Phone & Mail
1408 Trumansburg Rd, Ithaca NY 14456
Dr. James N. Cummins
About Cummins Nursery
About Cummins >>> Stories >> Dad's Corner
There's a certain magic in the nursery, a magic sense of creating, the magic of making a tree. The joys of the nurseryman are simple joys. To pull the sawdust away from a dozen shoots in the layer bed and find there the first hints of rooting, and in another month to find new white roots rampaging through the sawdust....in the spring to watch the breaking of the first shoots from buds so painstakingly put in last August....on a snowy November day, behind the digger tractor, to pull up 8-foot tree after perfect tree of Longjohn plums.
Mr. Gage first opened for me the magic of the nursery --70 years ago Mr. Gage, our nearest neighbor back in the hills of Southern Illinois, taught me the ancient art of T-budding. I made my very first trees, peach trees for a new block in the family orchard. Years later, after the War, Dad and I used T-budding and whip-and-tongue grafting to framework 20 acres of Virginia Crab and Hibernal to Jonathan and Starking and Golden Delicious. Karl Brase here at Cornell introduced me to the layerbed back in 1947, and I started my first Malling 2 and M.7 beds back home in the Ozarks in 1948. Last winter on a homing trip to Southern Illinois I found a 30-acre block of Goldens I'd made 35 years ago, still going strong, and that too can stand as one of the joys of the nursery.
For 62 years Cindy has shared with me the greentree joys, and now my children too. Three of my sons are exercising the green thumb full time -- Jamie with his orchard and cider operation southeast of Ithaca, John doing fruit research at University of Tennessee, and Steve here running Cummins Nursery. Pete and Sarah too have shared the magic of the green and growing tree. The grandchildren now are getting their first exposures, from picking peaches to tying buds to pulling weeds, and some of them, I hope, will later have their full share of joy in the magic of the tree.
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