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 vicinity of New York, as might naturally be expected where commerce has left its most remarkable imprints, and has consigned to the industrious and successful an amount of spending money nowhere else, in this country, to be paralleled, presents some remarkable features of rural life and adornment which it is well to chronicle.
Breaking away from our editorial chair, we have lately made excursions to some of these spots, omitting, for the present, many places that are worthy of remark.
We first visited Dr. J. M. Ward,, near Newark, N. J. The doctor is engaged in the laudable pursuit of fruit culture, for the New York market. This he does from a love of the subject, no less than with a view to the benefit of himself and his family; his example is one which we should be glad to see followed by other gentlemen, who, by showing what may be done by the employment of capital and intelligence, will be the means of teaching others, and thus a better supply of wholesome fruit will be at the command of our great cities, now but half supplied. The demand appears to be unlimited; in New York, for instance, his agents, the middle men, a class of honest dealers who have risen up since the mode of sending fruit by wholesale, instead of accompanying it, and chaffering for the market value, keep an account of the quantity received from each cultivator, and allow full returns in a most business-like way. Thus one* of the most serious difficulties is obviated. Dr. Ward employs pickers at so much a bushel or quart, and by. the hour; he can be mostly at home to superintend these operations; the fruit is forwarded by a regular steamboat, consigned to the middle-man, who receives it within an hour or two, has his market engaged for each variety, and the distribution goes on like clock-work. You may leave Dr. Ward's at breakfast-time, and dine at Delmonico's, on his strawberries, which were being picked when you started; or be at a private party in the Fifth Avenue, in, the evening, enjoying his grapes or pears, which left Newark at four o'clock.
The proprietor enjoys a great advantage of his own; as the fruit ripens by degrees, the first picking of grapes, blackberries, or strawberries, being insufficient for market, the family have the earliest for themselves and their friends, and, by the time the period of abundance has arrived, they have probably had sufficient to satisfy all, and can devote the whole remaining crop to sales. Dr. Ward has five acres of strawberries, an acre and a half of raspberries, one acre of grapes, two hundred cherry-trees planted along his paths and roads, in such positions as not to injure the other crops by their shade, one thousand pear-trees, standards and dwarfs, half an acre or more of currants, and his place is beautified with shade and ornamental trees, forming a tout ensemble of plenty and beauty such as thousands living in cities might envy, and if they would study the subject as the doctor studiea it, might reap rich returns from.
Though this place has, been in the tenure of its present owner but ten years, the returns are already nearly sufficient for the wants of a large family. The strawberry culture is of recent introduction, and we shall be surprised if the entire returns of the present season do not considerably exceed three thousand dollars, with abundance of all farm produce for himself. Surrounded by beautiful scenery, fine wood and water, an intelligent home and visiting circle, our friend and correspondent enjoys a life much to his own taste, and confers a useful boon on his fellow-men. In winter, the family remove to Philadelphia, where the doctor lectures to a class of medical students, and attends to the education of his family. This is a picture so pleasing to the mind, and so eminently worthy of imitation for its utility, that our host will pardon our holding it up in this way as an example to others. Already his neighborhood is benefited and improved by seeing his success: in a few years, this section of New Jersey will be a main prop in supplying the greedy maw of its neighbor, New York, to the advantage of both.
Dr. Ward, after much examination, has adopted the Iowa or Washington Strawberry, as producing a large and valuable crop. Burr's new Pine, he thinks, will prove too soft for a carrying crop, though its flavor is unsurpassed. The Early Scarlet follows Iowa in ripening, and is a good market kind. Hovey's Seedling he considers an excellent market crop, and that it must always continue to be valuable. Several other kinds are under experimental cultivation. We were so fortunate as to be there at the earliest picking, when the citizens were paying any price demanded for the first berries of a good size and from the neighborhood, the Southern ones being discarded as soon as the Jersey crop made its appearance. The pear-trees here will yield an average crop, which may be worth a thousand dollars; much more than this sum will, no doubt, be realized per annum, when the standard trees come into bearing. Dr. Ward has himself enlightened our readers on his mode of pear culture, so that we need not enter now on the subject. All the larger cities of the Union, and even very many small ones, offer inducements to cultivators to pursue the system we have faintly indicated.
A few years only will elapse before this gentlemanly system will be extensively imitated.
We also visited the nursery grounds of Mr. William Reed, of Elizabethtown, N. J., which are among the neatest and best kept in America. His lawn around his house was so neatly sheared, and in such fine condition, as to put to the blush many grand gentlemen's seats. Mr. Reed is famous for the beauty of his specimen hedges, which he shears twice a year, in June and September. The three-thorned locust, Gledditchia triaoanthos, he considers to be the best for a farm hedge, superior to the Madura for turning cattle, and having this advantage, that when planted close, if neglected, it still forms an impenetrable fence. His beech, arbor vitae, holly, juniper, Japan quince, and other hedges, are fine examples of beauty added to scenery by this method.
We saw here fine specimens of the Magnolia conspicua, Purple Elm, Pinus palustris, or long-leaved Pine, White Spruce, Juniperus oblonga pendula, and Communis pendula or Cracovia, Savin, Halesia diptera, a plant now much sought after, the Holly-leaved Cherry, and many of the new Evergeens and rarities which he takes pleasure in introducing. Mr. Reed's nurseries are all drained, and he therefore lifts his trees for spring sales at an earlier date than others; broad avenues of well pastured grass intersect his grounds, and through these the water from the drains trickles in the driest seasons. Every nurseryman should see Mr. Reed's establishment; there are flew who could not reap advantage from his example. Our next will conduct the reader to' Staten Island and the North River;