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.
Before the American Pomologies! Society, at its fourth session at Rochester, in September, is an example of how much may be said in a few words. An early copy enables us to make extracts from the more striking portions.
The President alludes to the foot that it is now only about a quarter of a century since the establishment of the oldest horticultural society in America; then the fruit crop of the country was not deemed worthy of a place in our national statistics; now it exceeds thirty millions of dollars annually; then the sales of fruit-trees were numbered by hundreds, now by hundreds of thousands.
Mr. Wilder's remarks on seedlings, etc.: -
"When Van Mons, the patient and skilful observer, was successfully experimenting in Europe, our Coxe, Prince, Lowell, Dearborn, Manning, and others, had commenced their course, and obtained some good results. Then most of our pears were propagated on suckers taken from the forest; now we see. millions of young vigorous trees cultivated, sold, and planted, in all parts of the Union, and where twenty years since not a single specimen of the Pyrus was to be found. The public no longer ridicule the man who plants a tree with the hope of gathering its fruit with his own hands, or the saving of seeds to improve the quality of his fruits. True, Van Mons was ridiculed all his life, and only appreciated by-such pioneers as Davy,Poiteau, Diel, and Drapies. His nurseries were thrice destroyed, as wild, worthless thorn-bushes, under the false pretence of "publis utility." This was an irreparable loss, for however much his system be discussed and distrusted, it is still true that the results of his experience have been most beneficial to the world.
"An honorable member of this Association and myself, have in trust many of the seedlings of that great master of pomology, which have not yet fruited. We have those of the eighth generation, which, from vigor, beauty, and signs of refinement, give promise of superior character, and seem to confirm his doctrine of improvement by successive reproduction. And while we are anxiously awaiting the further and ultimate results of his theory, others on this side of the Atlantic are zealously engaged in hybridization and experiments which cannot fail to be of immense advantage to the scientific and practical cultivator.
"This progress should cheer us onward. No other country, in extent and variety of soil and climate, is so well adapted, or offers so great advantages to the pomologist. Not only-does our correspondence from abroad testify to the truth of this statement, but our rapidly extending domain continually develops new facts in confirmation of this sentiment.
"By the reports from individual fruit growers, and from associations, it appears that some varieties of the pear succeed equally as well in the extreme south part of our Union as in the north. A gentleman from Oregon Territory recently informed me that settlers there had already provided themselves with extensive orchards, and from which they gather fruits of great size and excellence. He also makes a similar report in relation to Washington Territory, and instances among others an orchard of one hundred acres, which is now yielding a large annual income to its proprietor.
A letter from the Vice-President of this Society for Utah, on the borders of the Great Salt Lake, expresses the hope that it will not be long before that region shall be a successful rival of other parts of the Union in variety and excellence of its fruits. Similar accounts are received from the district of Santa Clara. <
"Another communication, from an officer of this Society in California, assures me of the great progress in our cause in thai State, and pledges a full report of its horticultural exhibition for our Transactions. One of my neighbors who went to California in 1854, and now residing in Napa City, writes; 'such is the rapid growth of vegetation in that district, that I apple-trees, from seed planted in the spring of 1853, and budded the same year, yielded I fruit in the autumn of 1855.' He says: 'I wish you could take a look at our peach orchard, loaded with three to four thousand baskets of fruit. You could hardly believe that the trees had made all their growth, and were most of them raised from seed, since I came to California, February 1,1854. The crop from this orchard is now (July 18, 1856) going to market, and, We expect, will amount to between ten and twenty thousand dollars.' The proprietor of that crop has called on me within a few days, confirms these statements, and reports that the crop and prices fully realized all anticipations.
"Such is the seal now manifested in the cause of pomology, and such are the facilities for intercommunication, that we are continually receiving valuable contributions from all parts of the country and the world".
Proceeding onward, gracefully, the President says: -
"In my last address, I called your attention to the importance of raising new and improved varieties from seed as the best method of increasing and preserving our supply of choice fruits. Whether the theory of the running out of varieties be true or false, so thoroughly am I convinced of the great practical utility of this recommendation, that I feel especially desirous, while I have the opportunity, of encouraging you to perseverance, and of guarding your minds against exposure to failures.
"A false doctrine prevails among some, although founded on the theory of Van Hens, 'that scions taken from seedlings, and grafted into stocks, however strong and healthy, will not yield fruit earlier than it may be obtained from the mother plant,' Adopting this theory as true, many cultivators have been discouraged on account of the length of the process. Whatever may have been the experience which called forth this theory from its learned author, in the localities where it originated, or where it has been advocated, my reading and personal observation constrain me to question its truthfulness; certainly its application to our own i country. For instance, the fact is familiar to you all, that scions of the pear come into bearing, when grafted an the quince, earlier than en the pear stock. This is believed to result from the early maturity of the quince, which, while it does not change the variety of the pear, imparts its own precocity thereto. We realize a corresponding hastening to matn-rity when the scion is grafted into a pear-tree which has also armed at maturity; especially is this to be expected when the stock is in itself one of a precocious character.