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 Society met at the Academy of Music, on Tuesday evening, June 24th, President Degrauw in the chair. On the table were paintings of flowers by Mrs. Stirrup; Antirrhinums, Petunias, a very fine seedling Rose, etc., from Mr. Burgess; and cases of insects from Mr. Weibe.
A letter was read from Messrs. Graef and Weibe, proposing a plan for the destruction of the measure worm in the city, which they wished the Society to examine and recommend. They proposed to rid the city of worms by the year 1864. They wished to know how far the Society would aid them in the matter in case of success, claiming no compensation until a committee should report favorably.
After much discussion by Messrs. Eastman, Jones, Spooner, Barnard, Fuller, Burgess, and others, it was moved by Judge Greenwood, that a committee be appointed, to report at next meeting. Dr. Jones, Judge Greenwood, L. B. Wy-man, Rev. Dr. Storrs, H. A. Spooner, Professor Eaton, S. J. Eastman, Dr. Trimble, and Judge Murphy, were appointed said committee.
Dr. Jones stated that the worms were already in our gardens on all kinds of trees, plants, and shrubs. As far as he had investigated the matter, they were first seen about twenty-four years ago, even on the Ailantus.
Dr. Thome had tried every thing to rid his trees of the pest, but had been unsuccessful.
Mr. S. J. Eastman, said he had found more benefit from placing small wren houses in the trees and about his grounds than from any thing else he had done, and he had no doubt if the city would do it generally, it would be productive of much good, and then have strict laws for the punishment of any one injuring or frightening away the birds from the streets and trees of the city.
Mr. S. B. Brophy read a communication from Mr. L. Brandeis, on the Anacha-ris alsinostrum, a fresh water plant of wonderful powers of increase, not known among botanists to have flower bearing plants. Mr. Brandeis has had it flower in his aquarium, and regards the discovery as an item of great interest in botany.
A. S. Fuller stated that the Rose of Mr. Burgess was only a sample of what might be accomplished by raising seedlings. No one could plant seedlings but what they would get something good, and they might get a very superior one which would be worth thousands of dollars.
Mr. S. B. Brophy hoped the practical gardeners present, when speaking of roses or any kind of flowers, would give the members the qualifications of a perfect plant, fruit, or flower, and what was necessary to constitute it a perfect one of its kind. In England, Glenny's standard was adopted, and unless they were up to that, they were not allowed at exhibition. This is much wanted here, and it is to be hoped this Society will take the lead in this much-needed reform. It costs no more in time or expense to grow a good plant or flower, than a bad one, and the result will be much more satisfactory.
After some farther discussion, the Society adjourned.
The Society met again July 8th, the President in the chair. Mrs. Humphries presented Bouquets and Baskets of Flowers; Mr. Miller presented native plants, such as wild Rhododendrons, Orchids, Cranberries, etc.; Dr. Benedict a flower of the Haemanthus Bakerii; Mrs. Duychinck a beautiful double-white Hollyhock; Mr. Burgess new dwarf Digitalis, seedling Roses, seedling Dahlias, Daphne cneorum, etc.
The President said that at the last meeting a committee was appointed upon the subject of the measure worm. He understood that the committee were prepared to report, and the Society would now be happy to hear the result of their investigations.
Dr. Jones, the Chairman of the Committee, then submitted the following report:
Mr. President - The Committee appointed at the last conversational meeting of this Society "to examine proposed plans for the extermination of the measure worms, and to bring the whole subject in relation thereto, in an intelligent form before the Society," respectfully report that they have given the subject referred to them as much consideration as the time allowed, permitted. The description given by the late lamented Thaddeus W. Harris, of the worms which infest our shade trees, is in the main correct. They belong to the order of Lepidopterous insects, to the great division of the Phaelana called Geometra, and to the species Geometra micosericearia.
The Committee have examined several plans submitted to them for the exter-mination of this pest, particularly the one submitted by Messrs. Graef and Weibe, a copy of which is herewith presented to the Society, and we respectfully recommend the adoption of the following resolution:
Resolved, That while, in the opinion of this Society, the plan proposed by Messrs. Graef and Weibe for the extermination of the worms which infest our shade trees is not entirely new, yet that, if faithfully carried out, it will so materially reduce their numbers that in a few years they will scarcely constitute a nuisance, and it may possibly be effectual ultimately in accomplishing their extermination.
They beg also to state that many of this order of insects are now being preyed upon by internal parasites, several kinds of which have been obtained from the crysalids. One of these is a small ichneumon fly, described by Mr. Say in the first volume of the Boston Journal of Natural History, under the name of the Cryptus conquisitor; the other a smaller and much rarer insect, also described by the same gentleman, under the name of the Chalcis ovata. Your Committee congratulates the Society upon the appearance of several of the species of this order, the hunter-fly or wasp, in this city; they have, several of them, observed the havoc among the gronutra, in its caterpillar and pupa states, and they have great faith in the power and ability of this order of insects to materially lessen, if not destroy the great mass of the lepidoptera. Your Commit tee believe, that the effort toward the extermination of the measure-worm can be materially aided and the work expedited by encouraging and protecting our native birds, the martin, swallow, wren, etc The former can be accomplished by placing small houses in the trees for their use. The city authorities and our private citizens should at once, conjointly, carry this suggestion into effect. The cost would be small, the advantages great.