HORTICULTURE. In defining agriculture, in another part of this volume, we stated it as embracing all that pertained to the working of the earth, dividing it into two great branches, husbandry and horticulture. This latter is again subdivided into pomology, vegetable gardening, the raising of - nursery stock, floriculture and landscape gardening. These are the most ele gant, as they are the most fascinating employ ments relating to agriculture. Horticulture is never practiced by man, until husbandry has become a true art, nor until such a state of civilization exists in a nation, as not only to call for great variety in the culinary art, but elegance and ornament about the homes of the people. Ancient horticulture was but crude as compared with modern, as was their civilization, if we except the unqualified superiority of Greek sculpture, and not until within the last one hundred years has horticulture become more than a crude art, either in the superior variety of fruits cultivated, the excellence of vegetables, or in the talent displayed in the adornment of the landscape. Horticulture,like agriculture,not only has its practical but its scientific sense also. The uniting of the practical with the scientific is what makes the finished workman in every art or profession in life. Thus, horticulture was divided by the late W. C. Flagg, one of the most eminent writers of the West, while President of the Illinois Horticultural Society, into distinct branches, and 4Touped together, from which we extract, (Illinois bemg implied, but which with allowances for soil and climate will do generally for the West): I. Use ful; comprising Fruit Growing, which includes: orchard culture; vineyard culture; small fruits and their culture. Vegetable or market garden ing, including vegetables cultivated for their roots or tubers, as potatoes, onions, beets, etc. ; vegetables cultivated for their leaves or stems, as cabbage, asparagus, etc. ; vegetables cultivated for their fruit, as tomatoes, melons, peas, etc. Tree Growing, including hedging; belts, or wind breaks; timber plantations and woodlands; nursery culture. IL Ornamental, comprising sirtaimental tree planting; flower gardening; land scape gardening. III. Scientific, comprising collections of fruits, vegetables, trees, flowers, and plants generally, made not so much for profit or ornamentation, as for experiment and to gratify a scientific taste. Horticulture requires special attention to the choice of' soil and climate. The soil for nearly every horticultural product should be warm, deep, dry, and not too rich in humus, nor yet to sandy. The chief difficulties of tree growth in the northern part of the S tate and in States farther north, seem to be rather of the soil than of the climate. The soil, in some cases, is so loose as to freeze to the depth of six feet in hard winters, and very imperfectly protects any plant standing in it through the wmter, whilst so rich as to start a late growth on very little provocation. Soil of a finer and closer texture would evidently be preferable in both respects. Our best soils, as a rule, are those of ` lighter color, on which forest trees are growing, or will most readily grow. The situation for all horti cultural purposes should be as elevated as possi ble above the surrounding country, so as to avoid the late frosts of spring and the early frosts of autumn; and that the winds may have access during the humid, still heats of early summer, which are detrimental to most horticultural growths. It should be distinctly under stood that the summer needs of the fruit tree and its fruits are plenty of air and sunshine. Horticulture demands foresight. The question of a market for one's products, of the varie ties of fruit that will be profitable twenty years hence, but that must be chosen and planted this year; of the future effect of a clump of trees, and the prospective value of a given kind for lumber; these and many other points involving one's future prosperity and success must all be forecast by one who would proceed wisely and well. Lord Bacon said that, he who hath a wife and children hath given hostages to fortune. Hardly less is this the case with him who plants an orchard, a vineyard, or a forest. Horticul ture, in all or nearly all its branches, demands very deep and thorough preparation of the soil for its best success. Shallow culture on most soils is to be deprecated in agriculture, much more so in horticulture, where the ground in some cases will not be replanted for many years, and where, in any event, the expense of seeding and culture per acre is much greater than in agriculture. But where deep preparation of
ground is for any reason omitted, continuous stirring of die surface in clay soils, at least, has an excellent result, and probably for smaller plants is a good, if not sufficient substi tute. Of useful horticulture,fruit growing is the branch most attractive to the masses of the people, and perhaps, as a rule, the most profit able. Of these, orchard fruits comprise the apple, pear, quince, peach, nectarine, cherry, apricot, and occasionally other fruits growing on trees planted in order in a separate plantation or field. Of these we must say, in their favor, that once established they require comparatively little care in their after culture, and in many cases yield their fruit year by year gratuitously, On the other hand, they are less easily protected from sudden changes of weather than vines or shrubs, or from the attacks of insects and dis eases. Of these orchard fruits, the apple is in most civilized countries the most important, and probably as ancient as any. It is fdund in the remains of the lake dwellings of the Neolithic period, apparently cultivated. The pear is also widely distributed, but gives evidence in a greater variety of names of having been domesticated by more, different nations. But it seems less flexible in its organization, and in the New World, at least, not to withstand extremes of humidity and dryness, of heat and cold nearly so well as the apple. The quince may be grown at a profit, at least in small quantities,in the damper and richet soils. The success of a,few, and the fact that it blossoms late and so avoids frost, would seem an argument that it can and will be more extensively grown in the years to come. But if so, it should be grown as a bush, and not with a trunk. The peach, south of 40° at least, is sufficiently hardy to be cultivated with moderate profit in many localities, and in some places large returns may be realized. This fruit, which is referred to by Confucius, and also, says De Candolle, mentioned as early as the tenth century before Christ, is believed by later authors to be a modified form of the almond. For growing the peach the most favorable points should be selected; such as the heights of the bluffs along our great rivers, the tops of the hills, the mounds, and other elevated points. The varieties having large blossoms seem to be almost invariably the hardiest. The cherry, in one or more of its varieties, is grown throughout the State, and 'occasionally with considerable profit. The hardy varieties of Early Richmond and Common Morello may be grown almost any where and under great neglect. The sweet cherries can be grown in many localities where the subsoil is open and the upper soil not too rich. But the cherry needs a cool summer for the best results, and the buds of the meet cherry are often nipped by the frost. The plum is quite tender in the bud, except in the Chickasaw, from whose varieties we may expect our best and most complete success in plum- growing, just as we have found to be the case with native rather than foreign grapes. Vineyard culture has been wonderfully advanced, both by the discovery and dissemination of more reliable varieties, and in a better teaching and practice of modes of culture. The grape is a profitable fruit, but demands inexorably high culture, timely pruning, training, and pinching. Yet, its culture is specially attractive to the cultivated taste, and remunerative to the good manager. The Ameri can grape is a fruit of wide range. The frost grape grows as far north as latitude 50°, three degrees farther north than Quebec, on the Sas katchewan; and the Southern Fox and summer grapes extend down quite to the southern ex tremity of the United States. Consequently, if we can guard against some of the extremes of cold, which are injurious to the vine, by cover ing with loose earth, or even laying close to the ground, and can secure the leaves and fruit against the cool nights and hot humidity of the growing season, we can grow grapes nearly everywhere. Our continental climate is one of great extremes. Humboldt, in his Cosmos, inti mates that we are fated, as Dante says in the third canto of the Purgatorio: To suffer torments both of cold and heat, or, as Milton has it, condemned To feel by turn the bitter change Of fierce extremes: extremes by change more fierce.