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Wisconsin State Horticultural Society / Transactions of the Wisconsin State Horticultural Society. Proceedings, essays and reports at the annual winter meetings, held at Madison, Feb. 1, 2 and 3, 1870 and Feb. 7, 8 and 9, 1871
(1871 [covers 1870/1871])

Willey, O. S.
Report of the recording secretary,   pp. 15-20 PDF (1.4 MB)


Page 16


16       WISCONSIN STATE HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY.
any, of the enterprises of the day exhibit so marked improvements as that
of the
culture of fruit The doubt which rested upon the many ten years ago is now
scarcely mentioned-but instead, men are talking of their fruit farms, and
calculating
upon the returns of their orchards and vineyards with as much certainty as
any
other farm crop. With a single exception, 1869 has been remarkably fruitful.
The apple crop was very heavy; all small fruits very abundant, except grapes,
and
also, excepting grapes, were well ripened. It is one of the duties of this
meeting to
inquire what was the cause of the insipidness of most small fruits the past
season, and
the partial or total failure of the grape crop. Another marked token of the
signs
of the times is the formation of horticultural societies. This association
was formed
in the fall of 1853-but sixteen years ago; struggling for an existence-half
dead,
with the other half but little better for twelve years-your life-span may
be reck-
oned to date from 1865. Since then, how changed the scene! New life, new
ener-
gy, new sorts-and all move on with a record none need be ashamed of; and
with
this progress, local societies are springing up in all parts of the state.
Six have
previously been reported; two have been formed during the past year, viz:
Mil-
ton, Rock county, and Leon, Richland county. An effort should be made to
have
all these societies more efficient auxilliaries to the parent society. Still
one more
sign of progress is in the demand for horticultural reading, and we are glad
to
report that the supply equals the demand. With a decided improvement in the
old
and reliable Western Farmer, we have now a new candidate for public favor,
the
Western Pomotogist, published at Des Moines, Iowa, by Mark Miller; and I
am glad
to note that a worthy and esteemed colaborer of our society and one of its
founders,
is the editor and proprietor. These are omens of good, and may their influence
never be less, but grow stronger and more extensive till they shall be a
weekly vis-
itor to every family in the state! Then will horticulture and its kindred
labors
prove labors of love. Meanwhile, let nothing dim your brightest prospects,
and ever
hopeful, go on-
"Give new endeavors to the mystic art,
Try every scheme, and riper views impart.
Who knows what meed thy labors may await?
What glorious fruits thy conquests may create."
The marked feature of the year has been the bringing to notice of new varieties
-although this is not confined to the efforts of 1869 alone, but is the culmination
of a series of years. This progress I would note as one of the dangers of
the
times. Within a comparatively short space of time fruits have increased almost
beyond belief; for instance, but a few years since two hundred was the limit
of the
apple list. Now Mr. Downing enumerates 1840. Pears have increased from a
little
over 200 to about 1000; cherries from 75 to nearly 200; plums from about
l00 to
nearly 300; currants have thribbled; raspberries six times as many now as
for-
merly; strawberries number 250, or more than seven times the former catalogue
lists; of native grapes we have nearly 150, or about twelve times the number
of
fifteen years ago. Of other fruits there is as marked an increase, so that
turn which
way we will, new seedlings are offered-each thinking he has an acquisition.
Some
are fair to good-but the large proportion, of course, are no better nor equal
to the


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