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What I liked about erstwhile HOS.
Lewis Co., WA
229 Posts
January 9, 2021 - 7:39 pm

Prized HOS Forum members: 

I don't know what other HOS members might have gotten out of membership in the organization, but in the hopes of getting some potentially constructive feedback from Forum members with a potential end toward a newer organizational framework, I'll state my own personal reasons.  Please pardon me and avert your eyes, if necessary, but I am baring myself before you....

My wife and I live a minimum one-and-a-half hour drive from any HOS activities.  As I age, I have become ever more averse to long drives on highways, and find myself ever more of a "homebody".  Fortunately, my wife and I have just a bit short of 20 acres' predominantly wooded property, which allows me to keep my sanity as a primitive naturalist.  For me, the most valuable aspect of membership in the HOS was the springtime scion "exchange", and the autumn "All About Fruit Show".  It was only in an organization like the HOS that I could sample such a diversity of apples and pears and other fruits which, otherwise, would have been utterly absent from my experience.  How is one to discover such an eye-opening diversity if there is no such opportunity to do so?  How does any human get a sense of that diversity if they never have the opportunity?!  I don't know all who of whom contributed fruits to the HOS show besides individual members and (I believe) the Pyrus germplasm collection at Corvallis, Oregon.  Nevertheless, the shows that I've attended have been wonderfully diverse.

Second, of course, is the "scion exchange" in the springtime, which allowed HOS members to potentially acquire scions of some of the exquisite fruit varieties which they may have discovered in the "All About Fruit Show".  What's the point of having your brain awakened to the incredible taste of a particular fruit if you can't acquire it?  Usually, the only prerequisite would be that you know how to graft the fruit in question and are able to acquire a scion.  ...Now that was where the grafting classes offered by HOS came in handy.  

I learned how to graft by watching my dear departed grandfather graft a couple of things back in perhaps 1981, and then by purchasing a reputable book on plant grafting in order to learn more.

These two events of the HOS were -- for me -- the worthwhile benefit of membership in the HOS.  I enjoyed receiving and reading the HOS publication, but so much of it was repetitive, reprinted from other sources, and with so little new original material that I wasn't able to get a lot out of it.  When there was new original material published, by golly I always paid attention and appreciated those unique contributions.

And, of course there's the (former?) HOS Forum that apparently has not been widely used by HOS members, which I've enjoyed checking-in on except for when I've gotten so busy that I've disappeared for some months.  That being said, let me just say that I appreciate those of you who respond to legitimate queries for information; those who share your personal experience and observations regarding cultivation or grafting of a particular plant; those who share relevant newsworthy information that otherwise would be late in coming; and those of you who are always helpful to others in any way that you can be.  Thanks.

The Forum has been greatly informative.  I hope that it will continue to exist in a similar form and -- more than anything -- I hope that there will be a sufficient number of people with true knowledge and zeal who will form the next incarnation of a Cascadian orchard society that meets or exceeds the reach and benefit of the erstwhile Home Orchard Society.

Reinettes Smile

N.B. -- By this post, I hope to "hear" from other Forum members as to what you have gotten out of, or have appreciated about the Home Orchard Society, and what you would like to see potentially arise in the great vacuum created by, and left by, the demise of the HOS.  

John S
1020 Posts
January 10, 2021 - 7:00 pm

I liked pretty much all of the activities that HOS did.  I'm glad the forum is still here. I will be very interested to see if new scion exchanges happen or if apple tastings occur. Portland Nursery has a tiny one. Mason bees, rootstocks, advice, ? No way will it exist in the same way, but hopefully in a smaller way.

There is now an Agrarian Sharing Network on Facebook.  They are trying to do their part.  I like Tonia's HOEducation Center.

I will be fascinated to see what people miss and will work to create when they start to realize what they are now missing.

John S

474 Posts
January 10, 2021 - 7:36 pm

I also liked all the events.  I think when the then board officers saw me show up, repeatedly, to the same events, they realized they had a live one and reeled me in 🙂

The Scion Exchange was probably the single most exciting thing.  It's instant gratification, kid in a candy store, and free shopping spree all rolled together.   I'd always meant to volunteer at the grafting table at some point, but was needed in other places and we'd worked up to a pretty big group of volunteer grafters.

The All About Fruit show was the one I'd brag about to people who weren't yet hooked.  It got less exciting with successive years though, most of the fruits recurred.  It was cool if we'd get different weather to see which fruits presented differently that year.  The advice table and Apple Id tables were always interesting.

When I was new, I looked forward to the Pome news.  As news and information became more available online elsewhere, I found myself reading them less.  I used to save them to read on the airplane for business trips.  But then the airlines allowed personal devices to be used and I was back to other things.

466 Posts
January 10, 2021 - 9:52 pm

The last of ten years I saw myself as one of those scion exchange grafters in the spring of every other year. Although I had not expected these changes, I still wish support. Clackamas community college is an easy trip, then when a need arises, or I see a need for cherry grafting here on HOS dot org -I will direct to Tonia's Home Orchard Education Center and make good on cherry scion supplies.

Those wishing good supplies of cherry still have options being helped looking at my old posts.

The education center seems so well set for custom grafting apples due to the connections through the Nick Botner's infinite description of apple cultivars and what friends Tonia has become with Joanie and Company

Landing on a blank google dot com page, say you need to know if 'Alfristn' apple is in the cards, then enter, Alfriston

,which if done properly gets you here.

81 Posts
January 11, 2021 - 12:49 am

So any word on scions for this upcoming spring? If nothing happens, how will one acquire scions?

466 Posts
January 11, 2021 - 9:37 am purvis idaho scions

Which would be exactly right here for mail order apricot.

171 Posts
January 11, 2021 - 5:23 pm

jekahrs said
So any word on scions for this upcoming spring? If nothing happens, how will one acquire scions?  

It would be interesting if we made a map of ourselves, and created a collective listing of varieties that we're willing to share scions from.  If someone has something you want and is within easy driving distance, you could schedule a covid-safe "porch pickup".

We could get fancy and use graph theory or something to transfer scions long distances.  e.g. I trade with my "neighbor", and include scions desired by their "neighbor" etc.  That way no one has to drive more than the distance to their neighbors.  Or we could use a hub and spoke model, where someone who lives near our collective geographic center and has a big porch agrees to store all scions that need to pass through the hub.  Then the farthest we each would need to drive is the hub.

Or each person could just go online and order/trade scions through the mail.  I'm starting to see lots of lists on the Scion Exchange FB groups e.g. North American Scion Exchange.  And of course for apples, the TOC is unbeatable (though they don't have "Miss Jessamine" yet...?).  My trades through the mail have been mostly successful but I did have one bad one (it was a second trade with them, they never sent payment for my shipping costs nor acknowledged me for sending the scions).

I'm updating my scion list, which I'll post somewhere.  I plan to prune/cut scions 1/16-17.

81 Posts
January 12, 2021 - 12:50 am

Unfortunately, TOC doesn't do pears from what I can see. But I found a place to buy two of the pears on my must-have list. Since they only have 2 Beure Superfins left- a must-have. I have to go for it, as I have no idea if and or what I will be able to procure from HOS this year. On my list:


Beurre Superfin


Summer Blood Birne 



Fin de Sielle

Ha! Good luck with the last two. 

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