NYBG’s latest acquisition comes courtesy of a very special guest. The one and only Neil deGrasse Tyson paid us a special visit to gift the Garden with a graft of Sir Isaac Newton’s famous apple tree! The sapling, grown from a cutting of the same tree that inspired Newton to develop his universal law of gravitation, will live in our Nolen Greenhouses until it is strong enough to be planted on grounds where everybody can admire it.
Neil deGrasse Tyson was once a young aspiring scientist here in the Bronx, and now a tree famous for having inspired a great scientific mind can inspire future generations here in his hometown. We cannot thank him enough for bringing a piece of scientific history to add to our collection.
See the video of Tyson’s visit on NYBG’s Plant Talk blog. ~LM
The dolls and I visited my aunt and uncle at Sunnyside Orchard (coming soon to airbnb) recently. Here are some photos of their visit.
Meanwhile, the March charity doll for International Women’s Day on ebay is going well with still a day and a half to go.
50% of the final selling price will go to the International Women’s Development Agency. This is an Australian non profit that works with partner organisations in the Asia Pacific region to improve the lives of women. Please see their good works at www.iwda.org.au and consider donating directly.
The remaining amount will go towards start up costs for Tree Change Dolls which is beginning to transform from a part time hobby into a part time small business.
This year, I created two apple trees: one with two varieties (Pink Lady and Granny Smith) and the other with three (Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, and Braeburn). The apple trees are now living in 5 gallon planters, growing steadily and looking healthy. I did not purchase the trees this way; here is how they came to be.
It all started on January 24, 2015 when I attended the 2015 Scion Exchange. I purchased the two would-be multi-variety apple trees as raw M-111 root stock for $2.50 each. The root stocks were about 3 feet long and looked like short brooms with scraggly, wet sweepers. I also collected several varieties of heat-loving late-harvest apple tree scions. While some of my friends who had attended the scion exchange with me, grafted their trees that same day, I opted to wait.
I had heard that the best time to graft is when the “sap is flowing”, after the tree breaks dormancy in Spring. This later proved to be good advice. The scions I collected were placed in the fridge. I chopped the rootstock to the size I wanted and potted them up immediately. The trees grew out through the Spring and I pruned them on occasion so only selected one or two branches grew. I hoped to thicken the new branches so I could graft on to them later in the Spring.
The scions remained in hibernation until I took them out of the fridge three months later on May 2nd to graft on to the trees. I had not intended to wait so long to perform the grafting, I just never got to it until that day. I cut the trees back so that one had no leaves and the other had only a pair. I carefully grafted the trees. After grafting, I wondered if I had waited too long (the wet paper towel the scions were wrapped in showed little black specs of mold and the granny smith scion, in particular, looked like it was succumbing to some other fungus.)
Despite my uncertainty in the success of these 3 month-old scions and my unpracticed grafting technique, the apple tree gods seem to have been on my side, as all 5 of the grafts took. I could tell after just a few weeks that they were successful, as the scions’ buds popped and grew out new branches.
Today, I removed some of the grafting tape. Here are the photos of the trees as they are now with their healing grafts as well as some from their beginnings as root stock and as just-grafted trees.
Mommy’s apple tree is growing tiny not-quite-apples again! This year’s crop is still on the tree and already bigger than last year’s. If you ask me, bigger than my head is plenty big for apples. Hurry up and pick some for me to nom, Mommy!