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The purchase of the farm at Sebastapol was made, as recorded in the preceding chapter, on the 28th of December, 1885. As this was to be the important testing ground for the chief companies of my trees and flowers, it may perhaps be of interest to describe somewhat in detail the farm itself and its topographical surroundings. In particular an idea should be given of the indigenous flora of the region, because many of the wild species were utilized in experiments of great interest and sometimes of importance. The picture thus presented of the environment of the work will serve, perhaps, to give a clearer understanding of some of its details. The plot of land at Sebastopol was known at the time of its purchase as the Gold Ridge farm, and that name has been retained, although the place has usually been referred to in the preceding pages merely as the experiment farm at Sebastopol. The farm has a gradual and gentle slope toward the Santa Rosa valley. It is undulating in contour, and its chief slopes face the east. The soil is sandy, no doubt part of one of many great sand dunes piled up by the waves of the Pacific Ocean and the winds in past ages. On this place there is a great variety of soils and of degrees of moisture. Some parts of the land are so moist that the water seeps up to the surface throughout the season, and the remainder is so loose and friable that moisture may be found all through the summer even six months after any rain has fallen upon it.


At the time the place was purchased about two-thirds of it was covered with white and tan oaks, the native Douglas spruce, manzanita, cascara sagrada, hazel and madrona, while beneath the trees grew brodiaeas, calochortus, cynoglossum, wild peas, fritillarias, orchids, sisyrinchiums-yellow and blue-and numerous other wild plants and shrubs. During the first few years following the clearing away of this forest many species of clover wholly new to me made their appearance, probably in all nearly or quite twenty species. There was also an abundance of alfilaria-Erodium moschatum-a Chilean plant, belonging to the geranium family. This and the clovers growing in the winter made a splendid crop to turn under in the spring, thus adding to the soil much nitrogen-among the most expensive of all fertilizing materials. Later, five acres were added on one side of this place, and again three acres on another-of very similar soil-making now eighteen acres closely covered with numerous species of plants and trees used in the various experiments. This farm is one of the most sightly places in the vicinity. In the middle foreground lies the broad Santa Rosa Valley with the city of Santa Rosa in the distance; and almost under one's feet is Sebastopol. Mount Saint Helena looms up grandly in the east some thirty miles away, more than four thousand feet in altitude. Most of the hills and mountains of the region are wooded with Douglas spruce, various oaks, madronas, and manzanitas. Along the streams, through the valley, grow Oregon maples, alders, ash, willows, and hawthorns. Looking over the Valley of Santa Rosa one sees one of the most prosperous communities anywhere to be found. In the early spring, great apple and prune orchards lighten the valley with a sheet of bloom; and later, fields of hops here and there, with the vineyards along the foothills, make a most enchanting view. The floor of the valley is like one great park dotted here and there with giant oaks, each one of a different form; here, perhaps, a hundred in a cluster, there a half dozen, artistically grouped as if by a landscape gardener. These are mostly white oak-though in some parts of the valley there are numerous patches of the black oak-and along the streams the mountain live oak. In the distant hills north and east are a great variety of evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs among the most common of which are the following Conifers: the digger pine, sugar pine, the yellow pine, the knob-cone pine, Coast redwood, incense cedar, MacNab cypress, Goven cypress, and nutmeg pine. Some of the other evergreen and deciduous trees growing in this immediate vicinity are: Oregon maple, box elder, Oregon ash, California buckeye, white alder, red alder, tan-bark oak, white oak, Pacific post oak, black oak, blue oak, maul oak, mountain live oak, tree elder, bush elder, cottonwood, bayberry, madrona, golden chestnut, Coast manzanita, and common manzanita. There are ornamental shrubs in profusion; among others, the rose bay, Azalea, June berry, Judas tree, thornapple, western sweet-scented shrub, California lilac, shrubby lilac, Coast lilac, mahala mats (trailing or creeping lilac), buckthorn, cascara, flowering dog-wood, common dogwood, choke cherry, meadow-sweet, wild apple, burning bush, poison oak, hazel, black willow, creek willow, velvet willow, snow-berry, oso berry, chamissal, and salal. Of vines and bearers of small fruit or of handsome flowers there are the wild grape, Oregon grape, mahonia, huckleberry, bilberry, low gooseberry, straggly gooseberry, canon gooseberry, flowering currant, compact flowering currant, tree poppy, modest shrub, Labrador tea, redwood rose, California rose, Sonoma rose, silk-tassel tree, bear brush, yerba santa, bush monkey flower, mistletoe, Dutchman's pipe, salmon berry, raspberry and thimble berry. These glimpses of the indigenous flora of the immediate vicinity of the new experiment farm will serve to give an idea of the abundance of interesting native material, for the most part hitherto quite untouched by the plant experimenter, that awaited investigation.


Had I felt at liberty to follow my own inclinations, paying no heed to the question of practical monetary returns, I could have found abundant material for the investigations of a lifetime without going outside the bounds of the Gold Ridge Farm itself. My own tastes would have led me to devote the major part of the time to the investigation of flowering plants and the development of flowers having hitherto unrevealed qualities of form and color and odor. But it was obvious that one could not hope to make a living in this way. I knew that in order to have even a fair prospect of securing a monetary return that would enable me to keep up my work, once the nursery was abandoned, it would be necessary to produce marketable fruits. In this field alone could one hope to find a ready sale for new plant developments, however striking or interesting from a scientific standpoint the results of experiments in other lines might prove. And of course the indigenous wildings of the immediate environment offered only scant material for the immediate production of new fruits of practical value. As a matter of course one must depend for material largely on the orchard fruits already under cultivation. These had been educated for countless generations. Doubtless most horticulturists regarded them as perfected beyond hope of conspicuous further development. But in my view what had been done with these fruits might better be regarded as a proof of their capacity for further education. In particular, I hoped, with the new material then being gathered from foreign countries, to be able to undertake hybridizing experiments that might reasonably be expected to produce altogether novel results. How fully this expectation was justified, the reader is already aware. But it should be recalled that the things which now seem axiomatic because they have been accomplished had quite a different aspect from the standpoint of the year 1885. Hybridizations that have now been shown to be ready of accomplishment were then regarded as quite impossible by all horticulturists who gave the matter a thought. Indeed, as has been pointed out, the general attitude among botanists and horticulturists everywhere was one of profound skepticism as to the possibility of developing modified races by hybridizations, or, indeed, by any means whatever within limited periods of time. My own faith in the possibility of developing new races through crossing and selection had never faltered, however, since my earlier studies had given a clear view of the range of variation of plants both under natural conditions and under cultivation. And it may be taken as adequate proof of confidence that I purchased experiment farms and sent far and wide for hybridizing material at the very earliest moment when my financial condition made such action possible. Nor should it be understood that I had by any means entirely neglected experimental tests during the period of my nursery experience. On the contrary, I had at all stages of this experience devoted as much time as I could spare to tests in cross-fertilizing and in selection among the various nursery products. These had served to give an expert knowledge of the results that might be expected from plant improvement. Moreover, tentative results had been attained that gave support to the most sanguine expectations.


Indeed, it was largely as the result of these experiments in selection that my nursery orchards had come to be of such quality as to command the attention of an ever widening circle of fruit growers. I dealt with a very wide range of fruit-bearing and flowering plants, and although no new plants had been produced that could be compared with those of a later period, my nursery had been stocked with the very best existing varieties of forty or fifty different groups of fruits and flowers, and all had been submitted to careful comparative tests until those that remained were of exceptional quality, and thousands of new productions were under way that were undeveloped. The nursery catalog issued in 1887-the year before I sold my nursery preparatory to devoting my entire time to the experiment gardens then in an advanced stage of preparation-comprises 24 pages, and preserves the list of the exceptional varieties of horticultural plants that had been selected and developed and supplied the material for continuance and extension of the experiments on a larger scale on the test ground at Sebastopol. Here were orchard fruits in great variety; small fruits of the choicest types; nuts of several species, including chestnut, walnut, and pecan; garden vegetables, including asparagus and rhubarb; a long list of deciduous ornamental trees and shrubs, and an even longer list of evergreens; vines and trailing shrubs in interesting variety; and elaborate series of roses, hedge-plants, bulbous plants, and bedding plants in general. All these had been collected and selected and prepared for this very purpose. With such materials at hand, it was obviously possible to continue the work of developing new varieties on an expansive scale so soon as the grounds were ready. Moreover, as we have already seen, shipments of plants from Japan began to be received even before the Sebastopol farm was purchased.


The year following the purchase of the farm, grafts of twelve varieties of New Zealand apples were imported. And from this time forward I was constantly in receipt of shipments of seeds or bulbs or cions of rare or interesting plants from all regions of the world. Association was established with foreign collectors who made a business of securing plants. And as the work became known in the course of succeeding years, amateur collectors everywhere were kind enough to send me materials, so that the experiment gardens became a testing ground for seeds of many thousands of species that doubtless had never before been grown in America. Much of this is already known to the reader of the early chapters of this work, but the facts are emphasized anew because an understanding of them is essential to the comprehension of the work that was being carried forward. The very essence of the new method was to bring together, through hybridization, plant strains that had been long separated, making possible the recombination of hereditary factors in such a way as to bring out submerged racial traits. Obviously such an attempt requires the cooperation of collectors living in widely separated regions. I wish to pay especial tribute to the faithful service that has been rendered both by professional collectors and by amateurs who knew me by reputation only and who had no thought of reward beyond the satisfaction of aiding in a work calculated to benefit humanity at large. Through these collectors I have frequently obtained wild plants the economic value of which had never been suspected, and which might otherwise have remained unknown, which, when combined with plants already in hand proved of inestimable value in the development of new varieties of great scientific interest or of practical importance. Often a certain line of experiment has been carried to the point where further progress seemed impossible unless the plant under cultivation could be effectively crossed with some new closely related species. And, curiously enough, just when a new plant was needed-be it plum or blackberry or solanum or poppy or walnut-it seemed always to come from some thoughtful, perhaps unknown collector living in an out of the way part of the world, who appeared to have known by intuition just what were the needs of the moment. This occurred so often that it came to be a matter almost of expectation, and so constant and so varied have been the contributions of willing helpers that these expectations have seldom been disappointed. Among my regular collectors residing in places that have not hitherto been thoroughly botanized, I must name in particular my highly esteemed friend, Senor Jose D. Husbands of Chile, who has sent me almost numberless new species for trial from the southern half of South America. For me Senor Husbands has scaled forbidding mountain peaks, waded rivers, visited islands, traveled through wild arid deserts, even risking his life among barbaric natives who have never been subdued and who do not always give the traveler hospitable welcome. The value of the materials that thus have been secured would be beyond estimate.


To give details as to the methods by which I sought to blend the qualities of the plants that furnished material for the new investigations when the experiment gardens were fairly in operation, would be to repeat what has been fully told in earlier volumes of this work. The record of the results of these experiments makes up the main bulk of all these volumes. So it obviously is not desirable that I should attempt to repeat here, even in epitome, what has elsewhere been told in detail. Yet a few general comments on methods and results may be of interest. Also it may not be amiss, by way of summary, to outline very briefly the chronological sequence of the chief lines of endeavor of the period, now approaching the termination of its third decade, during which the attempt to develop improved races of plants has been comprehensively carried out. In the successive chapters that have told of the different lines of endeavor, plants were naturally grouped according to their botanical relations or their economic uses, with only incidental reference to the date of the experiment through which this or that particular variety was developed. Perhaps, then, it will serve to coordinate the work as a whole if we review in partial outline the story of the endeavors of successive periods; bearing in mind, of course, that many scores of experiments were always being carried forward simultaneously, and that many experiments that achieved notable results at an early day, are still being carried forward in the attempt to obtain results even more notable. Taking the widest and most general view, it may be said that the chief lines of investigation at the outset of the period when my energies were turned exclusively to experimental work, instead of being unhampered by ordinary nursery duties, had to do with the improvement of orchard fruits on one hand and with certain flowering plants on the other. From the outset, however, small fruits were given almost equal attention. It had been made clear to me, through nursery experience, that the varieties of fruits grown in California at that time, being all of eastern origin, were not ideally adapted to the new climatic conditions of the Pacific Coast. It seemed desirable that new varieties adapted to the new conditions should be produced. So one prime object of my early work was to develop orchard fruits, and notably prunes and plums and peaches, that would be of value in the development of the fruit industry in California. But I had in mind also the desirability of producing fruits that would be adapted to growth in other regions of the country. I observed that most of the fruits then existing were lacking in important qualities that are equally essential wherever the fruit is grown. Many trees, for instance, bore large crops one year or perhaps for two years in succession, and then were practically sterile in the ensuing season. A late spring frost, too much rain at the time of blooming, or some other less evident cause, might prevent the tree from bearing, thus making fruit raising a somewhat "hit-or-miss" proposition. I determined from the outset to give particular attention to these matters, endeavoring to produce varieties of fruit trees that would be hardy and resistant to unfavorable conditions and that would be not only heavy bearers but regular bearers. The matter of resistance to insect pests and to disease was also given careful consideration from the outset. Seedlings that showed susceptibility were ruthlessly weeded out, and the survivors became the parents of races that are relatively immune to disease. Of course the combination of different species to bring together long-diverged racial strains was a fundamental part of the plan. Unnumbered thousands of hand-pollenizing experiments were made each year, and the limits of affinity between the different species were tested by ceaseless and persistent efforts. When species that were seemingly somewhat closely related proved infertile after cross pollenation, it was not taken for granted that there was real antagonism between those species until the experiment had been tried over and over in successive seasons, perhaps thousands of times in the case of a single pair of species, often using different individuals and varieties of the species. Instances in which a hybridizing experiment at last proved successful after many years of failure-as for example in the case of the sunberry-will be recalled by the reader.


In general, practical results were sought, rather than the establishment of theories; yet for the most part, in such a line of experiment, theory and practice necessarily go hand in hand. The only sharp distinction between our method and that of an experimenter who is looking only to the investigation of the laws of heredity is that we were obliged to select for preservation a few only among large companies of hybrid seedlings, destroying the rest, and to that extent making the record incomplete. It would be of great scientific interest to trace the entire company of a hybrid stock as to all its individual members through successive generations. But when the members of a fraternity number ten thousand or a hundred thousand or a million, as was often the case in our experiments, the attempt to preserve all and to investigate their progeny through several generations would necessitate the expansion of our experiment farm until it comprised thousands of acres, and the employment of an army of helpers. If this is true of the plants of a single series of experiments, what shall we say of the aggregate companies making up the ranks of plants involved in two or three thousand experiments. So soon as our work was well under way, and throughout all the succeeding years, at least three thousand different series of experiments have been carried forward simultaneously. Very commonly a million seedlings are involved in a single fraternity. Under these conditions, it will be obvious that there was no choice but to select the few individuals that came nearest to the ideals of a mental forecast, ruthlessly destroying the rest to make room for the favored ones. And in so doing we were of course duplicating the method of Nature herself, although the qualities that determined our choice in any given case were not usually those that would have fitted the chosen individuals for preservation in a natural environment. Our selections were made, of course, with an eye to fitting the plant to meet human needs and tastes. The selections of Nature are made with reference to the needs of the plant itself. But if we make allowance for this difference in the point of view, we may say that the principle of selection is the same in each case. And we are justified, I suppose, in saying that the experiments in artificial selection made on my experiment farms during the period under review, constitute the most elaborate series of experimental proofs of the truth of the Darwinian doctrine of Natural Selection that have ever been brought forward. Such experiments in hybridizing and selection as were part of the every-day work at Santa Rosa and Sebastopol, season after season, involving thousands of species, had been performed elsewhere only in isolated cases and by rare exception. Nowhere else had such a work been undertaken on a comprehensive scale even with a few species of plants. The application of the method to thousands of species, involving countless myriads of individuals, was an absolute novelty.


The results of the work in their bearings on scientific theory may be briefly summarized. These experiments demonstrated that the barriers between natural species are much more fragile than had been almost universally supposed. They showed that not only may we produce fertile hybrids between a very large number of related species of plants, but that equally fertile hybrids may be produced by the union of a good many species that are so widely separated as to be classified in different genera. They showed that the first-generation hybrids may resemble one parent or the other pretty closely or may show a blending of qualities; and that in the second generation, with rare exceptions, there is a segregation and recombination of the racial qualities of the original parent species, in which the extreme forms will more or less closely duplicate one parent or the other, and the intermediate forms may show almost every conceivable gradation between the two. They showed, further, that it is possible by selecting among the second-generation hybrids the individuals that show any desired combination of qualities, to develop, in the course of a few generations of inbreeding, races in which this combination of qualities is so accentuated and fixed as to constitute a distinguishing characteristic of a new variety quite unlike the original forms. Moreover, the later-generation hybrids might reveal racial traits that were not observable in either of the parent species. The segregation and redistribution of characters often gave opportunity for the appearance of qualities that have long been submerged. As a tangible illustration, hybrids in the first generation may show an enhanced capacity for growth, and the later generation hybrids may be graded from groups of dwarfs at one end of the scale to giants at the other. A corresponding gradation may be shown in regard to other qualities, such as color of flower, character of leaf, flavor of fruit, productivity, resistance to disease in a word as to all the varied properties that go to make up the personality-if the expression be permitted-of a plant. Many of these things are so well recognized today that they seem mere matters of fact, quite beyond challenge. But they were matters of very ardent challenge in the day when they were first being demonstrated in the experiment gardens at Santa Rosa and Sebastopol. When the first official announcements of this work were sent forth, through publication of the brochure called New Creations in Fruits and Flowers in June, 1893, the measure of the novelty of the announcements may be gauged by the popular interest aroused on one hand and by the outspoken incredulity of the botanical and horticultural worlds in general, save only the individual experts who had previously visited my grounds and seen for themselves the truth of the matters that were now given publicity. It will serve to give an outline of the progress of the work if we briefly summarize the contents of the successive catalogs in which the new developments were publicly reported.


The first of these, as already noted, appeared in June, 1893, under title of New Creations in Fruits and Flowers. The subsequent ones were regarded as supplements to the original publication. By running over the contents of these supplements of successive years, an impression is gained of the sequence in which the more important plant developments were brought to a stage of improvement that justified their introduction. But of course it must not be inferred that the different experiments had been taken up in the precise sequence in which their successful results were announced. Some lines of investigation require far more time than others; there are experiments still awaiting announcement that were begun at the very outset of my experimental work. Nevertheless the successive announcements may be taken as at least giving a general view of the progress of the work; so we may briefly summarize the contents of the original publication and of the earlier Supplements to which chief interest attaches because of the entire novelty of the products they present. In a later chapter we shall take up the theoretical bearings of the new work. Here we are concerned for the most part with a bald recital of the names of the more important new varieties of plant life, presented somewhat in the order of their introduction. Even as to these, nothing like a complete list will be given, for the minor improvements of plant life, large numbers of which have been referred to in the course of this work, do not call for special reference here. Even the recital of the names that cannot well be overlooked may carry us to rather tiresome lengths. The new varieties of hybrid plants announced in the publication of 1893 are listed in 18 successive groups as follows: (1) Hybrid Walnuts, including the forms afterward named the Paradox and the Royal. The pedigrees of the two hybrids are given, one being a cross between the California and the Persian walnut and the other between the black walnut of the East and the California black walnut; but the distinctive names were given later. (2) A new Japanese Mammoth Chestnut. The origin of this chestnut is given, and it is stated that the one offered is "the best one of more than ten thousand seedlings, a tree which every season bears all it can hold of fat, glossy nuts of the very largest size and as sweet as the American chestnut." (3) Two Quinces named respectively the Van Deman and Santa Rosa, the former named in honor of the Chief of the Pomnological Department of the Department of Agriculture, who had particularly admired it. A new Japan quince named Alpha and a new flowering quince named Dazzle. (4) Plums and Prunes. These comprised ten new varieties of hybrids, for the most part bearing numbers only, but including the Golden, the Delaware, the Shipper, and the plums that afterward were famous as the Wickson and America; also the Giant and Splendor prunes. (5) Hybrid and crossbred Berries. Here there are 19 new varieties, including the Japanese Golden Mayberry, the Primus berry, the berry afterward named Phenomenal, the Paradox, the Autumn Giant, and Eureka. The strange raspberry-strawberry hybrids are also described and pictured, although not offered for sale. (6) Seedling Roses and rose hybrids. There are five named or numbered varieties in this list, including the Peachblow and the one afterward known as Santa Rosa. A number of Rugosa hybrids are listed in addition, one of them being mentioned as having received a medal from the California State Floral Society. (7) New Callas. These included the variegated Little Gem, the Snow Flake, the Giant Calla, and the Golden variegated Richardia albo maculata, it being recorded of the irKL-naned that it was selected from eighteen thousand seedlings, and of the last named that it was the single selection among hundreds of thousands of bulbs of the spotted-leaved Calla that had been raised from seed on my grounds. (8) Hybrid Lilies. Only two specified varieties are offered under individual numbers, one being the large-flowering Lilium pardalinum afterward known as Fragrance, and the other a dwarf form growing only ten inches high and producing from 20 to 40 blossoms on each of the short stalks which afterwards bore the name of Glow. But the names of 42 species and varieties were given as only a partial list of the lilies that had been combined in the hybrid seedlings which even at that time made up an extraordinary colony in the experiment garden. It was stated that some of the older hybrids and seedlings were represented by as many as a thousand bulbs each; that half a million kinds were yet to unfold their petals for the first time; and that we were still planting from one to three pounds of hybridized lily seed every season. So the varieties actually announced were only the forerunners of a vast company of which more would be heard in later years. (9) New varieties of Gladiolus. It was stated that six of the best forms of this flower, from among a million or more seedlings raised during the ten years preceding, had been introduced four years earlier, one of these being the first double gladiolus and the first of a type in which the flowers are closely arranged all around the spike, like a hyacinth. In the catalog ten interesting forms were listed and succinctly described, among others a white form with very large flowers, several dwarfs with curious stripes and markings, and sundry double forms. (10) Hybrid Clematis. Six new forms were named, including a double variety, with broad snow-white petals, the flowers five to six inches in diameter, that blooms almost constantly throughout spring, summer, and fall. Another variety was said to resemble a white water-lily, and it was said of the group that "No hardy flower except the rose and the lily is so magnificently beautiful as the new hybrid Clematis; seedlings of which have been grown at the rate of ten thousand a year for several years." (11) A new Myrtle. This is described as a new silver variegated Roman Myrtle or Brides' Myrtle, originated as early as 1882. It had been characterized by the California State Gardener as the handsomest variegated shrub he had ever seen. (12) A new Poppy named Silver Lining. Described as developed by six years' selection from a sport of the Papaver umbrosum (Butterfly Poppy), and as being of a glistening silver white on the inside of each petal instead of crimson and black; the outside remaining of the original brilliant crimson, thus producing a strikingly beautiful effect. (13) A new plant, the Nicotunia. This name had been coined to describe a new race produced by crossing a tobacco plant (Nicotiana) with a Petunia. A suggestion of the difficulties involved in making this cross was given in these words: "If anyone thinks he can take right hold and produce Nicotunias as he would hybrid petunias or crossbred primroses, let him try; there is no patent on their manufacture; but if the five hundredth crossing succeeds, or even the five thousandth, under the best conditions obtainable, he will surely be very successful; I do not fear any immediate competition." It was stated that the flowers of the new hybrid are handsome, white, pink, carmine, or striped, and are borne in bounteous profusion, but that no seed is ever produced, although the plants are very readily multiplied by cuttings. (14) Hybrid Nicotianas. These are hybrids produced by crossing six or more different species of Nicotiana. "Many of the new hybrid varieties are only obtained after several thousand crossings, under all conditions which seemed to promise success; but now I have perennial varieties with glaucous green foliage, edged and mottled with white, bearing pink blossoms in cymes two or three feet across with from five hundred to two thousand or more blossoms in each cyme. Most of these hybrids are readily propagated from root cuttings or slips; none of them ever bear any seed; all are unusually hardy." (15) Begonia-Leaved Squash. "A mammoth squash which produced abundant crops for stock feeding and has bright golden variegated leaves. The unusual leaf variegation appeared four years ago [1889] on a single vine, and by selection has become so fixed that at least 95 per cent. are variegated. The form, size, and uniform appearance of the squashes has also been very greatly improved." (16) New Potatoes. Two varieties are described as being the best of several thousand seedlings that have been tested for five years. One is a long, nearly cylindrical, smooth, white seedling of the Burbank; the other is a short, flatish, oval, light colored potato with a russet coat, from a cross between the old "Chile" or "Bodega red" and the Burbank. "Both are superior keepers, and have never shown any tendency to become diseased." (17) Ornamental Crossbred Tomato. This new fruiting plant is named Combination and is described as a cross between the "Little Currant" and the "Dwarf Champion" tomatoes. "The curious plaited, twisted and blistered, but handsome leaves, sturdily compact growth, and clusters of fruit, will make it a favored ornamental plant which can be easily grown by everybody." (18) "Other New Plants." A miscellaneous list of hybrids, including some very extraordinary combinations, particularly crosses between the different orchard fruits, peaches, almonds, plums, quinces, and apples in various combinations. The photograph of a stem of apetalous pistillate blossoms of a plum-apricot hybrid is given; a picture that has peculiar interest now in view of the subsequent development of the plunmcot. Mention is also made of the crossbred tigridias, new cannas, arums, amaryllis, brodiaeas, aquilegias, and asters, and a multitude of other things not yet near enough to perfection to merit a special description. These were to appear in later catalogs.


The list of "New Creations" thus briefly summarized occupies fifty pages. There follows a concluding section under the heading "Facts and Possibilities" that summarizes the work and that may be worth quoting here for its historical interest. The wider bearings of the problems touched on will be more comprehensively discussed in a later chapter. But the general attitude of the experimenter toward his work in both its theoretical and its practical bearings is rather clearly outlined in the summary concluding a catalog which so high an authority as Professor Hugo de Vries has seen fit to describe as of epoch-making character: "There is no possible room for doubt that every form of plant life existing on the earth is now being and has always been modified, more or less, by its surroundings, and often rapidly and permanently changed, never to return to the same form." "When man takes advantage of these facts, and changes all the conditions, giving abundance of room for expansion and growth, extra cultivation and a superabundance of the various chemical elements in the most assimilable form, with abundance of light and heat, great changes sooner or later occur according to the susceptibility of the subject; and when, added to all these combined governing forces, we employ the other potent forces of combination and selection of the best combinations, the power to improve our useful and ornamental plants is limitless."


In describing my work, Professor de Vries has said that my catalog of 1893, the contents of which have just been summarized, gained for its author "a world wide reputation and brought him into connection with almost all of the larger horticultural firms on the earth." It would be superfluous to recapitulate in detail the plant developments that have occupied attention at Santa Rosa and Sebastopol in the more recent years. In the course of the decade following the announcements in the first edition of New Creations, the new experimental work was subjected to scrutiny by large numbers of visitors, including distinguished pomologists and horticulturists and botanists from all over the world. The new fruits and flowers had been subjected to tests sufficient to establish their merit. All skepticism as to the validity of the announcements that came officially from Santa Rosa had long since vanished. On the other hand, there were many discriminating and appreciative notices of the new work published in magazines and books. If I were to summarize in a sentence or two the main lines of progress of the most recent decade, I should of necessity give first place to the work of development of the races of Spineless Cactus, which reached a commercial stage in 1904. The work with the Indian Corn, including, incidentally, the development of the Rainbow Corn; the development of the giant Amaryllis; the perfection of new races of Shasta Daisies; the development of new Roses, Gladioli, and some scores of other flowers; varied work with the Poppies; the development of new races of Giant Crimson winter rhubarb; the production of the Sunberry; new Plums, Prunes, Cherries, Peaches, Apples, and Plumcots; and an elaborate series of experiments with Cereals and Grasses-these represent a few main lines of the work that has occupied attention in recent years, and will serve to suggest the further lines of action that will claim attention in the years to come. Meantime the present publication, giving the first complete and authoritative account of my work that has ever been attempted, comes forty years after the development of the Burbank potato, which marked the beginning of my plant development. Yet I have reason to hope that there are years ahead that will prove even more productive than any years of the past-perhaps in their ultimate importance more productive than all the forty years of past effort.

This text is from: Luther Burbank: his methods and discoveries and their practical application. Volume 12 Chapter 3