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Our Nurseryman's Dozen
Glossary of Terms
And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: And God saw that it was good.
--Moses, Genesis 1:11-12
"Seedlings of . . . apples produce an inferior kind which is acid instead of sweet . . . and this is why men graft."
--Theophrastos, 323 BC
And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Boast not against the branches...for God is able to graff them in again. For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural [branches], be graffed into their own olive tree.
--The Apostle Paul, Romans 11
Why should I hesitate to make some mention, too, of other [apple] varieties by name, seeing that they have conferred everlasting remembrance on those who were the first to introduce them, as having rendered some service to their fellow-men? Unless I am very much mistaken, an enumeration of them will tend to throw some light upon the ingenuity that is displayed in the art of grafting, and it will be the more easily understood that there is nothing so trifling in itself from which a certain amount of celebrity cannot be ensured.
Malus the Appyll tree is a tree yt bareth apples and is a grete tree in itself…with goode fruyte and noble… (The fruit) is gracious in syght and in taste and virtuous in medecyne.
--Bartholomeus Angelicus, 1240 AD, On the Properties of Things
Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.
Forward in the name of God; graft, set, plant and nourish up trees in every corner of your ground; the labor is small, the cost is nothing, the commodity is great; yourselves shall have plenty, the poor shall have somewhat in time of want to relieve their necessity, and God shall reward your good merits and diligence.
--An Old English Herbal
The fruite or Apples do differ in greatness, forme, colour and taste; some covered with a red skin, others yellowe or green, varying infinetely according to soyle and climate; some very great, some little, and many of a middle sort; some are sweet or tastie, or something sower; most be of a middle taste betweene sweete or sower, the which to distinguish I think it impossible; notwithstanding I hear of one that intendeth to write a peculiar volume of Apples, and the use of them; yet when he hath done that he can do, he hath done nothing touching their severall kindes to distinguish them."
--John Gerarde, 1599
The apple was brought to America not to eat, but to drink.
What is done by human prudence must be ascribed to the direction of divine Providence; he that teaches the husbandman his discretion (Isa. xxviii. 26) teaches the statesman his.
Fine fruit is the flower of commodities. It is the most perfect union of the useful and the beautiful that the earth knows. Trees full of soft foliage; blossoms fresh with spring beauty; and, finally, --fruit, rich, bloom-dusted, melting, and luscious—such are the treasures of the orchard and garden, temptingly offered to every landholder in this bright and sunny, though temperate climate.
It is remarkable how closely the history of the Apple-tree is connected with that of man.
--Henry David Thoreau
I have no faith in the selected lists of pomological gentlemen. Their “Favorites” and “Non-suches” and “Seek-no-farthers,” when I have fruited them, commonly turn out very tame and forgettable. They are eaten with comparatively little zest, and have no real tang nor smack to them.
--Henry David Thoreau
It is important that the fruit-grower should base his expectations entirely upon the results to be derived from a series of years, and not from any less period of time; otherwise he will be found wide [of] the truth.
--Fowler and Wells, The Farm
The accumulation of varieties of fruits within the last twenty years has been so great, that anything like a complete description or account of them all, would in itself exceed the bounds of a moderate-sized volume.
--P. Barry, 1883
Why do we need so many kinds of apples? Because there are so many folks. A person has a right to gratify his legitimate taste. If he wants twenty or forty kinds of apples for his personal use…he should be accorded the privilege. There is merit in variety itself. It provides more contact with life, and leads away from uniformity and monotony.
No fruit is more to our English taste than the Apple. Let the Frenchman have his Pear, the Italian his Fig, the Jamaican may retain his farinaceous Banana, and the Malay his Durian, but for us the Apple.
--E.A. Bunyard, 1929
An idea, a small yard and one tree may be made to produce astounding results
The apple exhibits diversity in no small degree; any list of all the kinds of apple that have received name would top the thousand. Of course, they are by no means all worthy of perpetuation, and the grower for market must for business purposes confine his attention to a very small selection, perhaps half a dozen. This half-dozen will not necessarily comprise the best, if by best we mean the kinds that are pleasantest to eat either fresh or in pies. The market grower must select those varieties which yield the largest and most regular returns, even if not the hightest price, and so the English orchards are more largely planted with cooking than with dessert sorts. It is only laterly that men have learned how to grow Cox's Orange Pippin, the finest of all apples, on a commercial scale, and the dominant dessert variety is still Worcester Pearmain, which the true apple lover holds in small esteeem. Only the private gardener can put quality before quantity and will find a place for such shy but choice kinds as Cornish Gilliflower, D'Arcy Spice, and King's Acre Pippin. There are others, too, of fine quality--the old Margil, the foreigner Belle de Boskoop, Gravenstein, and the classic Ribston Pippin, which are reasonable enough croppers but lack something needed in a market variety. It will be sad for the apple lover when Benheim Oranges ceases to be planted because it takes too long to come into bearing. In its season, about Christmas, there are those who prefer it to Cox for its crisp flesh and subtle aroma. But it must come off an old tree and the right soil.
--A.D. Hall in The "Introduction: H.V. Taylor's Apples of England
If only one out of ten United States citizens planted just two fruiting trees, the world would be richer by 6 billion pounds of fruit!
If you have friends who are worried about surviving the economic downturn, tell them to plant an apple tree--better yet, a dozen trees!
--Herb N. Homestead ;-)