Britannica.com describes Liberty Hyde Bailey as a botanist who “transformed U.S. horticulture from a craft to an applied science and had a direct influence on the development of genetics, plant pathology, and agriculture.” He had a profound effect on the shape of Cornell, securing state funding for the State College of Agriculture at Cornell, now CALS—without which there’d be no NYSIPM Program.
But Bailey was also a poet. From Wind and Weather, published in 1919 with roughly 130 poems, we sense an approach to horticulture that even now we’re still honing, shaping, revising.
Here we offer “Apple-Year.”
My last winter apple I ate today.
Shapely and stout in their mottled skins
Securely packed in my cellar bins
Two dozen good kinds of apple-spheres lay.
And today I went to my orchard trees
And picked me the first-ripe yellow fruits
That hung far out on the swinging shoots
In summer suns and the wonder-day breeze.
And thereby it was that the two years met
Deep in the heart of the ripe July
When the wheat was shocked and streams were dry;
And the weather of winter stayed with me yet.
For I planted these orchard trees myself
On hillside slopes that belong to me
Where visions are wide and winds are free
That all the round year might come to my shelf.
And there on my shelves the white winter through
Pippin and Newtown, Rambo and Spy
Greening and Swaar and Spitzenburg lie
With memories tense of sun and the dew. Continue Reading →