Sam Van Aken Be a Better Gardener: Forty Scions on a Single Rootstock: Sam Van Aken Preserves New York State’s Stone Fruit Heritage with His “Tree of 40 Fruit”

Hudson Valley 360 Aug 06, 2020

Sometimes we follow a strange route to reach the garden. Sam Van Aken, for example, had made a career as a sculptor, winning all sorts of awards and fellowships and securing a position as a professor of studio art at Syracuse University. Yet always informing his art was Sam’s childhood experiences growing up on a Pennsylvania dairy farm. In particular, there were the stories of his great grandfather, who made his living grafting peach trees. Sam never met this gifted individual, but the stories stuck in his head. About 10 years ago, Sam decided to take up this craft himself, and began to assemble what he called his “Tree of 40 Fruit,” by grafting scions of 40 different stone fruits (peaches, plums, cherries, nectarines and apricots) onto a single rootstock tree.

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