This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V26", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Every year the country is canvassed by agents selling trees; some no doubt are honest, but a great many are first-class frauds, not only charging enormous prices for their something extraordinary, but filling their orders for these wonderful things with the cheapest and often the poorest varieties that can be purchased; which are often obtained from the nearest nursery, caring nothing what the fruit will be so it is a fair looking tree.
This last summer an agent sold hundreds of apple trees that he claimed were grafted on imported Siberian stocks, price $5.00 per dozen; and no less than a dozen sold to one man was his rule.
Now we know this was the veriest humbug; even if the roots had been imported from Siberia they would be no better than those grown in this country if as good.
Another agent had the audacity to sell California grapes in New Albany and fill the same with vines with the label yet to them saying, "Concord." This was not so bad for the purchaser, however, as the Concord is a very good grape. He only paid $1.80 more on each vine than the same could be purchased for at any nursery.
A few years ago a nurseryman in our state had a lot of seedling peach trees that had been cut off and had sent up several fine looking shoots; these he was digging up and throwing over the fence. A man coming along asked for them and they were given to him. These trees were sold at $1.00 each, the trees being double and triple grafted according to his representations, and much more valuable than if only one scion or bud was inserted.
About every three or four years the " Blue Rose-men" visit Louisville. I visited one of these establishments and found for sale strawberry trees that would bear the same year they were set out, asparagus roots that would bear in three weeks after setting out, price $3.00 per dozen. Judging by the picture, and which he said was correct, it was worth the money just to look at such wonderful stocks.
Then there was the Gladiolus with double flowers and twice as prolific of flowers as any to be had in this country.
Tree roses that bore twelve different kinds of roses and monthly; pear trees which surpassed any thing to be obtained in this country, every tree bearing pears weighing pounds; raspberries that were monthly - we don't remember whether they bore all winter or not. They were many other things equally rare, including cherry trees that bore cherries an inch in diameter and without seeds.
We wonder why some enterprising man don't change business a little and sell geese that lay golden eggs, but their policy seems to be just the reverse - sell to geese and get the golden egg.
New Albany, Indiana.
[As no reader of the Gardeners' Monthly . would be caught by such barefaced frauds as these, no cure is accomplished by exposing them in our magazine. Only those who are too penurious to subscribe for a good paper get caught by these sharpers, and we have not the slightest sympathy with them. There are large numbers of honest agents, and fair-minded dealers. Our experience is that these far outnumber the rogues. It ought to be their place to combine and show the people the rascalities of the wolves in sheep's clothing who are preying on penurious ignorance. A large number of honest dealers expect people to trust their word and honor, and take it as an impertinence if the customer puts the question of "who are you?" The honest agent expects the buyer to wholly trust a stranger, and the dishonest one finds his strongest aid in this practice. When the people who do not subscribe to good papers are taught by honest agents always to demand credentials from well known persons, there will not be much room for such frauds as our correspondent describes. - Ed. G. M].