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.
With the present issue of the Horticulturist my connection with it as its Editor ceases. Undertaken at a time of great physical depression, it has been to me for four years and a half a source of amusement, pleasure, and instruction; but with returning health its duties require greater attention and devotion of time than I am disposed to give it: and in surrendering its duties entirely to the control of the publisher or bis delegates, I trust that I am not parting with the many friends who have kindly been my contributors, and who have given me encouragement in many ways. In common with a large body, and of the older readers of the work especially, I shall always retain a wish for its continued success, and, while leaving it, ask from all its supporters a continuance of their interests and of the favor with which they have always received it.
Germontoum, Pa., Nov. 20, 1859. JNO. Jay SMITH.
The present number closes the fifteenth volume of the Horticulturist. Its long career has been accompanied by a very marked improvement in orchards and gardens, and a vast advance in our knowledge of the true principles of culture, no less than of landscape adornment. The period has been marked, too, by a great advance in the steam communications between distant countries, and the consequent easier introduction of new and valuable plants. China and Japan have yielded several products of universally acknowledged value or beauty, while in fruits superior to our own we have little to record. We seem in this country to have taken the matter into our own bands; while we reject nothing that will suit our climate, if it is superior to what we already possess, by raising seedlings, by hybridizing, and by searching the woods, we are getting around us the most valuable esculents. The great demand for pear trees caused a searching investigation into the merits of all kinds, and we are settling down to the few best. Grapes are undergoing the same process now; it would be safe to assert that from the multitude a small number of these, also, will in the end be all that we shall require.
With a dozen pears and half a dozen open-air grapes, we could do very well, and to this complexion shall we come at last. Our standard of value is rising, but we know enough already to reject a large portion of those which have been attempted to be introduced. The Delaware, Rebecca, and Diana grapes will gradually take the place of our older sorts, wherever we have climatic influences for their successful ripening; what is wanted is the undisputable dicta of well-informed local societies, or single authorities, for each district of country. In pear culture, we shall learn in time what soil and climate shall be our producing section, with, probably, as much certainty as bur grass and cotton regions. With grapes it will be necessary to consult climate especially, seeing that some do not come to a perfect state in one place, while they succeed perfectly in others. This knowledge is rapidly being diffused; the attention of the nomologists and of pomological societies will be more and more turned to this interesting topic; catalogues will convey the information we require, and our numerous journals will enforce it.
Since the establishment of the Horticulturist, and the impetus it gave to the study of its topics, various periodicals have made a specialty of gardening and orchard culture; thus an increasing interest has been excited in the minds of the farmers - they are gradually surrounding themselves with flowers and fruits. It most be confessed, however, that there is much room for further improvement in this respect.
Contemporaneous with these results is the vast increase in the number of nurseries and gardeners which marks even our frontier States. In this connection, the multiplied intelligence of these useful men, as a body, is evinced at their meetings, in their catalogues, and in the knowledge with which very many businesses are conducted. A good nurseryman or gardener can scarcely fail to be an intelligent and companionable man. He reads, reflects, and must be a close student to sift the true from the false in the mass that is continually presented to him. He has learned by experience that it is not always the newest that is the best; that to run after the "lo! heres " and the "lo! theres" is not always his true policy; he must, however, be always on the qui vive for the good and the popular, or he will be left behind in the race.
The Horticulturist continues to receive the contributions of the active minds of the country, and if its usefulness is at all commensurate with the labor that has been bestowed upon its pages, the editor will be perfectly satisfied with the result. The publisher finds no cause of dissatisfaction in its moderate remuneration, though he would gladly receive still farther evidences of its appreciation. Its number of readers was never so great as at the issue of this, its closing number of the fifteenth volume. With the steady advances in all the departments, from the kitchen-garden to the grapery and orchard-house, comes a steady increase of patronage, the public having ascertained that improvement in each will be rapidly chronicled'and no effort be spared to communicate all that is known and established. The publishing arrangements are more full and complete than ever before; and the acquisition by the proprietors of the entire stock of the agricultural and horticultural works of Mr. A. O. Moore makes this publication office "head-quarters" for all books connected with these departmeuta - a result which will not be without its influence on the career of The Horticulturist.