This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
Incidentally there are other ways by which extension work may be accomplished. Enough already has been accomplished to show that organized extension work has a large and increasing influence upon the horticulture of a state.
Like any other great movement in behalf of human progress, the measure of success of extension work in horticulture depends largely on its proper organization. It offers a multitude of opportunities for work that the world needs to have done. As indicated above, the work is approached in numerous ways. Unless properly organized there is danger of scattered effort, duplication, and failure to follow up results so as to give stability and permanence. It should be a factor in the organized extension work of the entire institution of which it is a part. The question then arises as to whether the work should be undertaken by a separate corps of workers, especially trained for the purpose, and acting under the direction of an extension department head, or whether, since it relates to a special professional field, it should be carried by the officers of the department of horticulture in the college and experiment station. To the writer, the latter seems to be the more rational arrangement. It is no doubt true that if a corps of men do extension work exclusively, with no definitely organized relation to college teaching and experiment station investigation, there will be a tendency to lose touch with higher educational ideals and failure to take to the people the stimulus of productive investigation and the last word in scientific advancement.
Undoubtedly there is a tendency, especially on the part of younger men who have the faculty of appealing to the popular audience, to become satisfied with the plaudits of the multitude, and to strive only to enthuse and amuse, unless they are closely connected with college and station work. While one function of extension work may be to inspire and exhort, the day has passed when that alone is sufficient. The commercial horticulturist has reached a plane of development when he needs definite helpful instruction. Attractive letters and lectures are no longer sufficient. He needs, in addition, so far as it is possible to supply it, definite demonstrations of how to do his work according to the most approved methods. The men most closely in touch with strong college teaching and station investigation should be the best fitted to supply this need.
Furthermore, the college teacher or investigator equally needs intimate contact with the commercial grower and his problems. His problems are the problems of the teacher and the investigator. The above conclusions do not dispute the fact that an individual may have especial talent and taste for extension work and lack the plodding patience to make a strong investigator. He may largely devote his time to extension if only the organization keeps him closely finked with college and station men. On the other hand, a productive investigator may not best succeed as a popular lecturer and may give most of his time to investigation. His help may be indispensable in solving some of the difficult problems that arise in the field of extension. The organization of the individuals doing college and station work, ought to afford that union of relationship that will enable the director of extension to call the department of horticulture to his aid. The organization within the department should be best able to supply this need by calling upon the individual best fitted to meet the specific demand.
J. C. Whitten.