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.
The next meeting f the American Pomological Society is to be held at Boston, in the autumn of the present year. t is desirable that all who have the objects of the Society at heart, should remember it in time, nd endeavor to collect and arrange all the information in their power during the coming season, tat experience should teach the means of more efficient future action; and that it may do so, t will be well to recur to the proceedings of former sessions, not for the mere sake of finding ault, but to learn how to avoid faults hereafter. The importance of the subject is sufficiently vinced by the fact that its discussion has called together, on every occasion, so large and intel-igent a body of men from every section of the Union, as well as the British Provinces. The abor and cost of these assemblies have fallen heavily upon the members, but no shirking or hrinking have ensued. No similar body of men will ever assemble with a readier will to work; nd it will be much easier for their successors to carry out their plans, than it was for them to collect and digest the materials of which those plans are the result The machine is made and rat together, and started.
Henceforth it needs only to be kept oiled and free from clogs.
The greatest bar to efficient action heretofore, has been the want of such system as would revent loss of time. When two or three hundred men assemble for a specific purpose, at inter-rals of two years, many of them performing long journeys for the purpose, and then devote only two or three days to the work they have to do, it is obvious that time is the most precious commodity they have to deal with. The five minute glass should occupy a conspicuous position on the speaker's desk; and, to be justly emblematic, its sands should be of gold. So far as naterial arrangement is concerned, nothing could be better than was provided at the last meet-ng. Every convenience for the exhibition of the fruit, the comfort of the members, and the accommodation of the committees was provided by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, tome of the contributors, however, were guilty of a provoking omission in neglecting to label their fruits. Every one who sends fruit should have a list to give to the Secretary, and a label for every specimen prepared before hand.
But the great loss of time has been occasioned by exterior, is worth more than a polished style without a basis of sound judgment But every one will acknowledge the fact that a great deal was said which was of no use or interest; and it is not surprising that those who appreciate the importance of the work, should be somewhat restive under an infliction of dullness, whose background is not even relieved by the comfortable prospect of eight dollars a day, but which, on the contrary, must be paid for out of their own pockets. The "order of business," according to the bye laws adopted at the last meeting, is as follows:
1, Credentials or Delegates Presented.
2. Address or the President. 3. Election of Officers.
4. Retorts or State Fruit Committers 6. New Business.
The performance of the three first named duties, with the arrangement of the fruit for exhibition, will be as much as can reasonably be hoped for the first day. The second day would therefore begin with Reports of State Fruit Committees. These reports are exceedingly interesting documents for study or reference, but are too long to be read to the meeting, and have heretofore been passed to the Secretary, to be published in the record of proceedings. Next comes "New Business," which means anything connected with horticultural matters which any member chooses to bring forward, and consists generally of discussions of the characteristics of different fruits. This, therefore, is the most interesting and practically useful part of the proceedings - the part in which every speaker should be most concise and directly to the point - the object being simply to elicit facts. It so happens, however, that many of the most thoroughly practical men, who possess the richest store of facts, are the ones who are most diffident, and have least fluency of speech. It were to be wished that every one would remember that the assembly at such times is simply a court, before which they are only witnesses for or against the character of the fruit under discussion.
If they know anything bearing upon the case, which is not already sufficiently proved, let them say it in as few words as possible; if they know nothing, let them be silent If, however, every member would bear in mind, during the coming summer, that he is to appear as a witness next autumn, and would take pains to note down, at the time, every item of evidence which falls under his observation, and have his notes at hand for reference when the subjects come up, it would greatly facilitate business and give much more force to the final decision, than if each one depended on memory alone. It is to be hoped that this plan will be generally adopted.
Nothing would be of more essential value than accounts of carefully conducted experiments, tending to elucidate new facts or decide disputed points. But the fact is, there are few men who are capable; or, if capable, who have the time and opportunity for conducting horticultural experiments in such a manner as to arrive at conclusive, or even very reliable results. So many elements are involved, and these elements are subject to such an infinite variety of changes' that it requires keen observation, sound judgment, and untiring patience, to carry out any really important experiment in culture. It is not to be done in one year, and may require the coae-tion of several parties. Unless it is thoroughly performed, it is worse than useless; for it may lead to wrong conclusions, and, enlisting party spirit on its side, bar the passage to correct investigation. If any one doubts either of the above assertions, let him begin the perusal of all that has been written on the "Strawberry question," and report his opinion after he is through.
Still, it is to this source that we must look for the most valuable results; and the Pomologies! Society could in no way more effectually advance its objects, than by instituting a series of experiments, to be conducted at different points, under the superintendence of Committees, who should report at the biennial meetings. The results of such experiments would have much more weight than those arrived at by an individual; but it is doubtful whether the Society is yet in.
At the former meetings of the Society, it has been customary at the outset to appoint a Committee to examine and report upon new fruits - a most important duty, and one which has called for the services of the best horticulturists, whose names may be found on the lists of that Committee. The effect has been to banish those men to a side room on several occasions when their voices and votes would have been most valuable in the general assembly. This is an evil which might be remedied; and it is for those who take the lead to think of such things, and make such arrangements as will prevent their repetition.
So far as can be judged from present appearances, the coming season will furnish abundant means for collecting such information as will make the next meeting an exceedingly interesting one. The horticultural journals ought, therefore, to "keep it before the people," and every one should exert himself to the utmost to contribute to the fund which is for mutual benefit.