In this Book

Taking Root
summary
William Summer founded the renowned Pomaria Nursery, which thrived from the 1840s to the 1870s in central South Carolina and became the center of a bustling town that today bears its name. The nursery grew into one of the most important American nurseries of the antebellum period, offering wide varieties of fruit trees and ornamentals to gardeners throughout the South. Summer also published catalogs containing well-selected and thoroughly tested varieties of plants and assisted his brother, Adam, in publishing several agricultural journals throughout the 1850s until 1862. In Taking Root, James Everett Kibler, Jr., collects for the first time the nature writing of William and Adam Summer, two of America’s earliest environmental authors. Their essays on sustainable farm practices, reforestation, local food production, soil regeneration, and respect for Mother Earth have surprising relevance today. The Summer brothers owned farms in Newberry and Lexington Counties, where they created veritable experimental stations for plants adapted to the southern climate. At its peak the nursery offered more than one thousand varieties of apples, pears, peaches, plums, figs, apricots, and grapes developed and chosen specifically for the southern climate, as well as offering an equal number of ornamentals, including four hundred varieties of repeat-blooming roses. The brothers experimented with and reported on sustainable farm practices, reforestation, land reclamation, soil regeneration, crop diversity rather than the prevalent cotton monoculture, and animal breeds accustomed to hot climates from Carolina to Central Florida. Written over a span of two decades, their essays offer an impressive environmental ethic. By 1860 Adam had concluded that a person’s treatment of nature is a moral issue. Sustainability and long-term goals, rather than get-rich-quick schemes, were key to this philosophy. The brothers’ keen interest in literature is evident in the quality of their writing; their essays and sketches are always readable, sometimes poetic, and occasionally humorous and satiric. A representative sampling of their more-than-six hundred articles appear in this volume.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright
  2. pp. i-iv
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. v-viii
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  1. Foreword
  2. Wendell Berry
  3. pp. ix-x
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  1. Preface
  2. pp. xi-xviii
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  1. A Note on the Text
  2. pp. xix-xx
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. xxi-lxxvi
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  1. [A Winter Reverie]
  2. Wm S [William Summer]
  3. p. 1
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  1. A Wish
  2. Vesper Bracket [Adam Summer]
  3. p. 2
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  1. The Jerusalem Artichoke (Helianthus Tuberosus, Linn.)
  2. A. G. [Adam] Summer
  3. pp. 2-4
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  1. The Culture of the Sweet Potatoe
  2. Wm. [William] Summer
  3. pp. 4-9
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  1. The Season: Some Thoughts Grouped after Spending a Day in the Country
  2. [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 9-12
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  1. Natural Angling, or Riding a Sturgeon
  2. Vesper Bracket [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 12-17
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  1. The Season
  2. [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 17-18
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  1. A Day on the Mohawk
  2. [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 19-24
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  1. Farm Management; or Practical Hints to a Young Beginner
  2. [William or Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 24-31
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  1. The Vegetable Shirt-Tail; or, An Excuse for Backing Out
  2. “Col. Vesper Brackett, of South Carolina” [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 32-35
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  1. Autumn
  2. Vesper Brackett, Esq. [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 35-38
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  1. Winter Green: A Tale of My School Master
  2. Vesper Brackett [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 38-43
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  1. A Chapter on Live Fences
  2. [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 43-46
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  1. Report on Wheat
  2. Wm. [William] Summer
  3. pp. 47-52
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  1. The Misletoe
  2. Wm. [William] Summer
  3. pp. 52-53
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  1. Address Delivered before the Southern Central Agricultural Society at Macon, Georgia, October 4 [20], 1852
  2. Adam Summer
  3. pp. 53-70
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  1. The Character of the Pomologist
  2. [William Summer]
  3. pp. 70-72
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  1. The Flower Garden [I]
  2. [William Summer]
  3. pp. 72-74
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  1. Plants Adapted to Soiling in the South
  2. [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 74-78
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  1. Plant a Tree
  2. [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 78-82
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  1. A Plea for the Birds
  2. [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 82-83
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  1. Southern Architecture—Location of Homes—Rural Adornment, &c
  2. [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 83-86
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  1. Plant Peas
  2. [Adam Summer]
  3. p. 87
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  1. The Forest Trees of the South.—No. 1
  2. [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 87-91
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  1. Forest Trees of the South. No. 2.—the Live Oak—(Quercus sempervirens)
  2. [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 91-93
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  1. Forest Trees of the South. [No. 3.] the Willow Oak. Quercus Phellos
  2. [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 93-95
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  1. One Hour at the New York Farmer’s Club
  2. [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 95-98
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  1. Flowers
  2. [William Summer]
  3. p. 98
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  1. Satisfactory Results from Systematic Farming—True Farmer-Planter
  2. [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 99-101
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  1. The Crysanthemum
  2. [William Summer]
  3. pp. 101-102
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  1. Saving Seed
  2. [William Summer]
  3. pp. 102-103
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  1. Roger Sherman’s Plow
  2. [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 103-105
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  1. “The Earth Is Wearing Out”
  2. [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 105-106
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  1. A Rare Present.—Carolina Oranges
  2. [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 106-109
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  1. Agricultural Humbugs and Fowl Fancies
  2. [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 109-110
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  1. A Short Chapter on Milk Cows
  2. [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 110-112
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  1. A Plea for Broomsedge
  2. [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 112-113
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  1. A Visit from April
  2. [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 113-115
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  1. We Cultivate Too Much Land
  2. [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 116-117
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  1. The Proper Implements for Composting Manures: A Picture in Relief
  2. [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 118-119
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  1. An Editorial Drive: What We Saw during One Morning
  2. [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 119-123
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  1. What Should Be the Chief Crops of the South?
  2. [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 123-125
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  1. Northern Horses in Southern Cities
  2. [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 125-126
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  1. Scuppernong Wine
  2. [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 126-127
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  1. A Good Native Hedge Plant for the South
  2. [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 128-129
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  1. Soap Suds
  2. [William Summer (possibly Adam Summer)]
  3. pp. 129-130
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  1. The Best Mode of Stopping Ditches and Washes
  2. [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 130-131
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  1. Cherries
  2. Adam Summer
  3. pp. 131-133
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  1. Amelanchier: New Southern Fruit
  2. Adam Summer
  3. pp. 133-134
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  1. China Berries
  2. A. G. [Adam] Summer
  3. pp. 134-135
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  1. Barefooted Notes on Southern Agriculture. No I
  2. “By an Old Grumbler.” [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 135-138
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  1. Chinese Sugar Cane
  2. “Glucose” [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 138-139
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  1. Cows and Butter: A Delightful Theme
  2. Signed * [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 140-143
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  1. Neglect of Family Cemeteries
  2. Signed * [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 143-146
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  1. The Destruction of Forests and Its Influence upon Climate & Agriculture
  2. [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 146-147
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  1. New and Rare Trees of Mexico
  2. Signed * [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 147-150
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  1. The United States Patent Office Reports, and Government Impositions
  2. Signed * [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 150-153
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  1. Barefooted Notes on Southern Agriculture. No III
  2. “By an Old Grumbler.” [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 153-155
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  1. The Guardians of the Patent Office
  2. Signed * [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 155-156
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  1. New and Rare Trees and Plants of Mexico. No 2
  2. Signed * [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 156-158
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  1. A Transplanted Pleasure
  2. [William Summer]
  3. pp. 158-159
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  1. China Roses and Other Hedge-Plants in the South
  2. Signed * [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 159-161
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  1. Barefooted Notes on Southern Agriculture. No IV
  2. “By an Old Grumbler.” [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 161-166
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  1. Farm Economies
  2. Signed * [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 166-168
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  1. Hill-Side Ditching
  2. Signed * [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 168-170
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  1. Landscape Gardening
  2. Signed * [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 170-172
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  1. New and Cheap Food for Bees
  2. [William Summer]
  3. pp. 173-175
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  1. The Profession of Agriculture
  2. Signed * [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 175-177
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  1. “Bell Ringing”
  2. [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 177-178
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  1. “Spare the Birds”
  2. [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 178-180
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  1. Essay on Reforesting the Country
  2. William Summer
  3. pp. 180-187
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  1. Spanish Chesnuts, Madeira Nuts, etc
  2. [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 187-188
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  1. The Grape: Culture and Pruning
  2. [William Summer]
  3. pp. 188-190
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  1. Advantages of Trees
  2. [Adam Summer]
  3. p. 190
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  1. “How to Get Up Hill”
  2. Signed “Old Homespun” [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 191-192
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  1. Barefooted Notes on Southern Agriculture. No VI
  2. “By an Old Grumbler” [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 192-195
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  1. Sheep Husbandry
  2. Signed “An Overseer” [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 195-197
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  1. Dogs vs. Sheep
  2. Signed “Nous Verrons” [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 197-199
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  1. Fences
  2. [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 199-201
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  1. Sweets for the People
  2. [William Summer]
  3. pp. 201-203
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  1. Barefooted Notes on Southern Agriculture. No VIII
  2. “By an Old Grumbler” [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 203-205
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  1. Peeps over the Fence [1]
  2. “Snub” [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 206-207
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  1. Beneficial Effects of Flower Culture
  2. [William Summer]
  3. pp. 207-209
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  1. Peeps over the Fence [2]
  2. “Snub” [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 209-210
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  1. Fortune’s Double Cape Jessamine: (Gardenia Fortunii)
  2. Signed * Watula, Fla. [Adam Summer]
  3. p. 211
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  1. Wood Economy
  2. [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 212-213
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  1. Peeps over the Fence [3]
  2. “Snub” [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 213-215
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  1. Home as a “Summer Resort”
  2. [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 215-216
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  1. Frankincense a Humbug and Cure for Saddle Galls
  2. Adam Summer
  3. pp. 216-217
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  1. Who Are Our Benefactors?
  2. Signed “Mantio” [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 217-218
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  1. Peeps over the Fence [4]
  2. “Snub” [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 219-220
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  1. Mrs. Rion’s Southern Florist
  2. [William Summer]
  3. pp. 220-221
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  1. Dew and Frost
  2. [William Summer]
  3. pp. 221-222
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  1. The Flower Garden [II]
  2. [William Summer]
  3. pp. 222-226
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  1. Farmer Gripe and the Flowers
  2. [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 227-228
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  1. Pea Vine Hay
  2. Wm [William] Summer
  3. pp. 228-229
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  1. Our Resources
  2. [Adam Summer]
  3. pp. 229-232
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  1. Works Cited and Consulted
  2. pp. 233-242
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 243-250
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  1. About the Editor
  2. p. 251
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