1802 – 1885
Who was Charles Downing?
Charles Downing, was an American pomologist, horticulturist, and author.
Although not as well known to the public as his brother Andrew Jackson Downing, Charles established a sound reputation for his creative work in pomology. Born in Newburgh, New York, his taste for horticultural pursuits was early stimulated by close contact with a nursery owned by his father, Samuel Downing. Even while attending an academy in the neighborhood he worked a portion of the time in this nursery. Upon the death of his father in 1822, he succeeded to the entire charge of the establishment. His younger brother, Andrew, was admitted to a partnership in 1834, an arrangement which lasted until 1839, when Charles sold his interest and embarked in the same business elsewhere.
About 1850 he discontinued his commercial nursery and henceforward until the end of his career devoted himself to extensive experiments with varieties of fruits. His research activities had much to do with placing nursery gardening on a scientific basis. The test orchard which he developed contained trees and grafts of 1,800 varieties of apples, 1,000 of pears, and other fruits in similar numbers.
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