This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V21", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
A correspondent on page 105 of the April Monthly, presents as he asserts some pretty rough facts in regard to gardeners, but it invariably happens that there are two sides to every subject. Does the correspondent referred to employ gardeners, or merely those who call themselves so; who usurp the name without the slightest claim to it good or bad ?
It is well known that on horticultural matters, almost every person has or pretends to have a small smattering of knowledge, and it is generally those who have the least that are most anxious to exhibit what little they possess, and they are also most reluctant in their concessions to those who have more. I have in my day observed that it is frequently the fault of those who are employed in the laborious operations of horticulture, to be blamed for failure without being praised for success; and to be censured for casualties which they could neither foresee nor avert. Many people who amuse themselves with horticultural matters though zealous enough, reason themselves into conclusions as absurd as they are antagonistic to nature.
I think it will be admitted by all that the mind is more enlightened on any art by practice than by mere study, and the advancement of the same is hindered by an unquestioned submission to dictatorial. decisions. The purely practical man is very often bewildered in the mazes of conflicting opinion which might be clearly illustrated by a single fact; provided that the fact and illustration together are not both obscured by a maze of metaphysical sophistry.
When we reflect how comparatively little the most enlightened can boast of, and how much must necessarily elude the diligence of the most vigilant observer, must we take for granted the judgement and verdict, simply because the same emanates from some illustrious amateur who can make an ostentatious boast of being the possessor of "fine oaks, broad fields and brood mares?" Our amateur friends should remember in their critical lucubrations, that there are many things in the rude school of self-experience that theory does not teach.
Endeavors to discover useful facts are always laudable: but we ought to be silent in regard to dubious results, rather than publish them at the risk of misguiding others. A man ought to deliberate when he is doubtful, and inquire when he is ignorant, nor ought he to proclaim a principle upon hasty experiments. Many people advertise for a gardener when in reality they want a porter, who of course fears God, and can carry a ton, and I am convinced should your correspondent feel disposed to make the inquiries, that he will with rare exceptions, find the gardeners superior to their places; yet the fact is unfortunately too true that they are indiscriminately judged, and the value set upon a gardener in this boastive "paper" country of ours, is very little more than that set on a common laborer; and before horticulture will flourish, we have to "study the comfort and pleasure of our employers." The same we think we know to be our duty, but why not suggest a mutual endeavor? Thinks the same authority, taste has nothing to do with the matter.
The science and art of Horticulture, are not far enough advanced in this country with rare exceptions, for the gardener to have the privileges of studying the pleasure and comfort of their employers, inasmuch as it takes all our time to get through the rough work without attempting the fine. I do not know your correspondent, - he may be an honorable exception, - but let him find out what many of us have to put up with ere he judge our conduct. Neither should he be controlled by the despotic opinionism of men whose pride, humor, interest, or inclination may lead into the indiscriminate criticism of subjects and things beyond their capacity, and not consistent with their belief.