This treatise forms the third part of "The Young Gardener's Assistant," which, when first issued, in 1829, contained only 96 pages. Since that period, so constant has been the demand for the work, that numerous editions have been published; and being made to embrace the three most important branches of gardening, the entire work has extended to upward of five hundred pages. As each branch forms a distinct subject, the author has been induced to publish the ninth edition in three separate volumes, each of which is complete in itself. The first contains ample directions for the cultivation of culinary vegetables and herbs; the second is designed for the cultivator of flowers; and the present volume is intended to qualify the reader for the superintendence of his own orchard and fruit garden.
Those who wish to obtain a book embracing the three subjects, can be accommodated with the tenth edition of the -Young Gardener's Assistant, in octavo form, and which is destined to remain for some time to come, the American standard work on Horticulture in general.
It is presumed that the pomologist will find in this little volume more information on the subject than he could reasonably expect in so small a compass. All the most esteemed species of fruit are treated of under distinct heads, to which is added a descriptive list of the finest varieties under cultivation; and from the several descriptive lists of fruits having been selected from the catalogues of the most eminent nurserymen in our country, it is presumed that they are well calculated to suit the generality of cultivators.
The varieties of the different species of fruit under culti vation are by far too numerous to encourage any attempt to publish a complete description of all. Even to enumerate them would be a difficult task, owing to the great uncertainty of their true names, and the multiplicity of names under which they are known in different places. Those cultivators who are more anxious to raise large quantities of trees for sale, than to test their characteristics, are often led into error by cherishing the belief that the names of all the varieties they propagate are indisputably correct; and hence it is that so many of our fruits are frequently sold under wrong names. Persons who purchase trees under such circumstances, on discovering a mistake, are apt to compare the fruit with others of a similar character, and very frequently adopt synonymous names, which increases the evil to such an extent, that, unless a nurseryman tests all the various kinds by specimen trees kept for the purpose in his own orchard, he cannot always be certain what variety he is selling. I do not, however, by these remarks intend to reflect on any of our respectable nurserymen, because the vast improvement making every year in their catalogues is a convincing proof that they are aiming at perfection in their collections.
In the following pages I have endeavoured to do justice to each article, by embodying all the essential points of cultivation, and as our native vines are destined to become very generally cultivated in the United States, I have occupied over sixteen pages in treating of vine culture, and can truly 6ay that I have thoroughly weighed every point before putting my pen to paper, and have not in any case adopted mere speculative theory, as is too often done by compilers of gardening books.
As I am not disposed to tire the reader with a lengthy preface, I shall conclude by reminding him that the Calen dar and Index is intended as a key to the body of the work; thus, the most important business of each month is briefly 6hown, with figures of reference to that particular page which treats more fully on the subject. The advantages of this plan must be evident to the most superficial observer.