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.
In the United States and British America, the migratory masses have now reached the limits of known climates, and are ready to advance over the immense areas of the interior of the West. The climate of these is the first question, since most other conditions essential to occupation are the incident of this, or rather are defined when this is defined. In equable and moderate climates the soil is always cultivatable, and in desert climates rarely so. Mountains and surface configurations affect these, but it is hardly possible that mild and favorable conditions should be largely neutralized by configuration alone. A man, before he builds a frame house should investigate whether or not there are hurricanes in his location which may carry it entirely away. Hence, the importance of the study of Climatology.
The central idea of the comparative climatology of the temperate latitudes of the continents of Europe and America, is that of correspondence in like latitudes and like geographical positions. This implies a symmetry of arrangements in the climates, which greatly assists in determining what the conditions are, and still more assists the practical business of putting them to use. Thus Vancouver's Island is analogous to the British Islands - in like latitudes and on the same side of the continent - and from observations near it, the cool summer, the warm winter, and general humidity of England, is found. The general inference may be drawn, that the cultivation and productive capacity of Great Britain may be reproduced on our Pacific coast, and all the vast systems of industrial, commercial, and social results which follow in the train of such conditions.
Corks are often infested with a fungus that destroys their value. Happily these affections of corks are not common, but should they prove troublesome, we can recommend no better remedy than what we before suggested, viz., soaking the corks in boiling water, dipping the exposed ends in some resinous composition, and covering the whole with a metal capsule. It will be as hard then, we conceive, for the fungus to intrude into the sacred cavity, as it was for the genii to get out of the sealed box.
It is the general opinion that all parts of this continent are formidable from their severe climate at .such latitudes as we know the Canadas and Salvador to be formidable, while in truth these districts afford no guide whatever to the climate of the interior and west coasts. Deriving our ideas from like geographical positions in Europe, we may see that at the West ten degrees of latitude does not more than express the amelioration of those areas over the areas at the East. The winter of Norfolk is transferred to Puget's Sound, that of Washington nearly to Sitka, latitude 57° the highest observed point of the Pacific coast - the one ten degrees, the other eighteen degrees of latitude of difference. The plains of the Missouri, etc, afford contrasts with the land areas of the East nearly as great, and in the train of each of these general facts the most important industrial and commercial results must follow. Precision in the knowledge of vast areas where our advancing population is soon to go, is one of the great advantages to result from climatological studies, such as those of Mr. Blodgett and Eranklin B. Hough, of Albany. The former has written a successful book; and the latter, in a pamphlet some time since published at the capital of the State of New York, has an amount of popular and valuable information, that is much to his credit as an observer as well as a philosopher.
A strikingly equable climate is found at Penzanee in Cornwall ; it is the garden of the English vegetable markets, producing green peas in May, and every vegetable growth at early dates; in this respect it is in advance of Norfolk, Virginia, Penzanee being at the 50th parallel, and Norfolk at the 37th. The distance of latitude thus exceeds 900 miles between points corresponding in vegetable growths for three months of spring. In that part of England trees and plants which are natives of tropical climates often remain in the open ground through the winter without injury. Oranges, lemons, myrtles, camellias, magnolias, the Mexican Agave, etc, require no protection from frost, and in sunny exposures are grown in the open air. Yet these fruits are difficult to ripen, and the apricot and plum generally produce nothing; the grape rarely ripens, currants are acid, and the apple rarely comes to perfection. This is due to the low temperature and humidity there in contrast with our tropical summer, to which we owe our Indian corn no less than our melons and small fruits.
In the West of England a floor of stone is almost always wet; in Ireland a wet piece of leather placed in a closed room will not dry in a month.
The uplands of Georgia, and the interior northward to Pennsylvania, have some resemblance to France in various points of cultivable capacity, and the averages of temperature would appear to confirm this more strongly than a further analysis will bear the comparison out; it is alternately too dry and too wet, too warm and too cold. The delicate lucerne, etc, fail here, and the finer varieties of grapes and olives also fail. But the Indian corn, tobacco, and cotton are adapted to this state of the climate, and the success is great. The shades of climate are a study in themselves; we hear at one time of tea in S. Carolina, and of other novel things elsewhere, but the acclimation of plants is a delicate operation. A colony of Greeks, from Smyrna in Asia, long since established themselves on the east coast of Florida, lat. 29°, a point far south of their native place, which is in latitude 38Q 26'. They planted the orange and other tropical fruits, but now a few remnants only are left; the changes of temperature there are sometimes very severe.
Near the Gulf of Mexico there is a tendency towards the development of a summer rainy season, and at New Orleans the characteristics of such a season are often strongly marked, the morning of each day being clear, but heavy rains setting in as the heat attains a high point. These always greatly lower the temperature, and cease in the evening.