[nafex ibiblio list] Fwd: Please Help Us Preserve Historic Apple Varieties

Chris Garriss cgarriss at garriss.net
Thu Dec 29 16:56:43 EST 2011

I think most of you "apple people" know Lee Calhoun. Several years ago
(actually more than that) Lee supplied hundreds of southern heirloom apple
trees he grafted from his orchard to a North Carolina historic site:  Horne
Creek Farm (http://www.nchistoricsites.org/horne/horne.htm  An article
about the apple orchard is at
 The orchard is not well known, and is not located at the main site.  But
it is, or at least was, open to the public.  The idea was to preserve the
apples, some of which I don't think existed  outside of Lee's orchard.  I'm
not sure, but at one time I'd heard that they eventually would be able to
supply small quantities of scions.

This is a "sort of" governmental site:  there is a deer proof fence around
the orchard, which I believe the state paid for as well as provided the
land; Lee donated his time and the trees.  And, used to go there annually
to prune the trees.  Some of the apples are indeed not endangered, others
are or used to be.  But they represent a small, localized slice of the

And, I worry about what might happen to Lee's collection.  While I
sincerely hope he is around for a long, long time the reality is that he is
not young.  I have no idea what arrangements might have been made regarding
his collection. As recently as a year ago he was still collecting, finding
trees he had looked for over a very long period of time, he published a
second edition of his book recently.

But as you say there do not appear to be comprehensive and verified
germplasm repositories in many countries, nor an interest on the
governmental level.


On Thu, Dec 29, 2011 at 12:52 PM, <david.maxwell at dal.ca> wrote:

> This raises a larger issue.  There are government-sponsored germplasm
> repositories in most
> countries, (some better than others), whose mission is precisely this.
>  Where does support
> from the public purse end and the responsibility of private afficionados
> take up?  (Just
> parethetically, I don't think there is any risk of Ben Davis, Gravenstein,
> or Fameuse (Snow)
> being lost, and they would hardly rate as either "rarest" or "most
> valuable" apple varieties, in
> my opinion.  But then I am getting to be an old curmudgeon.)  I am much
> more concerned by
> what might happen to the collections maintained by people like Nick
> Bottner, which truly are
> unique and valuable.
> > Begin forwarded message:
> >
> > From: Diane at Seed Savers Exchange <membership at seedsavers.org>
> > Date: December 28, 2011 11:59:37 AM PST
> > Subject: Please Help Us Preserve Historic Apple Varieties
> > Reply-To: Diane at Seed Savers Exchange <membership at seedsavers.org>
> >
> > Help us protect 350 of our country's rarest and most valuable apple
> varieties.
> > Have you considered Seed Savers Exchange for your year-end donations? We
> thank you for your membership and continued support!
> >
> > In October, Seed Savers Exchange broke ground on an expansion of our
> > Historic Apple Orchard that will help us protect over 350 of our
> > country's rarest and most valuableapple varieties. Like all of our
> > preservation efforts here at Heritage Farm, we are depending on your
> > generous support to make this project a reality.
> >
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