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.
"Having made this valley my permanent place of residence, about eighteen months since I built me a small house, in order to surround myself with some of the comforts and pleasures of a home. As soon as it was finished, I began, for the first time in my life, to turn my attention, in a moderate way, to the cultivation of such fruits and flowers as I thought would add most to the enjoyment of myself and family. To my surprise, I found myself utterly ignorant of the first principles and knowledge necessary to guide me in such matters.
The first, and I can say the best books, were Downing's and Barry's, of those to which my attention was directed. With their aid, I did the best I could, the first year.
Recently, a friend loaned me some books to read, and among them, all the numbers of the Horticulturist for a year past.
Here was what I wanted - something that would combine good practical fruit-culture with that of plants, shrubs, and flowers. I immediately subscribed for it, through Mr. Daniels, your agent here, and set about getting others to do so; and, to induce them, have given them all the benefit of the club prices. With this, I send you a list of twenty-two names, and a check for the amount of their subscriptions. I shall increase the number of names, with more time. I have not got up the names for any premium, but rather because of the pleasure it afforded me to help along the good book, as much as my leisure permitted me. Among articles that are very rare, and hard to be obtained in this country, are Hyacinth bnlbs, Amarillis do., Rhododendron seed, Azalea, Cineraria, Geraniums, choice kinds mixed, Delphinum, Viola Odtitata, Auricula, Anemone, Polyanthus, Ranunculus, Pansy, Ac.
We have a horticultural society in this place, and it is rapidly increasing in members and usefulness. I am yours, very respectfully, Elliot Reed".
Mr. Reed is now one of our parish. The California Farmer gives a glowing description of San Jose and its gardens, which are irrigated from artesian wells, occasioning a moisture in the atmosphere, highly useful to vegetation. The Stockton Ranch, under the care of W. F. Kennedy, Esq., is called one of the most beautiful spots in the State; L. Prevost's is highly spoken of, and A. Delmas has one adjoining, of great interest. In the latter much attention is given to the grape, which seems perfectly at home in California. Mr. D. exhibited a vine in a pot, the growth of a graft brought from France the same year, and inserted upon a native stock, bearing 29 bunches.
The orchards in the neighborhood of San Jose are said to be very superior. Mr. John McMurtrie has one in high cultivation, of 3200 apple trees; he allows no other crop to grow with the trees, and employs a cultivator that moves the earth 12 inches deep; the soil is kept moving " by running the cultivator both ways." A frost sufficient to cut down the tender vegetation, In exposed situations, on the 2?th of April,, when strawberries were ripe.* The editor, however, says - "There is nothing like a visit to Smith's Strawberry Gardens, to make a person forget trouble".
In another number, the Farmer speaks of the Mission Orchard, at San Jose; and chronicles an apricot-tree whose crop, the present year, is worth $200. "Among the large pear-trees, were several that did not produce fruit equal to others, or in so large quantities. These the proprietor caused to be headed down, and grafted with the choice varieties, such as the Bartlett, Seckel, St. Michael, etc, and the growth of these grafts is most remarkable; many of them will be in full bearing the present year, this being but the second year, and the grafts are, many of them, four, five, and six feet long, and very vigorous.
The editor copies, at full length, our "Day at Eew Garden," and says: -
"We give the sketch, by the editor of the Horticulturist, of his visit to the Kew Gardens, London; and to His fine description of this gorgeous place we are indebted for a great pleasure, for it brought back to our own minds again, the visit we paid to these wonderful specimens of Flora and Pomona. One exquisite plant, named by the sketcher, the Anoectochilus setaceus - the King Plant of the Cingalese, so highly spoken of - we remember with deep pleasure, for we brought one of these exquisite plants (a very small one, of only two leaves, and the only one for sale, for which we paid a guinea) from the Belgian Gardens across to London, thence to the steamer at Liverpool, by hand, and thence in our state-room to Boston. We remember how we nursed it, as the heart nurses a treasure; and we remember the sensations of joy experienced when we placed it in our home, in all its beauty and glory - that feeling can only be enjoyed by a few - they must love a flower as the loving heart loves its own treasured flower, and our own joy was twin to that experienced when such a heart has borne 'home' that treasure, and calls it all its own. We know few of our readers can hardly realize or conceive the beauty of such a place.
We have often revelled in this and other ' homes of the beautiful,' and we look forward in faith when, upon these bright shores, the glorious science of horticulture, advancing with giant strides, shall rear a Temple of Fame that shall outshine even the Kew Gardens of London, the Jardin des Plantes of Paris, or the Jardin des Belgic at Ghent; for, when our legislators shall regard the true wealth of California, and labor to develop her real and true interests - then will she quickly be what God and nature designed - The Garden of the World".
* We chronicle ice around Philadelphia, on the 30th of May.