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 News from amongst the Trees 
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Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 6:38 pm
Posts: 30
Post News from amongst the Trees
In case you haven't heard, the Global Rootstock Shortage As It Affects Our World went critical this winter. Nature is speaking say the Poets or, The Gardener's brand of Paradise involves knuckling down to some strict Natural Rules. Rootstock providers, who are as surprised as everybody, have been encouraging people to order ahead for some years now.

Popular rootstocks are simply superb, and have been for long decades. Breeding programs deservedly have epic stature and rootstock breeders are regarded in some circles as among the most influential and powerful cultural figures of Eras which extend long after their passing. Remarkable though national rootstock trends have been, the latest generation of rootstock material and understanding, gathering from around the world, decades in the making, is a step-ahead. Premiums are big and I have suddenly hit it big. 700 b grade Bud 9 rootstocks http://www.vanwell.net/apple_rootstocks/index.html, 3/8" size for over $1.30(!) each, and 100 Geneva 11's http://treco.nu/Geneva_11.htm. Ordered over a year ago but not picked up yet. These are two of the very finest mid-sized rootstocks in the world.

I am glad to have stumbled upon this Great Good Fortune. As some of you will be aware, the grassroots fruit enthusiast's community is currently engaged in a rescue effort http://www.seedambassadors.org/avalon/nickbotnersorchard.htm in support of Nick Botner who has, those of us who wander around his land regularly, believe, collected what some rankings would suggest is the most diverse fruit collection in the world. Please see the attached full listing of fruit varieties - a very recent scan which is the closest thing we have to a digital copy. (HOS forums software will not allow me to upload this file with its .pdf extension name. You will need to edit the file name, after download, to end in .pdf, before attempting to open it.) This season, as last, HOS volunteers have been cutting scion for rescue: this season, not as last, we find no rootstock available for it. All the 9's went many moons ago. At a crucial stage, the Botner Collection rescue has ground to a complete standstill. We cannot rescue this International Treasure without rootstock. We are losing vastly significant material, otherwise. It is my hope to place all the B-9 and Geneva 11 in the hands of this Collection's rescuers which will, I suspect, include fruit enthusiasts at the Portland and Eugene Propagation Fairs. We also have commitment from fruit enthusiasts out of WA.

I plan to make all the rootstock available free. (Even as there is a distinct limit to our thinly-spread impact, I will happily frown upon those who do not fairly support rootstock sales. I would like to ensure these trees make their way into the hands of experienced fruit people with established experience. At this point, every scion counts.) I'm not sure at this juncture how to pull it off but the people moving around me just now are Angels. Currently, I'm carrying a couple of scion for every disease-resistant tree on the above list - on the ground, some scion is available in quantity, others only in very small quantities. Nick's paperwork is rigorous, but labels in the orchard and other complications make finding the right tree a definite but sometimes investigative trip. It helps to go in with tree-culture lovers. Please do let me know if you are interested in transplanting rootstock and, if you have particular varieties or qualities of scion in mind, please drop me a line. Cider, crab, columnar, cold-tolerant or red-fleshed varieties, for example. I can always check in with Nick for recommendations. He remembers his fruit.

Next week a small team of us is in to Nick's again to cut varieties, among others, which observation suggests show resistance to anthracnose - there is some overlap with the above list. I have a particular hankering for a couple of apples from the Christian Homesteading Movement, CHM4 and CHM D3. In many instances, trees with anthracnose still provide much good wood. It can be safely cut. Learning to work intelligently around anthracnose is beautiful work. Photos are not subtle enough to pick up signs of anthracnose infection, but the evidence is clear to a caring investigation. Playing nurseryman is a good way to spread germs, I have learned. We should check scion wood as a matter of course, of course. We encourage and embrace germ mixes in balanced organics, but we also like to encourage responsible stewardship. We dip our scion in bleach-water at Prop Fair South, but additional caution is required in checking for anthracnose infection, I suspect. Cutting conservatively in the first place, helps. I've no idea how to ramp up the double-checking - Shaun and I are trying to get a handle on how to get it across.

My stance is that the scion we provide from Nick's can be stewarded responsibly. Wearing my HOS hat, I also hope to collect a focused diversity of grapes from Nick's broad array - firstly, we are going to try and collect Ron Lombough's proven PNW favorites, seeded and seedless, which came to me from his writings and conversations. Grapes are powerfully easy plants for people to start and very suddenly claim their ground as among our most resilient and productive customers. A power plant.

OHxF rootstock is rarer than rare this year. I may have a few personal OHxF 87s to share on my journeys. I haven't asked yet, but I may be able to prune suckers at the Corvallis Repository - home to OSU-USDA OHxF Central - during my weekly visits, and offer them. This year, I'm strongly pushing diversity in July-bearing pears. Diversity is the secret to having early pears every year, I have witnessed. You never know which Outrageous pear is going to come on. Very different from one another, the Earlies. Tastes are eye-widening and I am not aware of an effort that has yet freed them concertedly from the Repository. They're small and don't travel well so economics don't like 'em. No need to wonder when they're gonna ripen. Store, they do not. Eat 'em fast and sudden and juicy. Taking no prisoners. 100% USDA material. God bless the USDA.

The rescue crew won't be charging for rootstock. But this evening at Julie Mallalieu's Memorial (She Who Began Prop Fair South) a supporter with $25 in hand encouraged me to take donations to the Eugene Permaculture Guild at 505 River Road, Eugene OR. She said to say we are not a non-profit. One kind man turned up and said he didn't know Julie but he came because he thought he'd know everybody there. Carla, Nick Botner's wife, weeping with me last week in Yoncalla, called Julie 'a Saint'. Others are offering support, too. Oregon kind.

n

P.S. Agh, I can't seem to get past the automatic file sentinel. Viron, hello and happy spring. How do I attach a .pdf file to this thread?


Sun Feb 05, 2012 1:19 am
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Joined: Wed Feb 23, 2011 5:34 am
Posts: 41
Location: Greenwich, CT
Post Re: News from amongst the Trees
I hope Nick's paying customers receive their orders...

I'd be interested in seeing the new list. The pdf "slate" file had some varieties cut off the bottoms of pages.


Sun Feb 05, 2012 7:35 am
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Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 6:38 pm
Posts: 30
Post Re: News from amongst the Trees
Nick is meeting his scion requests, as usual. When we take work parties to Nick, we have traditionally made a point of helping him out - pruning, and so forth - as we are able. With this rescue effort, for example, we are endeavoring to label trees where labels are missing. Somewhat slowish work, but cutting and labeling works much quicker if people work in pairs. One cuts scion. The other tracks paperwork and trees, writes on masking tape, and writes new metal labels.

I'm not sure what you mean by slate-file.

n


Sun Feb 05, 2012 7:51 am
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Joined: Wed Feb 23, 2011 5:34 am
Posts: 41
Location: Greenwich, CT
Post Re: News from amongst the Trees
I should have typed "Slant"...

http://www.slant.com/orchard/Botner-2010.PDF


Sun Feb 05, 2012 10:59 am
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Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 6:38 pm
Posts: 30
Post Re: News from amongst the Trees
Much obliged for the clarification, Joe. Lemme see if I can yet navigate the mysteries of the file upload button. Or please feel free to email me at: fellowservant at yahoo dot com and I will park the file on your directly. I haven't yet compared the slant file to the one in my possession, which was scanned by Shaun Shepherd the week before last.

n


Sun Feb 05, 2012 10:14 pm
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Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 6:38 pm
Posts: 30
Post Re: News from amongst the Trees
Good news. A generous donor has stepped forward to pay for the rootstock to support the rescue effort. Good peeps in Eugene.

n


Sun Feb 05, 2012 11:38 pm
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Joined: Wed Feb 23, 2011 5:34 am
Posts: 41
Location: Greenwich, CT
Post Re: News from amongst the Trees
Joe in 06807 wrote:
I should have typed "Slant"...

http://www.slant.com/orchard/Botner-2010.PDF


The 2012 list is now available here:

http://www.slant.com/orchard/Botner-2012.PDF


Mon Feb 06, 2012 10:41 am
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Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 6:38 pm
Posts: 30
Post Re: News from amongst the Trees
Thank you, Joe. That's a very useful posting, indeed. I will be pointing others at it asap.

I get wind that there may be an actual digital version of the full listing available somewhere in Yoncalla - though not at Nick's. I'm trying to flush it out of the brush. Currrently, we have no way to easily track what is there, what's extirpated, what we already have scion of this season, how last year's grafting effort has fared, where we are so far in terms of our geographic journey through the orchard, or how to quickly locate specific varieties, nothing we can update, among other data-management needs. We have just one hard copy of an alphabeticised 'map' of the collection, for example, currently held in Hood River. As such, every little bit of readily accessible, internetworked, intel helps. An important step, yours.

n


Mon Feb 06, 2012 11:21 am
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Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 6:38 pm
Posts: 30
Post Re: News from amongst the Trees
Raather interesting gossip. I have just had word from Austin Jones, the young man who has observed Nick Botner's trees closely in recent times, living and working at his land - who now farms out of State. He tells me he will be in Yoncalla in about a week, for several weeks, to help Nick with scion requests. As you will note from the link in my first posting to this thread, Austin has his act together. Methinks the Cavalry is arriving. Thomas Merton, the American Trappist, said that the age of miracles is but the age of naturalness. Spearheart Farm is Assemblies of God land.


Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:34 pm
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Joined: Mon May 10, 2004 1:00 pm
Posts: 203
Location: SE Portland
Post Re: News from amongst the Trees
I keep wondering why the germplasm repository doesn't find a way to buy the place. Seems like the simplest solution. They probably don't have the money.


Tue Feb 07, 2012 11:05 am
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Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 6:38 pm
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Post Re: News from amongst the Trees
You're right, Marsha. They have no resouces to support such an initiative. Indeed, one of the big lessons for me of first lurking around the corridors as well as fields at the USDA's Corvallis repository has been learning just how grossly under-appreciated are the efforts of USDA scientists to protect and steward diversity. Even, dare I say it, within the organization itself. Such lack of support is not peculiar to our shores. Kim Hummer, the affable bigwig of the Corvallis Repository, and a world authority on currants, among other crops (and a highly regarded martial artist, wouldn't ya know),also happens to be the Big Kahuna of the International Society for Horticultural Science - essentially, the professional group for Plant Geeks Across The Globe. She has long-standing relationships with repository stewards, globally. In my conversations with her, it is clear she and her cohorts face a common challenge the world over. Many, if not most repositories, are struggling. Some, desperately so. Bluntly put, the belief or notion that governments across the world are responsibly stewarding diversity is a delusion. A very dangerous one. What I have witnessed, through my own eyes, is a tiny, and I mean tiny group of deeply concerned, and profoundly knowledgeable scientists struggling with great courage to protect what little they are able, confronted by a dominant paradigm which consistently undervalues, underfunds, and undercuts a foundational cultural obligation to the health and future of the world and humanity. The ratchet only ever appears to tighten.

In this light of course, the HOS propagation fair, and other grassroots efforts assume a significance deeper than initial appearances might suggest. Joseph Postman's remit in Corvallis, for example, is to protect pear diversity - not to trial fruit or pro-actively push 'new' pear varieties upon the world. For industrial reasons, the pear industry isn't interested/able to trial or support pear diversity either. And One Green World pulling a red-fleshed pear out of the 1000 pear cultivars in Corvallis does not an ecological phenomenon or movement make.

The evidence is strong and consistent: research and responsible stewardship, the truly engaged support of diversity, is only ever going to happen when it includes the grassroots as a primary, committed, engaged element. That's simply the way the cards stack up. Locally, of course, a whole slew of factors - our climate, the proud history of the HOS, Nick Botner's collection, the presence of the Corvallis repository, a long, dynamic tradition of experimental fruit propagation - make us better-placed than just about anywhere worldwide to meet such an opportunity and challenge. We sit, after all, upon two of the most diverse fruit collections on the face of the planet, both stewarded by enormously supportive souls. Meanwhile, there is no cavalry waiting in the wings.

Goodness, it would be easy to perceive such a challenge as a burden. But my sense is we find ourselves remarkably well-placed locally to reframe the problem in a way that invites solution. What I have discovered in my engagement with vegetable crops, for example,

http://www.seedambassadors.org/Mainpages/futureoffarming.htm

is that when my stewardship ethic transcends the accepted diktats of our dominant cultural MO, I am freed, literally, into an ecological territory lying beyond the reach of for-profit approaches to living well. In this cultural landscape, entirely novel potentials and possibilities, previously hidden, reveal themselves. What do I mean? To harp on about it...industry isn't remotely interested in July-bearing pears, for example. These may be simply exceptional fruit, but the pears are small, fragile, don't store and, I suspect, we need two-to-three varieties in hand to 'guarantee' an annual crop. No accountant will go near them. Meanwhile, the Repository has strong, international diversity in early pears, totally 'untested' and, for the most part, utterly unknown to fruit enthusiasts upon these shores. In other words, we sit, uniquely, upon a locally-proven, lip-smacking opportunity to add a beautiful new 'Type' to our own diets and those of future generations. And only, as it happens, through supporting the cause of global biodiversity. Stacking functions, we call it in permaculture. And if not us, who?


Tue Feb 07, 2012 2:14 pm
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Joined: Mon May 10, 2004 1:00 pm
Posts: 203
Location: SE Portland
Post Re: News from amongst the Trees
Ouch. Do you know if the repository has room, if we do a massive grafting job to get some/much/all of what Nick has that they do not, to plant the things? It just seems the place for these trees.

How much is Nick asking for the property? Is there a grant writing possibility here? A personal plea to Michael Pollan (Botany of Desire) to get the word out (and maybe donate)?


Tue Feb 07, 2012 7:38 pm
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Joined: Wed Feb 23, 2011 5:34 am
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Location: Greenwich, CT
Post Re: News from amongst the Trees
Marsha wrote:
Snip

How much is Nick asking for the property? Is there a grant writing possibility here? A personal plea to Michael Pollan (Botany of Desire) to get the word out (and maybe donate)?


Marsha,

Did you make a personal plea to Michael Pollan?


Thu Feb 09, 2012 5:33 am
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Joined: Mon May 10, 2004 1:00 pm
Posts: 203
Location: SE Portland
Post Re: News from amongst the Trees
Quote:
Marsha,

Did you make a personal plea to Michael Pollan?


Nope, just thought it might be a good idea. He understands the problem, and considering the popularity of some of his books, he's probably got money (if he got decent publishing contracts).

mh


Thu Feb 09, 2012 3:55 pm
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Joined: Wed Feb 23, 2011 5:34 am
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Location: Greenwich, CT
Post Re: News from amongst the Trees
In addition to "thinking about contacting Michael Pollan", if someone cares to actually do so, here's the link:

http://michaelpollan.com/contact/#wpcf7-f2-p1124-o1

In my message I included a couple of the links posted in this thread.


Thu Feb 09, 2012 7:30 pm
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