This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
There can be no doubt of the importance of local Horticultural Societies, for the guidance of each district or climate. All plants have a zone of their own; their successful growth is dependent upon very small differences of heat, cold, moisture and aspect. You may find a solitary fern under a particular exposure, a small patch only, no other specimen being known in the vicinity. So with fruits, experiments with regard to which are by no means sufficiently tested to give proper information for all cases. The vine in Europe is an example, because it has undergone the test of time, stimulated by the profit much knowledge alone will impart.
It was formerly supposed that, by transplantation into different districts, the excellence of the better kind of wine would be preserved. If, however, the vine is removed from a warmer to a colder region, the saccharine contents, as a general rule, diminish; and they increase, if it is brought from a colder to a warmer district. Temperature and soil, together, determine, to a very great extent, the kind of grape. To no other cause can the perpetuation of the innumerable varieties be ascribed. Other appearances, however, in the character of the wine, says Professor Mulder, teach us that the soil may be exhausted just as much by the vine as any other plant. There are districts in France where very famous wines were formerly made, and where only inferior kinds can now be produced. The wines of Orleans are now considered very inferior to those of Burgundy, whereas, formerly the reverse was the case. It may be said the vine is an alkaline plant; give it potash enough, and the wine will be better. But this is not the case.
Orleans yields wine enough - a proof that there is potash enough in the ground, and yet the wine is no longer so good as formerly.
Now, as regards climate, we have yet these things to study, and they must be studied carefully, and in some measure by local societies, which should turn their attention particularly to this point No American Pomological Society can establish a code for the Union, unless aided by State, county and city societies. We have a large field for study, and those individuals who will confer the greatest benefits on their fellow-men, will be those who will promulgate accurate information from their own districts. The "unfortunate" Pear controversy owes its origin to an attempt to lay down the law from the success of particular localities, and so it will be with the grape, if we are not careful. Mr. Yardley Taylor makes a valuable contribution on the subject of Climate, etc, in the present number.
The Advisory Agricultural Board had a good, time at Washington, and it is hoped some good will grow out of it. Col. Wilder has thrown his energetic mind into the matter, and hopes for great things. Mr.Holt went with the members to see President Buchanan, and Mr. Wilder addressed him as follows:
"Mr. President; We appear before you, as has been stated by the honorable Commissioner, as a body of Agriculturists, who are assembled as an Advisory Board, at his invitation, and under the sanction of the Secretary of the Interior. We have been for several days engaged in the performance of our duties, and hope that they will not only be serviceable to the department, but beneficial to our own districts, and to the whole country at large. Agriculture is the great business of our people; it is the great source of national and individual wealth. And when we consider the vast extent of our territory, embracing almost every variety of soil and climate, and capable of producing almost every agricultural product of the world; and when wo reflect upon our rapidly-increasing population, already spreading 'themselves down our mountain slopes and over our broad valleys - a population which, ere the close of the present century, will, in all human probability, reach two hundred millions of souls, it then becomes a matter of vast moment that the interest of Agriculture should receive the fostering care and patron age of the Government, and that this branch of industry should be advanced to its highest state of cultivation. This, Mr. President, is the mission of the farmer.
And, believing that you would sympathize with us in these views, we could not return to our several homes without paying you our personal respects, and expressing to you our most sincere desire for your health, welfare and future usefulness. Long may you continue to enjoy the confidence of a grateful people, and the consolation resulting from a well-spent life. And may your last days be your best days".
To which the President responded cordially.