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STATE HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY,
ADDRESSES AND PAPERS PRESENTED,
PROCEEDINGS AT THE SUMMER AND WINTER MEETINGS
OF THE YEAR 1878–9.
F. W. CASE, SECRETARY.
LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL.
To his Excellency, WILLIAM E. SMITH,
Governor of the State of Wisconsin: Herewith I have the honor to transmit to you the annual report of the Wisconsin State Horticultural Society, covering its transactions for the year 1878. By an act passed at the last session of the legislature, reorganizing the society, it was made the duty of the secretary to annually report its proceedings to the governor of the state. While the obligations enforced by this act do not strictly cover the year's proceedings contained in this report, the fact that the fiscal year of the society includes a portion of the year 1879, so that the report could not be made and published under the former law, will, perhaps, sufficiently account for what may seem an irregularity. This necessity, however, was regarded by the members of the society as very fortunate, as it enabled them at an early date to assume the position sought to be gained by this act, and to secure a more extended field of labor, and greater influ. ence from a more intimate connection with, and a more complete representa. tion of, the different parts of the state in its official management.
It will not be regarded as out of place to give here a few facts connected with the horticultural interests of the state, and the history of the society in its efforts to promote these interests.
To the early settlers of this portion of the Northwest, the abundance of the native fruits indicated a natural adaptation to fruit culture, and was one of the many inducements which led them to make this their future home. At an early date, vines, small fruits, and many varieties of apple, pear and peach trees were freely set out. For a number of years, owing in part to the great resources of the virgin soil, and to a fortunate escape from the extremes of climate which have since been experienced, these plants and trees made a thrifty growth, and coming early into fruitage, bore abundantly. This suc. cess gave a great incentive to fruit culture. Many more trees were set out, embracing nearly all the popular varieties of the country, and those made dear by the associations of home and early years. But a change came; the late fall growth of 1843, and the following open winter, with its sudden changes, killed to the ground some of the more tender varieties. For a num. ber of years the trees that escaped injury bore good crops of fruit; then came a more sweeping destruction, and from that time on, disasters varied in form and degree have repeatedly occurred, and have been so widely extended in their effects as to destroy the faith of many of our farmers in the capability of the state for successful fruit culture, and to dampen the courage even of some who were once among the most sanguine of our fruit growers.