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.
Can you understand and pity the state of a man too contented with his own home? I am that unhappy creature. I was so unfortunate as to be long in a very confining employment, but with plenty of time to read. Chance threw in my way Loudon's Garden-eri Magazine; the whole series I devoured, with all his other books - Encyclopaedia of Gardening, of Plants, etc., etc. I got to work in a little garden, and soon filled it with walks, and plants, and fountains - birds, fishes, and a miniature plant case - and a plant cabinet. I ousted my wife from her dressing room, and filled it with bees - made more honey than all the family and its relatives could consume, and got tired of the subject I conceived incredible expectations of a country garden - where I should have space for trees, a conservatory, and a green-house. My imagination ran riot in prospects of constant delights, in perpetually observing the expansion of flowers; never-failing occupation in planting and potting; vegetables and fruits the year round, of my own rearing; and so happy as not to require any other excitement.
I have realized my dream - I am too happy and contented at home! I never have the least inclination to go any where else! unless it be to see some new plant, or an improved mode of cultivating fruit Society, in its old sense, has lost its charm; parties are a dreadful bore. From morning to night I find new and delightful occupation on my own premises, and dread the sight of a lady or gentleman wending their way through my gate, because of the danger of their occupying my precious time devoted to the companionship of my plants and trees.
Is not this the greatest unhappiness! My friends believe me to be melancholy, unsocial, even demented. Can yon, in your " Answers to Correspondents," give me a remedy to cure this new and unheard-of distemper! Before I ask this, I should detail some of the symptoms:
Loudon laid the foundation of my complaint; a visit to the best rural residences in America and Europe increased it; Downing and the Horticulturist confirmed it " Embellish your home " seemed a command that I must obey. I have, they say, succeeded; but my distress continues. I am perpetually striving after new effects; constantly planting out new borders, multiplying new shrubs, or planting new fruits. I have every new Pear set down by the learned pomologists as even "promising well;" have all vegetables, in and out of season. But I have heard of a gentleman in England who " could cut a Pine every day in the year:" must I aim at this too, or must my ambition be confined to the ability of only a daily boquet. Camellias grown in the earth, and attaining the size of Peach trees, are possible things: must my ever-pushing and har-rassing hobby drive me to this too ? I rise in the morning, full of the work to be done for the day: the day is too short to accomplish my plans. In short, I am completely happy, except when the borers take possession of my fruit trees, or the curculio of the fruity,* or I have so much that is excellent as to be compelled to oblige my friends and neighbors with a part.
Pray, Mr. Editor, do give your advice, and a remedy to the very first person that has complained to you that he is "too contented at home," Atticus.
Atticus has presented somewhat of a novel case. A man too happy is a rata avis indeed. The only remedy we can suggest is, that he immediately agree with himself to think he has attained the summum bonum this earth can give; and if he still determines to hug his idea that he is too happy, let him enlarge his grounds by fifty more acres, build ten more green-houses and conservatories, and be entirely happy. After he has done this we will advise further.
In some parts of Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin there have been frosts of unusual severity - destroying whole orchards of fruit that had not been gathered. Previous to this occurrence the fruit crop was unusually fine, and had given great encouragement to the extension of orchards.
* If the borers should write a book on "Insects Injurious to Fruit," they would assuredly class man as the most destructive.