glorious than prophetic of the great future of American civilization!
This advance may not arrive till long after he who addresses you shall be slumbering in the dust, but that it will come is as certain, we believe, as that light illumines the world, and to doubt this would be to doubt the continued improvement and elevation of our race, or that Providence has in store the millennial blessings which He has promised to mankind.