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Title: Success With Small Fruits
Author: E. P. Roe
Release Date: July, 2004 [EBook #6117]
[This file was first posted on November 11, 2002]
Character set encoding: ASCII
*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK SUCCESS WITH SMALL FRUITS ***
The Works of E.P. Roe
SUCCESS WITH SMALL FRUITS
I Dedicate this Book
MR. CHARLES DOWNING
A Neighbor, Friend, and Horticulturist
FROM WHOM I SHALL ESTEEM IT A PRIVILEGE TO LEARN IN COMING YEARS AS I
A book should be judged somewhat in view of what it attempts. One of
the chief objects of this little volume is to lure men and women back
to their original calling, that of gardening. I am decidedly under the
impression that Eve helped Adam, especially as the sun declined. I am
sure that they had small fruits for breakfast, dinner and supper, and
would not be at all surprised if they ate some between meals. Even we
poor mortals who have sinned more than once, and must give our minds
to the effort not to appear unnatural in many hideous styles of dress,
can fare as well. The Adams and Eves of every generation can have an
Eden if they wish. Indeed, I know of many instances in which Eve
creates a beautiful and fruitful garden without any help from Adam.
The theologians show that we have inherited much evil from our first
parents, but, in the general disposition to have a garden, can we not
recognize a redeeming ancestral trait? I would like to contribute my
little share toward increasing this tendency, believing that as
humanity goes back to its first occupation it may also acquire some of
the primal gardener's characteristics before he listened to temptation
and ceased to be even a gentleman. When he brutally blamed the woman,
it was time he was turned out of Eden. All the best things of the
garden suggest refinement and courtesy. Nature might have contented
herself with producing seeds only, but she accompanies the prosaic
action with fragrant flowers and delicious fruit. It would be well to
remember this in the ordinary courtesies of life.
Moreover, since the fruit-garden and farm do not develop in a
straightforward, matter-of-fact way, why should I write about them
after the formal and terse fashion of a manual or scientific treatise?
The most productive varieties of fruit blossom and have some foliage
which may not be very beautiful, any more than the departures from
practical prose in this book are interesting; but, as a leafless plant
or bush, laden with fruit, would appear gaunt and naked, so, to the
writer, a book about them without any attempt at foliage and flowers
would seem unnatural. The modern chronicler has transformed history
into a fascinating story. Even science is now taught through the
charms of fiction. Shall this department of knowledge, so generally
useful, be left only to technical prose? Why should we not have a
class of books as practical as the gardens, fields, and crops,
concerning which they are written, and at the same time having much of
the light, shade, color, and life of the out-of-door world? I merely
claim that I have made an attempt in the right direction, but, like an
unskillful artist, may have so confused my lights, shades, and mixed
my colors so badly, that my pictures resemble a strawberry-bed in
which the weeds have the better of the fruit.
Liberal outlines of this work appeared in "Scribner's Magazine," but
the larger scope afforded by the book has enabled me to treat many
subjects for which there was no space in the magazine, and also to
give my views more fully concerning topics only touched upon in the
serial. As the fruits described are being improved, so in the future
other and more skillful horticulturists will develop the literature
relating to them into its true proportions.
I am greatly indebted to the instruction received at various times
from those venerable fathers and authorities on all questions relating
to Eden-like pursuits--Mr. Chas. Downing of Newburg, and Hon. Marshall
P. Wilder of Boston, Mr. J. J. Thomas, Dr. Geo. Thurber; to such
valuable works as those of A. S. Fuller, A. J. Downing, P. Barry, J.
M. Merrick, Jr.; and some English authors; to the live horticultural
journals in the East, West, and South; and, last but not least, to
many plain, practical fruit-growers who are as well informed and
sensible as they are modest in expressing their opinions.
On page 315 of this volume will be found the following words: "To
attempt to describe all the strawberries that have been named would be
a task almost as interminable as useless. This whole question of
varieties presents a different phase every four or five years.
Therefore I treat the subject in my final chapter in order that I may
give revision, as often as there shall be occasion for it, without
disturbing the body of the book. A few years since certain varieties
were making almost as great a sensation as the Sharpless. They are now
regarded as little better than weeds in most localities." Now that my
publishers ask me to attempt this work of revision, I find that I
shrink from it, for reasons natural and cogent to my mind. Possibly
the reader may see them in the same light. The principles of
cultivation, treatment of soils, fertilizing, etc., remain much the
same; My words relating to these topics were penned when knowledge--
the result of many years of practical experience--was fresh in memory.
Subsequent observation has confirmed the views I then held, and, what
is of far more weight in my estimation, they have been endorsed by the
best and most thoroughly informed horticulturists in the land. I wrote
what I then thought was true; I now read what has been declared true
by highest authorities. I have more confidence in their judgment than
in my own, and, having been so fortunate as to gain their approval, I
fear to meddle with a record which, in a sense, has become theirs as
well as mine. Therefore I have decided to leave the body of the book
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