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 Trip to Nick Botner's place in Yoncalla 
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Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2010 12:56 pm
Posts: 24
Post Trip to Nick Botner's place in Yoncalla
I would like to be included to any trip to Botner's place. How would I go about it? Pat


Thu Jan 13, 2011 11:47 am
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Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 1:42 pm
Posts: 188
Post Re: Trip to Nick Botner's place in Yoncalla
great.......Lori Brakken will make this decision in the next month or so as to if we even do it.......it partly depends on what the interest is from sister organizations and then what is officially sponsored....hopefully, I will have permission to publicly post here what those decisions are.....

In the meantime, drop me an email about three weeks from now and I'll have more info myself.

donricks@hotmail.com


Fri Jan 14, 2011 9:28 am
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Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 1:42 pm
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Post Re: Trip to Nick Botner's place in Yoncalla
I just discovered that the Seattle Fruit Society cancelled plans for the Botner trip......this was an idea that was being considered but it was only that .....(to be considered, that is) and I, perhaps, spoke out wrongfully if I indicated otherwise.......A trip like this would require too much planning....it could be an idea that is continued if I were to offer to plan it, I was told, but I don't think I will. I don't want to be the one to plan it.

Is Dick Botner still alive?

http://www.motherearthnews.com/Organic- ... pples.aspx

I have heard good things about this place, but I guess the Seattle group will not take the initiative.....sorry.

If individuals in the Portland area were to get together to spearhead planning on this, then I would offer to coordinate with Seattle people, but that is as much as I would do.

(whew! I feel like it is time for me to be more quiet on this thread.....sorry to falsely get anyone's hopes up....I spoke too soon about something that was only an idea being considered by some here in the Seattle area)


Sun Jan 23, 2011 5:51 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1151
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post Re: Trip to Nick Botner's place in Yoncalla
I'm sure I've crossed paths with Nick Botner as we've both been with the Home Orchard Society for a long time - but I know very little about him. I believe our society had a summer picnic "down there" years ago but I did not attend. Also, I don't know of his present condition, perhaps someone will check in with that info. Below is the Mother Earth News article on Nick, though it's going back a ways, it's quite amazing and deserves some space around here:

By Kris Wetherbee - February/March 2004

The air in 77-year-old Nick Botner's 7-acre Yoncalla, Oregon, orchard is redolent with the aroma of apples, a sweet-tart sensation guaranteed to make your mouth water in anticipation. Three thousand varieties in every hue, from the palest yellow to vivid green to a spectrum of reds and mixed-color creations, hang like succulent jewels from more than 6,000 trees.

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Botner, a modern-day Johnny Appleseed, tends what he says is the largest private collection of apple varieties in the world. Visiting the orchard is a tantalizing journey through time, cultures and continents.

Jerry Schroyer of Canby, Oregon, past president of the Home Orchard Society, calls Botner "the Noah of the apple collecting world." Schroyer says, "He wanted to have one of everything and sought out unusual varieties. He has this urge to save every apple variety out there."

Botner's admiration for apples began when he was growing up in the old orchard region along the west side of the Hudson River in upstate New York. The family's small city lot didn't afford room for even one full-sized apple tree, but when little Nick was old enough, he started picking apples by the bushel for neighboring truck farmers. Botner recalls, "Apples were grown on big, old standard trees, and we had to climb huge ladders to pick the fruit." A popular variety of the day was 'Baldwin,' still one of his favorites.

FROM ALASKA TO APPLES
As an adult, Botner spent 28 years in Alaska, homesteading 20 acres and operating hunting and fishing lodges. There, he grew potatoes and grain, but with the timberline near, apples were out of the question. Then, he moved his family to Yoncalla, in the rolling hills of southern Oregon, and started planting many things he couldn't grow in Alaska—including 200 apple trees.

"They're such a versatile fruit," he says. "Apples store well, and you can dry them, cook them, sauce them, juice them, turn them into cider—things you can't do with lots of other fruit."

In 1979, after his oldest son, Tal, learned how to execute "whip-and-tongue" tree grafts in science class, Botner was inspired to start grafting apple trees himself.

He did 50 that year, and he joined the Home Orchard Society, where he acquired an abundance of scionwood for unusual and noncommercial varieties. Scions are dormant shoots of desired fruiting varieties used for grafting onto various rootstocks.

"At first I used to buy scions to build my collection," he says, "but then people started giving scions to me that I didn't have." He did some trading, too, and since then has distributed more than 1,500 varieties of apples in the form of scionwood and grafted trees to more than 10,000 growers around the world. By his reckoning, he's grafted more than 20,000 apple trees.

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"Grafting is an economical way to get a tree," Botner says. "If I had to buy all the trees I have now, I couldn't find them, and even if I could, the cost would be prohibitive."

(If you want to graft your own apple trees, scions are available from Botner at 4015 Eagle Valley Road, Yoncalla, OR 97499; (541) 849-2781; for $3.50 each ($14 minimum), plus shipping. Send a legal-sized SASE to him for a list.—MOTHER)

GROWING TRICKS
Two growing methods that Botner employs to use his orchard land as efficiently as possible are tight spacing and annual pruning. "Many folks still are trying to hold onto the concept that an apple tree has to be a big tree," he says. He spaces his smaller grafted trees 3 feet apart, which allows him to grow more varieties in the same area and get all the fruit he wants.

The tight spacing also works best for scion and evaluation purposes. To accommodate the spacing, Botner grafts his scions onto dwarf rootstock "M26" and "Mark," and prunes to a central leader. "A good height for today's apple tree," he says, "is anything you can reach with your loppers."

Lastly, he adds, "All your efforts to grow a great apple can get lost in the pits if you pick them before they're ripe." His advice on when to pick: "Simply cut one open. The seeds should be dark. Seeds that are white or any stage in-between mean the apple still needs time to fully develop and ripen."

Kris Wetherbee learned how to graft from Nick Botner. She and her husband, photographer Rick Wetherbee, maintain a 1-acre orchard in the rolling hills of western Oregon.

Mother Earth News

Here's Nick ImageImageFrom: http://www.riverofmist.com/2007/11/noah ... trees.html
And here's his farm Image

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Sun Jan 23, 2011 10:29 pm
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Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2010 2:00 am
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Location: Crooked River Ranch, Oregon
Post Re: Trip to Nick Botner's place in Yoncalla
It would be nice to hear how he is doing. I phoned multiple times last fall, hoping to order some grape vines, but I never had anyone answer the phone.


Mon Jan 24, 2011 12:40 pm
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Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 10:57 am
Posts: 1351
Location: Portland, OR
Post Re: Trip to Nick Botner's place in Yoncalla
I assume he's doing well. I talked to him at the AAFS in October.
JohN S
PDX OR


Tue Jan 25, 2011 6:38 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
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Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post Re: Trip to Nick Botner's place in Yoncalla
John, did Nick bring in most of the grapes at the AAFS..?

Pinned down elsewhere I don't get around much at our shows, though I did some roaming during the last All About Fruit Show His photo's familiar, and if he was at the fall event I suspect he's hunkered down on the farm about now (and I should stop speaking of him in the third person..). Isn't that a magnificent Farm!

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Tue Jan 25, 2011 11:12 pm
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Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 1:42 pm
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Post Re: Trip to Nick Botner's place in Yoncalla
I talked to him last night....he is 84 years old now....he sounds quite lively and was surprised some folks with HOS hadn't heard from him lately....he assured me Joanie Cooper (?) would avow that he still attends the Spring and Fall Fruit Shows.

The Spring Show is the Scion wood exchange where he generously gives away 500 different species there in Portland....I think this event is in March....and it sounded like he didn't plan on missing this one either....Viron can probably give the exact dates and someone else could maybe re-confirm if he is likely to be there.

All of the above are recollections of my conversation and am not sure the facts are completely straight....but the main point here is to say : Yes, he is alive and well, and is remarkably open to any and all visitors who want to see his place.


Wed Jan 26, 2011 3:31 pm
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Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 10:57 am
Posts: 1351
Location: Portland, OR
Post Re: Trip to Nick Botner's place in Yoncalla
Sorry Viron,
I don't know about the grapes. Don, as I said, I talked to him at the AAFS in October. Thanks for the update. I ordered some scions from him again this year.
John S
PDX OR


Wed Jan 26, 2011 8:59 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
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Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post Re: Trip to Nick Botner's place in Yoncalla
We just had one amazing Sunday at Clackamas Community Collage near our HOS Arboretum. It appeared that around 18 dedicated HOS members arrived to secure a portion of the amazing apple collection of Nick Botner, of Yoncalla (Southern), Oregon. Nick’s preparing to sell his amazing farm - which includes 8 acres and over 3,500 rare apple varieties - and the leaders of our society made the effort to obtain scions, rootstock and rally the necessary HOS volunteers to propagate nearly eight hundred of them. http://www.deere.com/en_US/ag/homestead ... fruit.html

It was an impressive and efficiently run operation! Two, one gallon pots were connected, a metal label wrapped around that connection, and two separate yet ‘identical’ trees were grafted and planted - assuming at last one of the two will survive. For the most part, the scions were good, though some were beginning to ‘push,’ with other’s being quite small. It looked as though 8 to 10 grafters, including myself, were going hard while the remainder of our crew kept the pots and scions coming as well as potting, painting, loading and hauling the new trees to our Arboretum for the summer.

Admiring the open bed of Karen’s truck, loaded with these trees, reminded me of the Henderson Luelling Expedition which brought the first grafted fruit trees to Oregon. Split into matching loads, so if one wagon were lost (as one was at a river crossing!) the other would have what it took to establish their nursery in what’s now Milwaukie, Oregon. But Karen didn’t lose any of her multiple loads across the campus to our Arboretum!

I believe the finale count of completed grafts, many rootstocks needing duel and sometimes even cleft grafts due to their minute size was Seven hundred and seventy-something! And as exciting as it was, nobody wanted to come back the following weekend to finish! So a good chunk of Nick’s apple kids have been propagated and are now safe within the capable hands of the Home Orchard Society. And as long as I’ve been an HOS member, and as many different apples as I’ve met and tasted, Nicks varieties were so unusual I only recognized the ‘name’ of one I grafted - and I grafted a fair amount. - and, I wanted to let our dues paying members know of just one more thing ‘we do.’

My thanks to all, and especially our Prez and VP, Joanie Cooper and Shaun Shepherd - you’ve both got my vote for another term :P - and thinking of cuts and/or injuries..? Past Prez, Jerry summed it up pretty well with, “Not this group.” So nope, just some very sore hands and tired applepeople!

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Mon May 23, 2011 7:46 pm
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Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2010 2:00 am
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Location: Crooked River Ranch, Oregon
Post Re: Trip to Nick Botner's place in Yoncalla
Wow, what an amazing project, Viron.

It's heartbreaking to think that all those apples are likely to be lost. I suspect that the chances of anyone buying that farm and maintaining the collection is pretty slim. I'm glad to hear that the HOS is able to save some of them.


Wed May 25, 2011 10:20 am
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
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Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post Re: Trip to Nick Botner's place in Yoncalla
It was amazing and impressive ... and we didn't even secure a quarter of them! But I suspect (considering the experts having acquired this wood) that only the rarest of his collection were selected for preservation by the HOS.

And I'm afraid you're likely right about the entire collection... He's also asking a lot of money for the acreage, in a tuff market, to say the least. And to me, selling such a place would be akin to selling your children! And though Nick's place is relatively isolated, at least from Oregon's metro areas, it sure would be nice to acquire some land - beyond our limited and leased Arboretum - for the HOS to propagate, plant and maintain a collection like that. What a legacy (folks!) - a 'forever orchard' benefiting the furtherance of antique apples ~

As is, I've no idea where we plan to plant-out our newly grafted trees - sad to say :cry:

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Mon May 30, 2011 5:16 pm
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Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:30 pm
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Post Re: Trip to Nick Botner's place in Yoncalla
It would be nice to hear how he is doing


Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:47 pm
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Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2011 1:01 pm
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Post Re: Trip to Nick Botner's place in Yoncalla
Hi all,
New to this forum and excited to be here. My interest is in apple growing, specifically those selected for hard cider. I only recently learned of Nick Botner and his amazing collection and so was HORRIFIED and sad to hear he's selling and it is in jeopardy!

Can someone fill me in on the story, any details that aren't posted above? Like has his farm been on the market already and how long have people known, etc. That is awesome that such an effort was made to preserve a large part of the collection! Well done. I only wish I could help. I am in the north SF bay area in CA. I have four acres that I intend to plant mostly cider apples and pears. Nick was the #1 source on my list.


I'm wondering how wide this story has circulated... It seems to me that if like-minded people around the country knew about it and there was some kind of organization to gather donations that this one-of-a-kind collection could be purchased and put in the hands of the HOS or OSU or Cornell or some such organization. Of course, I'm not that organized person. Just wishful thinking?.....

Scott


Mon Jun 13, 2011 1:25 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
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Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post Re: Trip to Nick Botner's place in Yoncalla
Here’s a tiny update on the continuing effort to secure the Botner Collection:

…had a good time grafting to save/clone the Botner Collection yesterday at CCC. Sure wish I’d have had more than one of some of those scions to chose from… micro surgery - cleft-grafts on half inch rootstock ... with what one attendee described as "Scions the size of grass!" Pushed my envelope, though, and it's always great to see our amazing crew in action.

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Mon Apr 02, 2012 7:23 pm
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