Collection orchards at Čerček homestead
Meadow orchards are an inexhaustible source of genetic diversity which is maintained with old fruit varieties and is a valuable treasure for the future. In Kozjansko park, we have identified a genetically very rich trove of a number of indigenous and traditional varieties of apples and pears. Many varieties have been preserved on farms where farming is sustainable, environmentally friendly and where tradition and knowledge about fruits is passed from generation to generation. With the owners’ help, we were able to register parent trees. We have established a collection orchard by purchasing agricultural lands in Gradišče over Podsreda where the Čerček farm used to be. The collection orchard, which is also a home orchard, meets all phytosanitary standards. It stretches over 2.3ha and is cultivated in accordance with the principles of organic farming. In the orchard, the cultivation and supply of a meadow orchard is carried out in a sustainable way, examining the varieties and implementing technological experiments in order to raise awareness and promote meadow orchards and to show an example of good practice in the protected area.
There is an information point in the collection orchard (also in Braille), and each tree is marked with the name of the variety (also in Braille). The orchard is a habitat of beneficial organisms – “insect” hotels, nesting boxes and feeding stations for birds. The collection orchard carries out different studies of fauna and flora, workshops, practical demonstrations, and natural science and project days.
By a decision of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food, we were named the keepers of 52 varieties of apples and pears.