Velký Vřešťov Gentian Hillside
Of the many gentian sites around Velký Vřešťov, only one still exists – the last refuge for a handful of stands of the only surviving species: the autumn gentian. In 2015, the Czech Union for Nature Conservation (ČSOP) bought this site with money generated by the ‘A Place for Nature’ fundraiser. In 2018, the members of the local ČSOP chapter, Jaro Jaroměř, decided to erect a symbolic memorial for the spring gentian within the context of the NET4GAS Closer to Nature programme, and to install an info panel that would remind visitors of the sad fate of what has become a rare and endangered plant.
Part of the project is an info panel, modelled upon similar sites in the area and fitted with a state-of-the-art insect hotel on the side facing south. The site also features a bench hewn from solid acacia wood, and a symbolic memorial to the spring gentian, whose local demise is notorious for having been caused by the plough: in less enlightened times in the past, meadows were turned into farmland. The memorial consists of a wooden plank, into which the image of a gentian flower has been cut, complemented by (burnt and engraved) words that describe the causes that led to the plant’s extinction, affixed on a wall base that doubles as a refuge for lizards and is adorned with beds of local thyme. Fingerposts near the road indicate how to get here.