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.
Mr. Editor, - It is presumed that when persons send articles for publication to any journal, they have something to communicate that will be of interest or a source of instruction to the general reader, or class of persons to whom it applies, and, also, that it will embody nothing but facts well known and reliable.
The contribution of Mr. A. s Fuller in the March number of the Horticulturist under the above head, treats of matters in which Florists and Nurserymen are principally concerned, and doubtless intended to give them some information, which it is inferred they did not possess until the writer made it known.
Now the article in question, setting aside the many meaningless expressions referred to in my former article, (not to say any thing of those discriminating rats on shipboard,) does not convey a single item of instruction to those engaged in the business, and the only tendency it has is to mislead the mind of the general reader, as to the actual cost to Nurserymen of such stock, whether purchased here or in Europe.
I now propose to place Mr. Fuller's contribution and his defence thereof, as published in the May number, both together, and with his permission have my final say on the subject In doing so I will not descend to notice the innuendos.and little personalities contained in the latter, but only touch upon such items that are given as facts that may be worthy of notice, or of interest to the reader.
The first article asserts that Roses can be imported from France, with all the expenses paid, at an average cost of $13.65 cents per hundred, and this he thinks in his defence is an overestimate.
Let the reader notice how Mr. Fuller sustains this position on page 244, fifth line. " We wish the gentleman to understand that we do not say that Roses can be purchased in France for $70 per thousand, if the Nurseryman is restricted to certain varieties." Well done, Mr. Fuller; why did you not mention that before? had you done so, none would have thought of opposing your figures, but would rather have assisted you to have brought them down still lower, if you desired it; for we know of parties who have purchased as low as $40 per thousand, but only of such varieties as the growers may have had left over from a former season, or such as they may have a surplus of; they consist generally of good plants of inferior and free-growing varieties, and poor plants of really good varieties. Such roses might well be sent by sailing vessels, as they could not be made to pay the steamer's freight, unless they were sold at auction to ignorant purchasers, or offered at retail at moderate prices, with the popular addenda of "own selection," which is one of the inflictions we would pray to be delivered from.
Mr. Editor, suppose I were to write you an article on Dwarf Pears, and in it assert, that the cost of purchasing them here was $15 per hundred, you would at once say, and with truth, that it was an under-estimate, yet it would be just as true as this assertion of Mr. Fuller's, and like that, convey a false impression to the reader.
It is well known that when Nurserymen have a field of Quince or Pear stock ready for budding, they will bud them with such varieties, all believed to be good, and in such numbers of each as, in their judgment, will enable them, when of an age to sell, to clear the'whole field at once; yet it will often happen that many varieties will remain unsold, and good varieties too, and the grower would be pleased to sell the remainder for any merely nominal price to enable him to clear the ground and prepare it for a new stock. So with the rose growers of France"; after their regular customers are supplied, they will sell the refuse for any price that will pay for digging and labeling, and if Mr. Fuller has bought them at these prices, it only shows what kind of stock he has imposed on his customers.
I would not be uncharitable or seek to leave a false impression, although his defence forces me to the conclusion above given, for I happen to know that the roses Mr. Fuller sells are not all of this description. He has sold pome first-class roses*, and has had to purchase them, too, at $25 per hundred, and could not get all the varieties he wanted at that, although he tried at more than one place to obtain them.
In continuation of the paragraph before quoted, Mr. Fuller says, "Neither can he purchase large, strong plants of Hybrid Perpetuals under the same rule, (i.e., the purchaser to name the varieties.) But if he gives his orders for so many thousand roses, assorted varieties, then they can be had here at $16, and In France at $7 by the thousand".
Mr. Fuller, let me say a few words intended for your private ear. I sell thousands of roses, and have purchased thousands annually, and grow also as many as I can myself without interfering with other descriptions of stock. In purchasing I always name the varieties I want, and also allow my customers to make their own selections, and notwithstanding all my endeavors, I can not get enough of some varieties to supply the demand at any price, for I would at any time prefer to purchase at the selling price to complete orders confided to me, rather than let them go unfilled; and this principle I do not arrogate to myself, but believe it is applicable to every honest Nurseryman in our goodly land.
To proceed further, Mr. Fuller would place Angers in the same relation to France, as Paesestum in Lucania was to ancient Italy. Had he mentioned La Brie, comprising Villecrane, Brie-comte-Robert, and Suine, instead of Angers in his compliment to Rochester, (for which I hope they will be grateful,) he might have come nearer the truth, for the little village of Villecrane alone produces more roses annually than Angers does.
Mr. Editor, allow me in conclusion to thank you for your indulgence in permitting me a second time to occupy your columns, and also to extend to Mr. Fuller the assurance of the most kindly feeling, with the hope that it may always be maintained.
Very respectfully, Andrew Bridgeman, 878 Broadway, N. Y.