Apple orchard planted in Lopez Village

By Pat Kuentzel

If you’ve visited the village lately, you may have noticed some new fencing in the between the public bathrooms and the history museum. Apple trees were planted in the new Master Gardener Heritage Apple Orchard on March 10.

Two years ago, the Lopez Island Master Gardeners were concerned with the decline and state of heritage apple orchards. They began working with Madrona Murphy to graft heritage varieties of apple trees found on old settler farms.

The trees grew for two years. Out of the 30 trees grafted, 26 thrived. In the meantime, Pat Kuentzel and Anne Whirledge-Karp worked to secure funding and a central location for the trees. They worked with the Lopez Island Chamber of Commerce, WSU Extension and San Juan County Parks for permission to plant the trees.

The Master Gardeners obtained funding and grants for the heritage apple orchard from the following: Lopez Island Thrift Store, Lopez Island Historical Museum, San Juan County Master Gardener Foundation, San Juan Island Master Gardeners, Lopez Island Garden Club and a Lodging Tax Advisory Committee grant.

When the big day came, Master Gardeners arrived from Orcas and San Juan Island to help. All 10 trees were planted in a day. Now the Master Gardeners will be working to label the trees so everyone who visits the orchard will learn about history and uses of the trees.