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.
Attention is called to the advertisement of G. B. Cheyney, of an old established nursery for sale, which we are assured offers a good opportunity for an investment.
Boston, l5th of December, 1856.
J. J. Smith, Esq., Phila. - Dear Sib: I have Just had the pleasure to receive the last number of the Horticulturist - a pleasure and privilege I have enjoyed monthly, from its commencement in July, 1846, and I take the liberty of an old subscriber to ask your attention to a want which is already seriously felt, viz: a general index to the past volumes. A work so eminently practical, and containing such a vast amount of valuable information, becomes a book of reference, and there are few books in my own library so much used in this way. I am sure not a week passed, in the last year, in which I have not had occasion to look over the ten indexes of the first ten volumes. This labor becomes appalling in prospect of the success which seems to be attending your able conduct of the work, and which guarantees a long continuance of my monthly enjoyment. I find that this feeling is common to many of my friends, and am induced to believe that a general index of the first ten volumes would meet with a very ready sale, at a remunerative price. A periodical index at the close of each ten volumes, would give a permanent character and value to the journal, as if it were an elaborated treatise which would be otherwise incompatible with its periodical and descriptive form.
As the labor would be of collation only, it would not require much of either time or skill. I shall be glad to hear if the plan meets with your approval, for, if there is a probability of receiving such an addition, I shall wait for it, to bind in with my eleventh volume.
Excuse this freedom, but my acquaintance with its founder gives me an affection for his work; and, when I find you drawing on the resources of my friends, Sargent and Lurman, I do not feel that you are altogether a stranger. Very truly yours, J. J. D.
[We are much obliged for the suggestion, but scarcely think it would at present pay the expense necessary to be incurred. A general index, however, may some time be both convenient and necessary, and if we hear of a sufficient demand, shall be forthwith made. - Ed].
Iowa City, Dec. 28,1856.
Dear J -: Iowa City contains about six thousand inhabitants, and six churches, and three public schools (now building.) The capitol is " bird's-eye" stone, and was built some fifteen years ago. The weather, at present, is a mixture of rain, snow, etc. In some places, the land is very good; timber is very scarce - wood being five dollars per cord! In September, the wild plums are ripe, and crab-apples and grapes; the plums grow wild all over the country; there are no chestnuts here, but plenty of hazel-nuts. Fruit is very scarce out here. I have not seen a peach since I have been in Iowa. Apples are selling at five dollars per barrel. This is a great place for game; there are prairie chickens, quails, turkeys, deer, elks, bears, &o. Ton must not believe all you read in the papers; the speculators praise up their land in this way. Tours, truly, Robert Hicks White.
We are requested to say by Messrs. Saxton, Barker, & Co., that they will receive at their store for distribution the Catalogues, etc, of the various Nurserymen, Seed-sellers, etc, the expenses, of course, to be paid on all such parcels sent to them. This is a liberal offer. The store of these gentlemen constitutes the great head-quarters of the Agricultural and Horticultural world, and is therefore the best point from which to make such a distribution.
We shall feel obliged if every nurseryman in the United States will send us a little account of his nursery - the amount of ground occupied - average number of fruit-trees, vines, etc., together with the soil, etc., etc.
Elwood, N. J., August 19th, '67.
Messrs. G. E. & F. W. Woodward: I have noticed in your valuable Journal letters giving this season's experience with strawberries, in which several varieties are rather severely "set down." I will omit names, etc., having no desire to hurt any one's feelings or question their facts, but merely to comment on the prevailing habit of praising or denouncing varieties without giving the reader any clue to whether the soil, the cultivator, or the variety should have the praise or blame. It is a matter of perfect indifference to the public whether Smith, Brown, and Jones succeed or fail with a certain variety. The object of publishing such statements should be to show, if possible, why they succeed or fail, that others may profit by their experience; and for this a knowledge of the nature of the soil, at least, is necessary. For instance, if one writer, who denounces the Jucunda, had told us that they were grown in a sandy soil, which is the case, if I remember aright, his statement would have had a certain amount of value; and if corroborated by a sufficient number of similar experiences, would show that it is not adapted to such a soil. Then we should have learned something.
But if one merely pronounces a variety worthless, only to be contradicted point-blank by equally good authority, who will be any the wiser, though the war of opinions rage to the end of time? These same Jucundas had been "run" the previous year to produce plants, and, I think, his Agriculturists also.
We want a radical change in this matter. Why will not you, Messrs. W., lead off in this reform, by a standing notice, or otherwise, that a description of soil and other particulars should accompany every such statement of results to insure publication or notice? Give us a synopsis of the case with the verdict. I could also throw a little light on the statements of some others; but having said enough to explain my meaning, I will only remark that Metcalf's Early may or may not have "played out" this season. But the failure of two or two dozen growers with it will not justify that assertion. There are a good many things that ought to be uplayed out," however, and among them this evil of giving us facts instead of information.
C. E. F