Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 52.djvu/466

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

Children was read in Boston before the Massachusetts Horticultural Society by one of its members. The interest aroused by the reading of this paper resulted in the establishment of a school garden in connection with one of the Boston grammar schools in the spring of 1891. A committee of the society promised such pecuniary support as seemed to be needed from time to time. Mrs. Henrietta L. T. Wolcott, then at the head of the committee, in presenting the claims of school-garden work to the society, said: "We desire to emphasize the true idea of a school garden. Growing plants, from the first sign of germination to the full perfection of blossom and fruit, and edible roots in all stages, give constant opportunity for study. We believe that by means of the school garden children can be so trained to appreciate plants growing naturally that the present custom of laying out public gardens with flowering and foliage plants arranged in the form of grotesque designs, portraits of distinguished men, symbols of trades, spiritual suggestions or emblems, and rolls of carpeting framed and left out in rain and sunshine will in time disappear. Setting rows of plants in military precision and replacing them by others like magic can have but little educational value."

Since the committee intended to offer premiums for the best school gardens, they thought that persons might be induced to buy the ordinary cultivated plants of a florist, and with them make what they might choose to call school gardens. This, however, would not imply any proper knowledge of such plants, or more useful ones, nor ability to make good use of them as objects for study. It was thought that troubles might arise from allowing a florist's garden to be taken as the standard for the gardens which they wished to see established. The one who spent the most money, or had the most persuasiveness among florists, might establish fine gardens, lay claim to premiums in, good faith, and win them; and yet such gardens might not serve the purpose which the committee considered best. Accordingly, they decided that in the beginning only those plants which were the most suitable for educational purposes should form the main stock of the school gardens. The decision was expressed thus: "Ornamental plants, or those commonly cultivated in flower gardens, will not stock the school gardens contemplated by the committee. Native wild plants, such as ferns, grasses, asters, goldenrods, violets, native shrubs, and economic plants, such as grains, vegetable roots, and leguminous and cucurbitaceous plants, must be the stock of the gardens."

Later, when children's natural love for color and the influence of beautiful flowers in the schoolroom in cultivating ├Žsthetic tastes came to be considered, cultivated plants were allowed introduction,