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.
Quite a strong feeling now prevails among horticultural circles, to assist in the formation of a National Horticultural Society, to hold its session in alternate years with those of the American Pomological Society. Many have mentioned this topic to us, and at Boston, during the session of the American Pomological Society, the idea was broached with considerable force. We would, personally, be glad to see such an organization created, and handsomely supported. It seems to be imperatively needed, for it has a sphere of wide use and influence, and in no sense will it conflict with the claims or the popularity of the American Pomological Society. The latter mainly confines its attention to fruit. The other aims only at a consideration of the more ornamental portion of horticulture - flowers, trees, plants, gardening, etc. We believe most of the working members of the American Pomological Society would join the new organization, and we think superior talent could be called out to properly officer it, and give it dignity, literary character, and an extensive influence. We would propose for such an organization the name of S. B. Parsons as president, and Josiah Hoopes as secretary.
Such a force will draw popularity everywhere.
A National Horticultural Society should certainly be started in this country, although perhaps the present time is not a good one to commence it. When money is scarce, science and learning is generally the first to suffer; but a large undertaking of this sort requires much previous consideration and discussion, so it is well to agitate the subject.
In commencing a project of this kind, much depends on the popularity and taste of the president and other officers of the Society.
The president should be a gentleman of influence and position, a well known patron of horticulture generally; certainly not a nurseryman or florist, as this would probably, among other reasons, cause a jealous feeling among the other members of the trade; neither should it be a man who can only see perfection in one branch of the profession, for in that case he would probably soon ride his hobby to death.
I need only to point to the present condition of the English Royal Horticultural Society to show how not to do it. This society has wasted money enough on hobbies and theories to have made it the most popular and useful society in the world. With the present result that at the end of every financial year, they are on the verge of bankruptcy, and there is a regular fight between the theorists and the few practicals who joined the society for the love and advance of horticulture, and who, hoping for better things, have not, like many others, quitted the society in disgust.
I have only to refer to the time when Knight, Banks and Lindley were the principals in the above society; then were the palmy days at Chiswick; the visitors were so numerous to the show that I have been obliged to pay six times the usual fare for a cab to catch a train in London. Compare the present condition, although patronized by royalty and all the leading nobility of the country, and yet the shows do not pay expenses, for the reason that genuine horticulture is not represented at all, or only in the minority among the heads of the society.
Such men as Hunnewell and Sargent are the class of men required for president, and then select well known nurserymen and florists, including firstrate gardeners, as a working committee; and if decided to hold ex -hibitions in various States, select a local committee to join the general committee in carrying out the details, etc. There should be a library and rooms for meetings to discuss various subjects connected with horticulture, and at which any novelties would be shown to members, and the public generally. If considered desirable, new plants, seeds, etc., might be collected for distribution among the members without interfering with the regular dealer, by distributing things which would be purchased for a few cents from the trade.
In fact a National Horticultural Society would be of much service to all classes, and should be started at the earliest opportunity.
S. Amboy, N. J.
In The Horticulturist for February, and in other late horticultural journals, have been calls for the formation of a national horticultural society. I beg leave to differ with Mr. Taplin, and say the time has come to form it, or at least to take some definite steps in that direction. It is true that money is scarce, but we have waited long enough for the "convenient season," and now is as good a time as ever, so let us get at work as soon as possible. The increasing need of such a society is felt by every one in the profession, and a national organization would be of untold benefit in bringing together the thoughts and experience of different parts of the country. To make the society beneficial, it must be truly national in character, and must gather its material from both the east and the west. With such men as Sargent, Ellwanger, Hoopes, and Parsons from the East, Douglass, Bryant, Miller and Elliott from the prairie States, and others who may come from the Pacific coast, a society might be organized which would be of incalculable benefit to all. Why not hold the first meeting as early as August? Nurserymen are less pushed with work then than at almost any other time, and we shall all be glad of a few days' visit during the dog days.
I would suggest St. Louis as a central point which can be conveniently reached from all directions, and am most earnestly in favor of organizing at once. S. M. Tracy.
It is said to be the practice in Italy, when planting grape vines to scatter a few handfuls of gypsum about the plant.