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 Conversational Meeting of June 10th was held in the new room of the Society, at the Academy of Music. The table was decorated with a fine collection of fruits and flowers, contributed by Messrs. Burgess, Weir, Humphries, Fuller, and others. The subject of the evening was announced by President De-grauw. The flowers were passed around among the audience by Secretary Miller, and called forth many remarks of commendation. Not having been present at the conversation, we copy the following from the Brooklyn News.
Mr. Fuller then proceeded to enlarge upon the merits of the herbaceous plants he had brought with him, taking each specimen, and giving its botanical name and peculiar characteristics, commented upon the sad neglect of our native American plants shown by our horticulturists and others, who take pains to collect plants and flowers, and cultivate them for their greenhouses. In illustration of the indifference to the beauties and wealth of Nature's vegetable world, shown by the majority of the dollar-worshipping of our countrymen, he alluded to the fact shown in California, where, while we sent out men to dig gold, England also sent the learned of her botanists to explore the vegetable world of the new El Dorado for its wealth, an instance being shown in the discovery of the "Wellingtonia gigantea," by an English botanist, while the Yankee gold-digger passed it by without notice, in his eager search for the mineral wealth that lay hidden at the foot of the great tree. He then branched into a brief discussion of the advantages to horticulture derived from the bureau of agriculture attached to the Patent Office at Washington, He was quite severe in his comments on the maladministration of its affairs, especially on the inconsistency of continuing to send to foreign countries for seeds and cuttings of plants, the originals of which are either natives of this country, or have already been cultivated here.
As an illustration, he alluded to the expense incurred in importing the disagreeable Ailantus, simply because it had a high-sounding title, and was imported from China. He was rejoiced to see that it was being rapidly superseded by the blooming and fragrant "Paulownia," the tree that within this past week or so had flowered so beautifully in our streets.
He also briefly remarked upon the fine display of strawberries, and mentioned the fact that the purest seedling strawberries came from America, their introduction to England being the commencement of the culture of that berry there; and that, although the original culture of this fruit was commenced in this country as far back as 1629, by a Virginian, it was not until some twenty-five years ago that its culture was properly attended to in America, Hovey's seedling being the first successful effort, the produce of which was shown in the samples exhibited. Mr. Fuller concluded by suggesting the propriety of making some pertinent inquiries as to whether the government could not be induced to do something in support of the objects aimed at by our horticultural societies.
Mr. Cavanach agreed with Mr. Fuller in his views in relation to the Patent Office.
At this period the President remarked that he thought the subject was taking too wide a range, and begged that the speakers would confine their remarks to the discussion of the subject named. President Degrauw took occasion also to add that the great difficulties in the way of our Horticultural Societies, was the apathy that existed among the general public in regard to Horticulture. He remarked that his position as President of the Society, in which he had undertaken at one time to collect dues from members, had afforded him many illustrations of this fact, as well as the lack of taste and appreciation of the subject of horticulture among those who possessed greenhouses attached to their dwellings, many of whom had them placed there merely for show; one wealthy gentleman residing in this city, that he could mention, even going so far as to make his greenhouse a source of pecuniary profit arising from the sale of his flowers to gardeners for bouquets. On one occasion, also, while visiting the residence of a wealthy man of this city to collect the fees for his ticket of membership, a duty the President had volunteered to perform in his eagerness to sec the Society sustained, he was met with a rebuff that showed the character of the man he was applying to.
Fortunately, this tasteless dollar-worshipper had a sensible lady for his wife, who happened to be in the parlor at the time her husband was excusing himself for not paying the fee of three dollars for the member's ticket. On inquiring of her husband who it was he was talking to, he replied that it was "the collector of the Horticul-tural Society." This lady, it appears, possessed some taste, and fully appreciated the advantages derivable from the Society, and therefore, requesting the collector to enter the parlor, immediately handed the amount required to the President, at the same time expressing her hope that the Society would be fully sustained by the wealthy citizens of Brooklyn. After some further converse with the lady in question, the President left; and having promised to send her some flowers, he made up a handsome bouquet from the collection in his greenhouse, and sent the same with his compliments to the new lady member, and it was then only she learned that the "collector" was the worthy and esteemed President of the Society.
Dr. Trimble then called attention to the curling of the leaves of plants, and proceeded to give a highly interesting description of the insects that thus curled the leaves, in doing which he referred to the "Curculio," live specimens of which he exhibited in the course of the evening.
Mr. Brophy also made a few appropriate remarks in eulogy of the subject of the study of horticulture, and also of the fair sex in connection therewith. Mr. Fuller suggested as a subject for discussion at the next meeting, "Botany and Entomology in relation to Horticulture," but at the suggestion of Mr. Brophy the subject of the evening was set down for the next meeting.