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.