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.
WE have already intimated that we purposed devoting a portion of our space to the cultivation of the pear. There are many among our readers who make the pear, especially as dwarfed on the quince, an object of special attention. There are many more who are for the first time turning their attention to it, who need and ask for information in regard to its culture, and it is a part of our duty to satisfy their needs as far as we can. This we propose to do in a plain, practical manner, so as to give our remarks a real value. As in our Hints on Grape Culture, we shall give simply the results of our own experience, describing the various operations and manipulations just as we have been in the habit of doing them. In this way, we may perhaps make plain to the reader some particular points of culture which he has failed to understand from the writings of others. The chief reason why some books on horticultural subjects are obscure, and give an "uncertain sound," consists in the fact that the writers, having little or no experience of their own to rely upon, cull that of others without the ability to discriminate between right and wrong practice. Others, lacking self-confidence, prefer to give the experience of others to their own.
Hence it often happens that some little, unpretending book, giving the writer's own experience in a plain way, contains stores of useful knowledge sought for in vain in its more pretentious rivals. Very few men have the ability to describe lucidly the practice and opinions of others; indeed, a man is very happy if he is able to explain clearly to others in writing even his own experience; it is a gift vouchsafed to but few. It is plain to be seen, therefore, why many books fail to be valuable to the novice who has every thing to learn. Success would, undoubtedly, be greater if each writer would confine himself mainly to his own experience when writing on practical subjects; if he has no experience, then he is clearly the man to keep profoundly silent, and learn, instead of wasting precious time in attempting to learn others. But even though some good books may be found on a given subject, that is no reason why others should not be written; because very few men will be equally well understood by all; and, in addition to this, there are differences in practice and constant improvements in the details of culture, which make new books indispensable to a fair record of the progress of the age. If this were not so, the press would find little to do.
Arguments of this kind might be greatly multiplied; but they are not necessary for any purpose we have in view at present. It is sufficient for us that our readers want knowledge of any kind, to determine us to furnish it to the best of our ability, without stopping to ask whether they can find itelsewhere. The hope of obtain, ing such knowledge is their chief inducement for subscribing for any periodical.
Then, again, pear culture is an important part of the productive industry of the country, and requires all the encouragement we or any body else can give it While it is a source of profit to those who pursue it, it is equally a source of health and gratification to the community at large. It is true that the profit of pear culture has been questioned by some, but, in our opinion, without any sufficient reason, as we hope to be able to show. We have no doubt at all that it is, when properly pursued, among the most remunerative branches of horticultures. That all have not succeeded, or succeeded as well as they might, is not to be denied; bat their want of success may easily be traced to its proper source. If, in any thing we may say, we may be able to make pear culture plain to the understanding of even a few of the many who are seeking to learn, we shall have no cause to regret the time and labor devoted to the subject.
We purpose treating of the pear as a standard, as a dwarf, and as grown in pots. Beginning with the tree at the bud, we shall follow it to full maturity These articles will occasionally alternate with those on the grape.