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ITS CULTURE IN CALIFORNIA.
A FEW OBSERVATIONS TO BEGIN WITH. There is that about the cultivation of the Does his grosser nature crave the good orange which attracts people. Call it a things of this world? No fruit is more glamour or what you will, the fact re- luscious. mains that many who have hardly given And finally, is there, underlying the a second thought to horticulture their poetry, the industry, the skill, the appelives long, seeing the orange tree, fall be- tite of the man, a shade-just a shade-of neath its spell, and become henceforth its cupidity? There the orange tree touches most ardent devotees;-toiling for it, him again. spending their money for it, waiting long You see it has measured him very accuand patiently for it, and even undergoing rarelve it linowo his
going rately; it knows his strong points and his privations that they may possess it. I do
weak points; it averages him and takes not know that this subtle influence is
him for what he is worth. His own wife capable of analysis; I only know that it
couldn't have done the thing better. exists. But sometimes in thinking upon
In most parts of the United States the this subject the fancy has struck me that
tendency of population is toward the city. the orange tree knows very well how to
Not only does the farmer's boy leave the gauge a man-has the faculty, so to speak,
country to seek out the coveted clerkship, of approaching him on every side at once.
but the farmer himself, arrived at a comIs he a lover of the beautiful? Then he
fortable affluence, is often disposed to must be delighted with its trim body and
move into town, either on the pretext of symmetrical branches; its dark evergreen
giving the children a better schooling, or foliage, with the yellowish new growth
that he may engage in trade, or because peeping out a-top; its bloom that rivals
the farm labors and cares are too arduous the tuberose in delicacy and fragrance;
for his years. In California the moveits fruit like apples of gold in pictures of
ment is in the opposite direction. People silver.
go from the city to the country. Our fruit Has he a fancy for out-door life? The
colonies are filled up with retired protree invites him to share with it the fresh
fessional and business men. In some inair and sunshine.
stances they are men that have adopted Does he possess the true horticultural farming as a sanitary measure; but again, instinct?-does he like to see things grow many are to be fonnd in their very prime and make them grow? The orange re- and vigor who lead this life purely as a wards him doubly for every attention he matter of choice. Some of them, possessed bestows.
of wealth, education and refinement, seek the country for the delights nowhere else of horticulture in this semi-tropical clito be found, surrounding themselves mate, what wonder that many who come there with all the elegancies of a city from the snow-bound East and North are home. And if upon occasion the rich captivated and impelled in the same di. man choose to pull off his coat and bear rection! the brunt of toil, who shall say that he Orange culture must continue as it has will not enjoy his dinner the better and begun, an industry suited to the most insleep the sounder o' nights thereafter? telligent and refined people. It is better
The field proves inviting to people of all adapted to small farms than large. It classes and conditions. The young man, produces better results under the eye and just starting out to make his way in the hand of the master than when deleworld, cultivates his trees and vines along- gated to hired labor. As it requires both side the superannuated minister; and skill and industry, it gives healthful ocacross the way is the farm of a lady who cupation to the mind as well as the body. quit school-teaching because she tired of While the growing of an orange orchard its drudgery. Many men who continue involves something of an investment, in business or professional practice in supplemented by several years of waiting, town have their villas in the suburbs, or and no small amount of labor and care, their country homes of easy access, where the reward at last is ample. If one elect they live beneath their own vine and fig to bridge over the waiting and work by tree, and cultivate their own orange. purchasing a grove already in bearing, he And if long-time residents are thus drawn will have to pay pretty good wages to the away from the city, attracted by the man that built the bridge. charm of out-door life and the pleasure
CHAPTER II. A RETROSPECT, AND A QUESTION ANSWERED. Will it pay to raise oranges? Yes, and ture; planted, planted, planted anywhere, no. It will pay to raise good fruit; it will anyhow, anything, if only they might not pay to raise poor. Simple as this possess themselves of an orange grove. proposition appears when reduced to Taking advantage of this furor, the print, it has taken a good many of us few nurserymen that carried citrus stocks bere in California a long time to find it put their prices up to a dollar or two a out. While experience has already dem- tree, sold out, got rich. Then the frenzy onstrated that this survival of the fittest of speculation extended to the propagais inevitable, we will yet be compelled to tion of orange seeds for relays of nuracknowledge that it is reasonable and series, and a wider extension of plantajust. The time was, and not so long ago tions. Nursery projects were inaugurated, either, when many of our people rushed ranging through eyery degree from the into orange growing as they would have hundred-acre joint stock enterprise to the rushed into a speculation in stocks. Car- row of oyster cans which materfamilias ried away by the prospect of great re- established in the back yard to augment wards, they engaged in the industry the family income. From this planting blindly and recklessly;--planted orchards came trees that were good, bad and inin localities not at all suited to them; different, of course, but the average was, planted scrubby or infested trees; planted if possible, worse than the preceding supbeyond their means; planted without a ply. And when this heterogeneous stock knowledge of orange growing, and some was fairly on the market,--then the deltimes with no natural taste for horticul- lige; or rather, the contrary.
The dry season of 1876-7 came on, fol. have ever known. The trees set unusu: lowed by the wave of hard times which ally full, and this alone bad a tendency to swept across the country. People who dwarf the fruit and detract from its good had planted on insufficient capital were qualities. Then there were late frosts so the first to feel the pressure. Many were severe that some of the fruit was nipped, obliged to surrender their places. Joint and its juices injured or totally destroyed. stock nursery projects failed. Some nur- When the market opened the weather serymen sold out, or were closed out, and was cold and rainy, and people were in no left the country. Thus the furor of orange mood for eating sour fruit. Prices went planting received a check, Nursery stock down. Some producers and dealers who being of slow sale, began to fall under shipped inferior oranges, in spite of the the operation of the law of the survival of unfavorable outlook, found that they had the fittest. Most of the orange orchards their trouble for their pains and a freight already planted were too valuable to be bill to settle besides. Tien it was that abandoned, no matter what the fate of the some superficial people began to inquire, planter might be, so somebody stepped in “Will orange growing pay?" "Have n't to carry them forward. Thus it was that, we been deluded all this time in thinking through all the times of depression and it a remunerative industry?" discouragement, the industry itself went Those who got started right; who plantsteadily and surely forward. The un- ed on high, warm, mellow soils; who took precedented frosts which occurred in the good care of their trees, and followed winter of 1879-80, gave a rude awakening orange growing as an industry, not a to some people who planted in low, cold speculation, are the ones who suffered no places. Not only was the nursery stock loss through the time of depression, and frosted to the ground, but in many in- who are now firmly grounded in the belief stances five and six-year-old trees were that orange growing pays. Last season destroyed. The devastation among leni- while the average oranges of the lower ons and limes was even greater than valley were going at a dollar a box, and a among oranges. These frosts demon- slow sale at that; while many trees hung strated that there were certain localities full of little fruit, not salable at any price, in this country not at all adapted to orange I talked with an orange grower of Pasaculture. Some people, a little more fortu- dena, who was sending off his large, nate in their locations, managed to weath- luscious Washington or Riverside Navels, er through the cold year, and even two or and realizing therefor $3.50 to $4 a box, three cold years afterwards, but for them "And if I had a hundred thousand boxes," there still remained a rude awakening he said, “I could sell every one of them when they found that their trees, having at these prices. Will orange growing reached the bearing age, were capable of pay? Well, I rather think it will. It is producing only an inferior quality of fruit. to-day the best enterprise a man can en
The season of 1882–3 was the most de gage in." pressing for the orange industry that we
ANTIQUITY OF THE CITRUS FAMILY. Over fifty years ago Gallesio wrote, in are only to be found in treasured collecFrench, a learned work on “Citrus Cul- tions. From this work I am able to glean ture," which, in more recent times, the some curious facts, as well as some very Horticultural Society of Florida translated ingenious and erudite surmises about the and published in English, Both original earliest record of the citrus family. and translation are now out of print, and Galleseo holds that the lemon and or