Walk to the dirt road and turn left to go to the Bear Yuba Land Trust office. This building was the Gardener’s Cottage during the days of the North Star Mine operations.
To your right as you walk up alongside the Land Trust building, look for a Felix Gillet Colossal Chestnut, most likely planted in the 1880’s.
The Colossal Chestnut tree is pollen sterile, and orchards require interspersed planting of pollinizers. A Colossal Chestnut can produce 11-15 nuts per pound. An orchard can produce 4500 lbs/acre. A few steps away in the orchard is a Norman Chestnut pollinizer tree. Gillet always sold the two varieties together. This pollinizer tree has the remnants of a tree house.
This Colossal Chestnut tree still produces. The fuzzy skins that contain the chestnuts are called catkins.
Walk through the south orchard as you make your way back to the courtyard of NSH. Look for white tags hanging from several trees. These are survivors from the fruit and nut orchard of Felix Gillet varieties. These plantings predated Arthur’s arrival at North Star.