This month, our Biodynamic® gardens are beautiful and calm. Everything is covered with snow. Occasionally a few birds fly around, searching for food. Not much is growing, but there are a few exceptions. Helleborus niger (black hellebore) and Daphne mezereum (Daphne) are two medicinal plants that seem to have a totally different rhythm from most others. They flower even when there is snow! Helleborus niger has a fascinating white flower, while Daphne mezereum is a low-growing shrub with lovely, yet toxic, purplish-pink flowers.
Each morning, I sit with the other Weleda gardeners and we discuss many topics, including the results of our soil tests, how we trim our trees, the quality of our seeds and ways we can increase the garden’s biodiversity. My colleague Mr. Frömel and I spend much of February planning for the coming season. First we organize the seeds, determine crop rotation and then decide on the optimum spot in the garden for each plant species—an important factor in their successful cultivation and harvest. It’s important that we put each seed into the ground at just the right time in order to guarantee that we meet optimum growing conditions, and that we deliver the plants to the processing facility at the predetermined time.
In winter, our team of gardeners get to show off their handyman skills. There are usually machines to repair and paths, ponds and insect hotels that need tending to. We always cut our hedges this time of year to control their growth. Hedges are an important part of Biodynamic® cultivation; they contribute much to the garden's diversity, and a diverse garden means healthier plants! Each part of the farm, even those hedges, contributes to the whole and has some influence on it.
Many seminars, conferences and workshops are held during this time of the year. One of the conferences I’m most excited about is in Dornach, at the anthroposophical society in Switzerland. Biodynamic® farmers from all over the world will meet there to learn from each other. As I write this, I am traveling to a conference on Biodynamic® plant breeding and seed production. My colleague Benjamin Sattler recently visited a beneficial insect seminar. Beneficial insects are very important for keeping pests out of our gardens!
While winter is cold and long, I am happy to work in a place where we have four distinct seasons. It’s such a pleasure to see how nature changes throughout the year. But regardless of nature’s complexity, it’s always in harmony, marching to its own inherent rhythm. To warm myself up during the cold months, I love to takes hot baths with the Pomegranate Creamy Body Wash. Its elegant aroma is stimulating and helps balance my body, soul and spirit.
What about you? Do you garden? If so, what sorts of things do you do during the winter to prepare for the coming planting season? We’d love to hear from you!