The Kate Wolf Lilac
This beautiful heirloom is growing on a very old abandoned homestead along the banks of the North Fork of the Yuba River at 2600’ near Goodyears Bar in Sierra County. The great singer songwriter Kate Wolf was a long time friend of mine, who wrote and recorded the song “The Lilac and the Apple Tree in the late ‘70s. Kate told me the inspiration for the song was an old homestead she had found near Goodyears Bar, where she spent her summers in her teens and 20’s. I never asked exactly where it was located, and when she passed away so early in life I regretted not having learned the location of these plants that inspired Kate. About 15 years later I was talking with our mutual friend Utah Phillips and mentioned that I still was curious where these plants were located. Turns out Utah knew the man who might know the location. After many attempts (that’s a story in itself!) I finally learned the location from this secretive old man, as it is the homestead that his grandparents settled in the 1850s. After hiking a couple miles to this abandoned site in the forest I found the lilac and the apple (and a rose that we are growing)! We have been hiking to the site, and growing the lilac ever since, and use the proceeds from the sales of the lilac to provide financial support to Camp Winnarainbow, a performing circus camp for children and adults founded by our mutual friend Wavy Gravy. Camp Winnarainbow was one of Kate’s favorite projects.
We also now offer the Kate Wolf apple from that beautiful homestead and song. See the Apple section for details. We will offer the rose next year.
You can hear Kate sing “The Lilac and the Apple” here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q83NqwtdBZk