I decided to explore the headwaters of a small stream that provides habitat to waterfowl and some fish. Crystal Springs ultimately flows into the Willamette River (via Johnson Creek), but not until it flows through Reed Gulch. It is a special, fragile place wedged between residences and Reed College. Today, I noticed a very small plaque and a wired off fragile looking planting.

photography-nature-trees-apple-history-swittersbI took some photos and when I got home I decided to research The Old Apple Tree Project and made a very pleasant discovery of some history. The Old Apple Tree Project flows from a grant provided by Awesome Portland ($1000.) 

The project entailed taking twelve cuttings from what is believed to be the oldest apple tree in the Pacific NW (1826…..a great story here) and grafting them to form 12 plantings around the Portland/Vancouver area to perpetuate the original tree’s genetics.

Apple seeds from London, via a lady who saved the seeds from a baked apple pie served at a farewell dinner for a soldier; she tucked them into that soldier’s vest pocket and asked him to plant them when he arrived around the world. The seeds were indeed planted by Dr. McLoughlin (Hudson Bay Company) on behalf of the soldier near a stockade on what is now Vancouver, Washington. 170 years later the tree had survived many mishaps, but the above project will carry on the tree’s heritage.

I enjoyed finding this small planting in a not so visible spot today. It even looks to be near what was is an old orchard of some sort.