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You Are Here: Home / Stories / Rarities in the fruit and vegetable garden

Rarities in the fruit and vegetable garden

Show gardens are not only popular for sightseeing, but they are also botanical treasures that support the preservation of species diversity, and in which we can discover rare plants that not so long ago our grandparents may have served on the table every day.

Who among us knows that the carrots were originally purple, that there are potatoes with red skins, red-white marbled beets, and apples with a flavour reminiscent of bananas? Some kinds of fruit and vegetables seem odd to us today, but in reality they are often old varieties that have fallen into obscurity. Many of the show gardens in Lower Austria, the South Moravia Region and the Highlands Region have taken on the task of cultivating and nurturing for these rare varieties again.


Reproduction and sale

A real treasure with regard to rare varieties of fruit and vegetables is the Arche Noah show garden in Schiltern and the Ökokreis variety garden in Ottenstein. Both gardens have established large collections of rare crop plants, which they exhibit in their show gardens. They try to get seeds and seedlings and then sell these treasures in their stores. Many old varieties and specialties are also sold by the Praskac Pflanzenland in Tulln.


The garden as it once was

In other gardens, apart from regional varieties, traditional garden arrangements and crops can be seen, just like the old avenues in Lysicko nature park, where pear, plum and cherry trees line the paths, much as they did in olden times. Alternatively, one might visit the small farm gardens in the Museumdorf Niedersult and the Museum of Villages of Southeastern Moravia in Strážnice, where varied but thoughtfully arranged mixes of local varieties of fruit, vegetables and herbs are cultivated.


Regional favourites

Many show gardens have taken on the task of nurturing local varieties that best suit local soil and climatic conditions and that are best able to deal with pests. In South Moravia, the sorb tree thrives. It is one of the oldest fruit trees in Europe with a rich crop, but which was not long ago threatened with complete extinction. In Tvarožná Lhota, this tree has a museum devoted to it, where one can admire the largest fruit tree in the Czech Republic. In the natural garden of the Wachau Naturgarten in Bacharnsdorf, old varieties of apricot are grown for which Wachau is famous. Moreover, in the bio-garden Steinschaler Bio-Gärten there are a lot of Cornelian cherry bushes to see, a shrub which is currently experiencing a great renaissance in the Pielachtal valley and is at the centre of attention of some regional events and gourmet offerings.


Fresh tastings

‘Conservation by eating’ is the motto of the Arche Noah garden, and so local rarities turn into delicious dishes in the garden kitchen. There are also cooking classes which show visitors how tasty these varieties are. Culinary creations from many rare herbs and fruits can also be tasted at the Bio-Kräuterlandgasthaus "anno 1920" in Etsdorf or in Pielachtal at the Wildkräuterhotel Steinschalerhof.

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