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 so rarely that we encounter in our 'go-ahead'country, true instances of rational contentment, which are the just result of wise and well regulated efforts in life, that the simple record of such examples, given through a public journal, may be productive of good ; and at any rate, some few warm hearts, among your readers, will, I know, beat responsive in sympathy with the pictures I desire to offer through your columns.
The season of fruit blossoms this spring, was the time appointed by a distinguished Pomologist of our city, to accompany him, as a friend, on a visit to the residence of a gentleman, who practically and scientifically devotes his life and his fine residence in New Jersey, to the culture and improvement of fruits. A sense of delicacy forbids the introduction here of names already celebrated in the annals of American as well as European Pomology : but if my portraitures should unavoidably bring my friend, our host and his family so vividly before the mind's eye as to have them recognized, while I claim forgivness for the freedom, I shall not regret this simple attempt to do justice and honor to the man of genius.
We left Philadelphia in the afternoon cars for---------, and being at the end of our Rail Road travel at 8) P. M., were met by the oldest son of the family with their carriage and good strong farming team : although the distance was short, we drove slowly,for the horses had performed their full share of spring labor at the plough, as our gentlemanly guide thought it necessary to inform me. Perchance his politeness in this apology for his team, was somewhat due to the fast driving he had not failed to observe in the people among whom he had already resided for about three years; he might mistake me, a stranger and by the dim light of the stars, for one of the fast driving men of the age; but on better acquaintance and by the day light that social intercourse throws upon character, I trust he would place me in a higher catalogue.
It was eleven o'clock when we reached the house of the Pomologist, and our party, consisting of my friend with his two little daughters, my son and myself, were received with the warm frank welcome of old acquaintances, that puts the heart at ease. The whole family had awaited our arrival for a comfortable supper - rightly anticipating that the nocturnal drive would sharpen our appetites, and we were at once made to feel at home around the abundantly supplied table, in the midst of the family circle.
Retiring at a late hour, and sleeping the fast sound slumber that belongs so peculiarly to the quiet of the country, I found myself wide awake, and what was still more wonderful, witting to get up at 5 o'clock in the morning; going to the window of my chamber I found it looked out upon the gardens, and in a few moments I heard low voices in conversation. The two Pomologists were soon visible, and had started out with the early light of day to reconnoitre and compare notes, among the young trees and the new grafts; as they moved from Pear tree to Pear tree, from row to row, and from path to path, even long after the sound of their voices was lost by distance, it was not difficult to perceive by the gesticulations, or the delays or rapid movements, the earnest interest with which they discussed their favorite and engrossing science. My operations of shaving and dressing were so prolonged by the time consumed in watching these friendly pomologists, that I did not join them until it was the hour for their early breakfast.
But I must not run ahead of my subject; I desire to introduce my reader to the kind family, and the pleasant home, in which I invite him to sojourn with me. for a brief space.
The head of the house, a gentleman of wonderful activity, seems something over fifty; bright, energetic and accomplished, he came from Europe about three years since with his wife and two sons to settle in the United States. He had already done much for the Science of Pomology in his own country, and was in the enjoyment of its fruits both by the acknowledged merits ascribed to his labors in Pomol-ogical literature, and the vast amount of new and valuable varieties due to him, in the production of Pears. But the limits of a continental estate became too narrow for his enlarged views, and his free spirit seemed cramped in a country where the statistics reminded him of a density of population necessarily affording but little "elbow-room" for each man. This motive was sufficient to bring to our country of endless acres, our good host the Pomologist - a host in himself, in more ways than one ; and yet he may naturally have had other objects associated with the prospects of his two sons, who have devoted themselves to separate branches of horticulture - the elder to Agriculture, and the younger to the garden and Pomology. The united efforts of father and sons, (united in the best and strongest sense of the term), are devoted to the cultivation of a fine farm of about three hundred acres, situated upon an extended and beautiful plain, of good light soil, within a quarter of a mile, or little more, of a mountain range, and which charmingly relieves the landscape with its varied shades of light, as the sun brightens its prominent points, or these cast their shadows of darker hue upon the vallies.
I cannot pretend to do justice, by description, to the farming department of our host's estate; I was kept too busy and too much interested for two days in the gardens, to be able to go over the fields; but I am informed that the wheat and oats prosper in the best sense, - that they are habitually sold for seed grain at the highest price, and the crops of field roots have been the wonder of the neighborhood. The gardens and nurseries of young trees, as I have said, were the objects of my particular attention and concern, and from the early breakfast hour until noon, I walked beside the two Pomologists listening eagerly to their free interchange of facts and opinions, as they successively reached the long straight lines of young Pear trees; then the nursery of seedlings, and the new grafts added to the number-bearers, so excite my wonder in their variety and amount, as to make me fear a suspicion of exaggeration should I attempt to tell of them. But it may give some idea of our host's labors to state, that this spring, the fourth, I think, since he began his fruit gardens, he has grafted with his own hand over two thousand young trees; that he is the originator of many hundreds of new varieties of Pears, and that the most rigid system and care is observed in every detail of labeling - registering-pruning and cultivating the orchards.