[nafex ibiblio list] Nick Bottner's collection

david.maxwell at dal.ca david.maxwell at dal.ca
Fri Jan 6 20:16:11 EST 2012

Nick has apparently decided to quit.  His property, with trees, beasts, and beautiful house is 
advertised for sale.  This raises a significant question, which harkens back to a posting I 
made a week or two ago:  what is going to happen to his collection, which is billed as "the 
largest private collection in the Milky way".  He has something in the order of 4000 cultivars.  
Compare this with the Geneva repository, who apparently have about 1500.  That is, there 
are about 2500 cultivars in Nick's orchard that do not even exist in the official government 
germplasm repository.  With luck somebody will buy Nick's place who will maintain the 
collection.  But there is a real risk that some rich developer or something could buy it and 
bulldoze the whole thing, with the loss of all this material.  

I am in Canada and am prohibited from importing anything from the States.  (This is a whole 
'nother issue which is not germane here.)  But I wonder whether NAFEX could take on as a 
really valuable project the preservation of this germplasm, (since government is unlikely to be 
either able or willing to do so, else they would have done it before now.)  If each member 
agreed to take, say 10 different cultivars to act as a repository of those particular ones, we 
could disseminate the whole collection in a distributed network.  We would need to keep a 
central record of who has what, and it would probably be a very good idea to farm out each 
cultivar to at least two different guardians.  But I would suggest that this would constitute a 
really worthwhile purpose for the organisation.  Thoughts?

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