The planter also grows in unselfish zeal as his plans increase in scope. He prepares for the future race, not alone for his own joy. The trees he disposes for another generation to sit under; he plants timber for the heir to cut; he adds to his broad acres that he may leave them to his children. For himself the toil, for others the fruit of his labors; and thus, setting aside his own recompense, he comes into a larger manhood, into that fullness of life which only belongs to him who has forgotten self, and lives for an end he cannot hope to see.
From all this training should result endurance of unavoidable evils, fortitude in disappointment, serenity of mind. Thus the garden shows itself to be a school of the higher virtues, of patience, of tranquillity, of vigilance, of fortitude, of unselfishness and high serenity.
More lessons than these it teaches, therefore small wonder that the groping soul of man, ever seeking higher things, turns to this simplest pursuit as a child to its mother, finding in her arms comfort for his unrest. Unconsciously he seeks this school, which is so great a help to his spirit, and thinks often it is the pure air and exercise alone that have given tone to his nerves, and fresh vigor to his understanding.
But, after all, the best thing the garden does for man is to imbue him with a love of home, to anchor him to that one spot of the earth's surface which he calls his own, and to which he can impart some portion of his own individuality. The acres he has tilled, the garden-plot he has watered, will always be dear to him and to his children, and it is this desire for a home and an inheritance for those who shall come after him, that drives him to the purchase of land and the beginning of agriculture.
A man who owns a freehold in his country becomes of account at once; it lifts him from the position of a transient into the dignity of a resident; he gives hostages to fortune; he becomes an established citizen, in place of a possible tramp, and is of more value in the community forthwith. The effect upon himself is elevating and composing. It stills his restlessness, allays ennui, turns the current of his mind into new channels, provides him with an amusement for his leisure hours, while giving occasion for healthful exertion, as well as stimulating wholesome thought. It is opposed to morbidness, it forbids subjectivity, it rouses the imagination, and gratifies the love of beauty.
There is that fine largeness of quality in it as an amusement that appeals to the simplest minds, as well as to the most comprehensive. It is this which proves that it is elemental and human to love a garden, to enjoy the soil, to find comfort in watching the development of plants and trees, and joy in their blossom and fruitage.
In America we need just this to give us stay and balance. In the older world, where habits are more established, the taste is strong. Here it is overgrown by many things. In so great a land as ours one portion of the soil seems not enough for the citizen. He wants a ranch in Colorado, an Orange-grove in Florida, a seaside home on the coast of Maine, in addition to his city dwelling. But as the crowd increases, and the nation ages, more and more wilt men concentrate their energies upon one spot, and the love of home and locality will grow more intense, as it is apt to do in the human being when years bring greater quiet to his spirit, and make rest his choicest blessing.
When we are at last sure that our children will be content to reap what we have sown, to repose under the trees that we have planted, solidity and peace will come to us, and life will grow more simple and more pleasurable to our people. Then will the garden be the true pleasure-ground, and its wise stillness will pervade the character of the men who find its culture a real education, and there learn the needed lessons of perseverance, and patient waiting for the good the future brings, - leading lives without hurry, full of calm interest in their surroundings, and with no wish for change.