Apple happenings in the state of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho

I would like to take this opportunity to tell you about the remarkable things happening in Washington, Oregon and Idaho that perhaps are not known outside this area. Here are just a few people I’d like to tell you about:

Joanie Cooper and Shaun Shepherd of the Home Orchard Society in Oregon are essentially recreating the massive apple collection of Nick Botner. In case you missed it, Botner, who is in his 80’s, can no longer run his 4,000+ tree orchard. It is on the market to be sold. Cooper purchased 40 acres of land in Oregon and she and Shepherd and others are grafting and planting at least one of every tree so many rare varieties will not be lost.

They established the Temperate Orchard Conservancy (TOC) with a mission:
• To clone the private Botner collection of tree fruit varieties in Yoncalla Oregon and establish an organized orchard able to grow and sustain up to 15,000 trees.
• To establish a science research center for, including but not limited to, the genetic testing of temperate tree fruit, the identification of tree fruit varieties, and the preservation of heirloom and historic specimens.
• To develop and maintain an education facility and a library for the provision of formal and information education programs related to the preservation and perpetuation of temperate zone tree fruit.
You can read about this incredible project at

In Idaho, Saddie Barrett-Grasser of the Idaho Heritage Tree Project is working to save apple trees planted by early pioneers along the Salmon River in Idaho. The project is propagating new trees from these ancient ones and planting them in the Bitterroot Valley in Montana.
In Sandpoint, Idaho, Sandpoint Orchard is a brand new non-profit that has planted pear, plum, cherry and 68 varieties of apple trees. Kyle Nagy is the orchard manager. According to their website at “the Sandpoint Orchard will work to disperse educational materials to our immediate community, as well as surrounding communities in the Inland Northwest, informing them of which fruit tree varieties are best suited to our climate. In working in partnership with the University of Idaho, we hope to familiarize the next generation of farmers, orchardists, and home gardeners of the benefits inherent in organic production, as well as the importance of a local food system. We will also work to educate community members on the wide varieties of apples available today and of the alarming rate at which they are disappearing from our landscape.” This orchard includes such rare apples as Crown Prince Rudolf, Ramsdell Sweet, Niedzwetzkyana, and Summer Rose.
In Battle Ground, Washington, Jaqueline and Joseph Freeman of Friendly Haven Farm rediscovered the lost Gideon Sweet apple. You can read more about them at

This is an exciting time for those interested in preserving and finding heritage apples!


Wonderful info.
Home Orchard Society in Oregon is having a scion fair, I think, this weekend. I would really like to attend.

Dave, that is exciting, thanks for sharing.

Does anyone know if the Temperate Orchard Conservancy will eventually have scion wood available for sale?

My understanding is that they will have scion wood available eventually. One of their missions is to preserve these old varieties and my understanding is that to do that they will make scion wood available.
Dave B.

Do you know if they have any plans to preserve the plum, cherry, and grape collections? I think they are almost as valuable because while many other people have large apple collections there are no large collections of those fruits outside of the USDA.

I should add that the fact they are saving anything is fantastic. Bother built up a unique collection. I was lucky to benefit from Nick for many years of obscure scionwood orders.


The mission of TOC, spelled out on their website, indicates they are intending to preserve up to 15,000 varieties of “tree fruit”. That would seem to indicate they are going to preserve Botner’s plums and cherrys also. I didn’t see anything about the grapes. Here is the website:

I just received 6 varieties of red delicious apples from Nick that I couldn’t
find anywhere else. It’s too bad he’s not 48, instead of 88. I enjoyed trading
with him.

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Nick still gets around. I saw him collecting scions from the Home Orchard Society’s Fruit Propagation Fair yesterday.

And I think the founders chose the name “Temperate Orchard Conservancy” intentionally. They’ve begun with Botner’s apples but have bigger plans than that. Just managing the apples is a big deal as much of the scion wood is marginal and the conservancy has only recently found its long-term home.

They are the same folks who collected scions from Nick’s orchard for years to bring to the Scion Exchange (now called Fruit Propagation Fair). They want people to grow these trees.


Is anyone aware of the current state of Nick Botners collection? Just reading through many of the descriptions NICK BOTNER’S APPLES | Seedling Apples and curious if it has been replanted yet?

Google “Temperate Orchard Conservancy”. TOC is a non profit run by Home Orchard Society alums Shaun Shepherd and Joanie Cooper. They have cloned Botner’s orchard successfully. Great story!


The whole thing? The last I knew, they had barely made a dent in it:

As of fall 2015 they had about 3,000 of the 4,000 trees cloned. (see attached news article) My understanding they are pretty close to finishing and will soon have some scion wood (probably from the first grafted tree in 2011) to share.


Dave, that’s great news.

I personally hope they do a virus check and fruit the varieties before circulating wood. I got several mosaic virus scions from his collection and he magnified it by putting many varieties on one stock. Also his accuracy on varieties was pretty low compared to most sources. Of course for many varieties it was the only source and I am very grateful for the many wonderful varieties I got from him.

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Here’s a listing of the Botner collection.

@hambone: Look at all the limbertwigs on this list. Yowza!


Don’t forget Franki Baccillieri as one of the founders of the Temperate Orchard Conservancy.

Joannie and Shawn are excellent at apple ID, travelling the region to ID trees in old orchards and homesteads, as well as doing apple ID for walk-ins at the shows. I’m sure they’ll be evaluating them for accuracy as best they are able.

I don’t know if virus testing is in the works.

I think they’re a couple of years out for producing significant scion wood. Many of those trees were juggled in pots while the land for the conservancy was being secured, so they were set back a bit.

Matt- Thanks. Is your life complete without a scion of Hanging Dog Limbertwig?


more recent Press

@scottfsmith looks like with Apples nearly done they are moving on to the rest of the collection.

Reading over the site they are not accepting orders for Scions


But they mention peaches and Botner never had any on his list … hmm… maybe he has some but didn’t list.