This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V24", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
The seventh annual meeting was held this year in Rochester, under the Presidency of Mr. Wm. C. Barry. Mr. Barry is the youngest man who ever held such a position, and it was very gratifying to his many friends to note how ably he filled the position, and it must have been gratifying to him to find the meeting one of the most successful ever held. A great number of the States were represented at the meeting, and the State in which the meeting was held sent a large number. The great advantage of these meetings is the social intercourse. Men in the profession learn to know each other, and friendships are formed which often last for life. At these meetings much business is also transacted. It is a sort of commercial exchange. At this meeting it is believed that stock to the amount of at least $100,000 changed hands.
The meetings themselves are turned to good business account. One of the great questions before this gathering was how to get better accommodations from the railroads for the transportation of nursery stock. Customers complain that goods are too long on the way and refuse to take them. The roads having brought the goods so far have to go back to the shipper and make him pay the freight. This entails loss of time, trouble and loss of cash. To save themselves, many roads insist on cash in advance, which has to be collected from the customer by the shipper. When these matters are brought before the railroad companies for redress, the complainants are told - at least so it was represented at Dayton - that their business is but a trifling one, and not worth consideration. It so happens that the business is really a very important one to the transportation companies ; so a committee was appointed at Dayton to prepare statistics and lay them before the railroad companies that they might themselves see it was no trifling affair that they had to deal with.
At this meeting the committee reported that the nurserymen did not want to let people know their business, and so they would not give any figures, and the railroad companies reported that they also did not care to expose their business and so they would give no figures, and the report therefore was "nothing can be done." It seems very strange that we may know the number of barrels of apples, bushels of corn or head of cattle shipped from a district, or carried over a road, but it is a "business secret" when trees are concerned ! There is no doubt from all this that the inference will be that the railroads are right in their taunt that it is a "small business." When a lady is twenty she does not care who knows it, but the census-takers declare that many a lady of thirty appeared to them to be forty or more. One would think if the enormous business was done, as is represented, there would be no harm in publishing it. This will be the impression and we regret very much that it is, because we know that it is a wrong impression.
There is an enormous business done beyond what the community has an idea of, and we hope the Association will yet find some way to get at the figures, and without exposing " each person's business".
In regard to the practical discussions, it was felt that a nursery business was different to most others. He who followed it had to make a want, supply the want and at the same time educate the people as to how to use properly the things which they bought. The character of the papers read were therefore such as would aid the business man in this educational work.
In regard to the general success of the business, it was believed that the profits for some years back had not been at all commensurate with the capital invested, that stock had generally been sold below cost, but the prevailing tone was that it is better than it has been.
The next meeting will be at St. Louis, with Col. N. J. Colman as President. Among the pleasant features of the meeting was a reception given by the nurserymen of Rochester, under the immediate superintendence of Messrs. Dewey, Gould and Mr. H. Ellwanger. The occasion was one long to be remembered by those who took part in it.
This very useful association will meet this year at Rochester, N. Y., from June 21st to 24th. The proceedings will be very interesting, and it is expected that the attendance will be large. Prof. Meehan, J. J. Thomas, C. L. Watrous, Patrick Barry and others will prepare papers, or make addresses.