The apple specimen in my 1968 collection is labelled, Winesap Apple. This is a Gala Apple from my mother's yard. Apples being somewhat uncommon in this part of the world, I decided to settle for what was readily at hand. I do wonder where I found the apple tree in 1968 - I have no recollection of any of our neighbors or family members having an apple tree back then, and my mother's tree (which I planted in 2008) is the only one I know of now. If I could remember where that specimen came from, I'd certainly track it down to see if it's still there. My research tells me that it isn't unusual for apple trees to live to be 100 years old. In fact, I found a reference to one in England that in 2009 was documented to be 200 years old and was still fruiting.
As I work my way through these specimens from 30 trees, I keep wondering why these particular specimens? Why only trees? Did I have some organizing principle then that is lost to me now? If I was a sophomore and it was 1968, I had to be collecting in the fall - I would have been a freshmen in the spring of 1968. That would explain the absence of my favorite wildflowers. But what about shrubs? Why aren’t there specimens of wild rose, japonica, althea, and honeysuckle - favorites from my earliest recollections. Why no cotton? Had Daddy quit growing cotton by then? Why so many fruit trees? There is no way of answering any of these questions, but I can guess at that last one. We were a community that produced much of it’s own food and fruit trees were common. Just like today when I gathered the apple specimen from Mom's yard, I might have just been taking advantage of ready access.