Orchard meadows (lux. Bongerten) are among the most valuable and species-rich habitats in the Natur- & Geopark Mëllerdall. However, the number of fruit trees declined by about three quarters during the 20th century.
But orchard meadows still dominate the region’s landscape, despite the sharp decline. Today there are still about 40,000 fruit trees in the region: mainly apple trees, followed by plum, pear, cherry and walnut trees. Typical varieties include, for example, Rhenish Winter Rambour or Luxembourg Triumph apples, Neelches pears and the Hauszwetschge plum.
One well-known characteristic species that feels at home in the orchard meadows is the little owl, the smallest owl in Luxembourg. In 2015, the first broods were spotted again in the region after a long absence. This is certainly also due to the efforts that have been made for years to prune old fruit trees and plant young ones again. Efforts that are also reflected in regional produce – a veritable rebirth not only of traditional products (such as marmalade, juices and spirits), but also the emergence of novel products (for example, fruit wines, cider or sparkling apple wine) can currently be seen. Thus the diversity of the orchard meadows is reflected in the products through a unique variety of tastes.
The Natur- & Geopark Mëllerdall is currently working with its partners to create orchard meadows for specific varieties throughout the region and to make some of these accessible, so that people can experience the diversity of the varieties. Information about this will be available here soon.
You can watch all the episodes from this series here.