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.
"WHAT!"exclaim our readers," a division between the two primal occupations of man, born of one parent, educated in the same school, with one common purpose, one destiny?" Certainly. By common acceptance, gardening and farming are as far asunder as the poles - the zenith and the nadir. And for the simple reason only, that people, in their ignorance, or prejudice, choose to make them so. There has existed, and still exists, in the minds of a great multitude of people, an ideal and insurmountable wall between these twin professions, and which must continue to separate them so long as ignorance and prejudice, instead of light and intelligence, control.
It has been one chief aim of " The Horticulturist" to familiarize the arts of horticulture, planting, building, and the subordinate occupations attending them, to the attention and understanding of everybody who has at all to do with the cultivation of ground; to carry them into every household, and homestead, and into every farmery in the land - provided their occupants would take and read our paper, and profit by the instruction it contains. Let us examine: The stalwart, plodding, strait-forward farmer, unfamiliar with our pages, looking merely at our title and vignette, imagines it to smell of rose-water and perfume; stitched in a dainty cover and talking some sort of sublimated nonsense, to people who have more money to spend than they know what to do with, and therefore employ it in the erection of all sorts of fanciful buildings for all imaginable and useless purposes; to stock their gardens with all varieties of new and worthless plants, vegetables, and fruits; to plant their open grounds with foreign trees and shrubs, which nobody knows an English name for - in short, to promote the practice and cultivation of things beyond the reach of the ordinary farmer, and useless to either his legitimate occupation or enjoyment.
Now, no honest man ever made a greater mistake. The difference between the two arts of Agriculture and Horticulture, farming and gardening, to employ the more familiar terms, is not greater than between " low" farming and " high" farming, as Mr. Mechi, the famous English farmer of " Tiptree Heath," would denominate them. One, the " old-fashioned," slow and easy mode of our fathers; the other, a thorough cultivation and manuring of the soil, stimulating it to the utmost power of production, and consequent profit - the only successful mode of farming in a country with a crowded population and a heavy consumption. " High" farming is, in feet, horticultural cultivation applied to agriculture. There is no toall between these two practices. It is the gradual and agreeable approach from the rough inequalities of surface, in the broken, waste field, to the smooth and grassy turf of the luxuriant meadow.
Every farmer, who is a farmer, has his garden of a quarter of an acre and upwards. From this spot he obtains two to five times the amount of consumable vegetables and fruits that any other equal quantity of cultivated land on his farm produces. He knows it too, yet never asks himself the question whether to extend that garden into area of five or ten acres, and put it into choice fruits and fine market vegetables, would not give him a greater profit than to keep the same surface in corn, oats, or pasture, as before, and to do so would require no more skill than his own brain can readily acquire, and his own ingenuity can look after, if he will only take the pains to get a little information. Here, and here only, is the wall between Agriculture and Horticulture - the indisposition to read, examine, and practice for one's self. Plain talk, we admit; but it is also a plain subject to all who choose to understand it.
We have a desire that every American farmer should become, to a degree, a horticulturist - sufficiently so to supply his household from his own farm, with the choicest vegetables and fruits; by the proper disposition and cultivation of trees and shrubbery, and flowering plants, to create a taste and attachment in his family for all rural things, which must add infinitely to their pleasure and their enjoyment, and aid them to reach that destiny which God in his bounty intends for all whom he has placed beneath the sunshine of heaven, and on this favored side of his foot-stool. The study of Horticulture, in what study it requires, is simply an episode in kind of the grand art of Agriculture itself, requiring no extraordinary teaching, but only carrying out and extending, like algebra beyond arithmetic, the nice and more intricate details of the subject. The pursuit of Horticulture requires only thought and attention - not intense at all - but steady and consistent thought, coupled with close application. Every farmer may thus become a Horticulturist sufficient for his own wants, the requirements of his own family, and immediate profit to his estate, if markets, and the conveniences of getting to them, favor him.
Our subjects are all intended to be practical, each in their kind; to embrace the wants, the taste, and the fancy of all, from him who " trucks" the product of his own cabbage garden at the nearest market, to the man who erects his conservatories by the thousand feet in extent. Each, all, and every one may find instruction suited to his wants, and by the aid of his own contributions of thought and experience to our pages, he may also edify others in the same laudable pursuit with himself.
Indeed, no system of farming can be complete unless a department of horticulture be connected with the farm. The aid of horticulture is required to give the homestead a character of truth and completeness. A farm may be productive; it may be well and thoroughly cultivated; it may, in well arranged buildings and other sheltered accommodation, give protection to all that live upon it and share in its labors or aid in its emoluments; but the repose, the quietude, the true enjoyment of agricultural life, cannot be had short of an appropriation to the horticultural department. That it is, which more than all else beside, gives expression to the domain, and stamps it with a character of dignity and beauty, and clusters those thousand associations around it, which fill up to perfection the true, as well as the ideal picture of Home.