Author Article Archive - Tonia Lordy

Annual Potluck Luncheon

This Saturday, August 5th, we have a free event at the HOS Arboretum in Oregon City.

From 9:00 am until 11:00, join HOS members for a free bud grafting class that will teach you the basics of summer fruit tree grafting. Bring your hand pruners and a sharp knife if you have one.

At 11:00 am HOS members will demonstrate summer pruning techniques using various trees and espaliers in the Arboretum collection as your tree supply.

We’ll taste summer fruits gathered from around the Willamette Valley from noon until 12:30 pm. Bring your berries, early apples, plums and figs!

At 12:30 pm we will sit down together for a great potluck meal. Bring a dish to share and you own plates and utensils, and a picnic blanket or your favorite folding chair.

The Arboretum is located on the Clackamas Community College campus in Oregon City (19600 Molalla Ave.). Once you are on campus follow the signs to the BROWN parking lot.


Metro Community Enhancement Grant 2016/17

A lot of work has been accomplished around the HOS arboretum this past year, thanks to Oregon City and Metro and their Community Enhancement Grant program. We would not have been able to get all of the work done if it hadn’t been for all of our wonderful volunteers!!!

Thank you all so much!

Metro Grant 2017

Show your support for the Home Orchard Society

Over the past 40 some years the Home Orchard Society has touched the lives of thousands of fruit growing enthusiasts. We have shared scions, stories, experience and advice with hobbiest from across the globe. We love what we do and want to continue fulfilling our mission of promoting the science, culture and pleasure of growing fruit at home via educational outreach and assistance.


There are many ways to help support the HOS:
Become a Home Orchard Society member
Join our Community Orchard program
Order Mason Bees
Fruit Socks
Volunteer at the Arboretum
Buy plants or fruit from the Arboretum
Take a class…or teach one
Get involved at a higher level by expressing interest in our board or joining a committee
DONATE…all donations are tax deductible

Thank you all for supporting us over the years. We look forward to many more years of sharing our love of growing fruit with others. If you have any ideas or suggestions that you feel would be helpful, please reach out…we love hearing from our fans!

Happy fruit growing to you all!

Join us for the 42nd Annual Fruit Propagation Fair

It’s that time of year again! Our volunteers have been busy all winter long harvesting hundreds of varieties of scion wood and propagation material from orchards all over the PNW. We want to share them with you!

Sunday March 19th

Clackamas County Fairgrounds, Main Pavilion
694 NE 4th Ave. Canby OR 97013

FREE with entry- hundreds of varieties of scion wood PLUS cuttings of grapes, kiwi, and figs!

We have a limited selection of pear, cherry, plum, and persimmon.

We will have rootstock, plants, books, mason bee supplies,and fruit socks for sale.

HOS experts will be there to answer all of your fruit growing questions and our grafting experts will be there for all of your custom grafting needs.

-$5 for members (family $10)
-$7 for non-members (family $12)
-Free entry if your join HOS at the show!
-Free entry for volunteers. Contact Jacqueline Freeman at:

As always, we look forward to seeing all of you!

Community Orchard kick off!!!

“At a time of unprecedented alienation from nature and knowledge about where our food comes from, Community Orchards are reviving interest in fruit growing. They provide a way to share knowledge and horticultural skills and stimulate us into growing our food again. In the face of climate change, the need to reduce food miles makes the provision of locally grown food ever more urgent Community Orchards can offer places for quiet contemplation and [centers] for local festivities; they act as carbon sinks, reservoirs for local varieties of fruit, and refuges for all manner of [wildlife].” – (King, Angela and Sue Clifford. 2008. Community Orchards Handbook. Common Ground, Dorset, England.)

In 2016 the Home Orchard Society received an Oregon City/Metro Community Enhancement grant for our Community Orchard Initiative project. The Community Orchard Initiative was selected as a way to broaden awareness of the orchard and encourage participation and involvement. Establishing a community orchard in Oregon City will increase access to locally grown organic fruit for households of varying socioeconomic backgrounds. Excess produce from the orchard will be donated to food banks and organizations serving low income residents within Oregon City limits. Everyone involved in our programs will gain hands-on training and education focusing on nutrition, organic food production / gardening and environmental stewardship. In addition, we provide a sense of community and teamwork by providing a family friendly, recreational outlet enriching all of our lives.

• Free entry to all arboretum “workshops”
• Fresh fruit from our orchard throughout our harvest season (May-November)
• Hands-on organic gardening and orcharding experience
• Exercise benefits the mind and body
• Access to propagation material from many differing plant species
• Access to fresh medicinal and culinary herbs that are grown in the orchard
• New friends

*There are no residency requirements, which means you don’t have to live in Oregon City to participate!

Cost of participation:
• $75 fee per year
• 45 hours of service work per year

Contact our Arboretum Manager, Tonia, for a registration packet:

Mason Bee Alert!!

There is a very severe threat to our Mason Bee populations, Chalk Brood. According to the USDA Agricultural Research Service there is very little known about the actual fungus in the genus Ascosphaera that attacks the Blue Orchard Mason Bee, Osmia lignaria. What we do know is that it is highly contagious and deadly, it can wipe out your entire colony. Larva ingest a deadly spore and vector the disease to any bees that come in contact with the cadaver. These infected bees spread the fungus to your mason bees house, flowers and other nesting sites.

As many of you know our Mason Bee sales/fundraising program has been halted for the season due to this devastating disorder. After sampling tubes from our arboretum and tubes from several different mason bee donors we found that all of our populations had varying degrees of infestation. We have worked tirelessly to replace tubes that had already been sent out and have opted to stop selling cocoons for the year. Our donors have gone through a very tedious process of harvesting and sanitizing their remaining cocoons, in hopes that an uninfected generation will be born this year.

Please take this threat very seriously. This is just a great reminder of the importance of sanitation in your orchard practices. The only way to ensure that we are not spreading the disease is to harvest all of your mason bee cocoons. Clean and sanitize all of your nesting sites/homes on a yearly basis. Put out clean tubes every year, never reuse old tubes.

Harvesting cocoons takes a bit of time but, saving these bees is well worth our time and effort. Once the cocoons are harvested, by carefully slicing or cutting open, you must remove all the frass and pollen debris. 1.5 tsp of bleach to 1 cup of water is the recommended solution for sanitizing the cocoons and their homes. Your cocoons must be dried and placed in a refrigerator in a vented container. Temperature and humidity are important factors for their survival. 36-39 degrees and 60% or ^ humidity is ideal. A “bee emergence shelter” will need to be placed as close to their new nesting site as possible. They are available from different online sources or you can make your own. It needs to be a dark container with holes. At the arboretum we have used things like sour cream/yogurt containers and small waxed cardboard boxes.

Lots of information and control measure can be found online, please educate your selves on this disease and other problems that threaten our Mason Bee populations.
I wish you all the best of luck and remind you that we need to be good stewards to these wonderful little creatures that have served us so well over the years.

Tonia Lordy
HOS Arboretum, Manager

The 2015/16 Mason Bee shipping season starts December 7th!!!

Welcome to another winter season of mason bee supplies! Our sale/shipping season begins on December 7th 2015, and runs until our supplies run out! We have had high sales in previous years and run out of merchandise, so please consider ordering early in December or January to beat the rush.

Remember: We do not accept pre-orders, nor is there a waiting list before the start of the shipping season.

California residents MUST provide us with a copy of your mason bee permit BEFORE we can process your order. You must file form 66-026 with the California Department of Agriculture. Applications are available on-line at:

Send your permit to: Home Orchard Society PO Box 607 Oregon City, OR 97045
Or scan and email to:

Again this shipping season we will be limiting the number of tubes of bees for sale to any one customer to 25 tubes to ensure that the most people can get a population of bees going. If you are used to buying lots of bees to replace normal honeybee pollination on a commercial farm, PLEASE consider buying a larger number of empty tubes from us, and start building your own population rather than buying new bees each year.

We won’t be offering PVC houses for local sale again this year. Please check out the following forms for general mason bee care and DIY instructions for how to build the PVC houses yourself!

Mason Bee Care Flyer

Mason Bee General Information

PLEASE NOTE: All shipping will be USPS priority mail unless otherwise arranged via email prior to your order.
Canadian orders and orders over $100 MUST email ahead for a custom shipping price:

As the demand for mason bees rises, we are always looking for new bee suppliers in the Portland, OR metro area. Are you a mason bee enthusiast with bee houses that are overflowing with bees? Please contact us!

Have a great holiday season and happy pruning!

Tonia Lordy
HOS Mason Bee Sales

Mason Bee Alert!!!

The following is an excerpt from the August 2015 Bee Mail put out by our friends at Crown Bee:

Right now mason bees are in a critical development phase.

In a normal summer:
Spring mason bees should be beginning a final development from larva to adult bee. If you were to open a few cocoons right now, you’d normally find legs just forming and the bees would be all white. (The photo is about right for a “late-August” phase.) Bees need summer warmth to develop correctly. If it were too cold, your spring bees wouldn’t develop into adult bees in time for winter hibernation.

ALERT- What happens with a warmer-than-normal summer:
With too much heat, development speeds up. Your mason bees become “complete” adults too soon and begin to consume their internal stored fats much sooner. As it is very warm, their metabolism is high and their consumption of stored fats is accelerated. Very likely these bees may run out of this life-preserving “fuel” mid-winter and die.
In the Pacific Northwest where Crown Bees is headquartered, we have enjoyed a wonderfully warm summer and as a result, I’m very concerned about our mason bees. You should be as well.

What to do:
If in the Northwest, place all of your developing mason bees someplace cooler, like the north side of your house, in a cool garage, or similar. Don’t place the bees into a refrigerator yet, but do have them in a cooler environment between 60-70°F. Do not ignore me on this. Northwest temperatures have been 10-15°F (5-9° C) higher than normal and I believe next year’s bees are in jeopardy today. If your summer temperatures haven’t been that much above normal, than you can ignore my cautionary words. If you share my concern after reading this, open up one of your nesting holes (tubes/reeds/trays) and carefully cut open one of the cocoons located towards the front mudded end. This cocoon should hold a male that has lesser value than females. If the bee is white, most of your bees are likely on par in terms of development and should be fine. If the opened cocoon contains a black or brown bee then find a cool place for all your bees to rest until harvest.