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5 Reasons why we love weeds...and more
5/6/2009 2:31:00 PM

The atmosphere in the garden in May is beautiful. The greens are bright, and many plants are flowering. This is when my favorite plant flowers: Iris germanica—used in Iris Facial Care. The plant's color and shape fascinate me.

iris germanica

We are planting Bryophyllum—used in Weleda medicines—in the greenhouses, and for the first time we're using biodegradable foil. The foil prevents weeds and dirt from getting on the delicate leaves. Previously we needed to clean and dry each leaf at harvest time — very time consuming!

Although weeds contribute positive things to the environment and increase biodiversity, weeding is important here in the garden, since weeds compete with the cultured plants for (1)water, (2)nutrition and (3)light. Weeds also (4) have the potential to transmit plant diseases. But the act of weeding by hand is also (5) a way to give special attention to the plant, creating benefits that go beyond what is visible.

Sabine is weeding

This is the time to harvest Taraxacum (dandelion)—used in Weleda Medicines. This plant grows everywhere in the wild in large quantities. Nevertheless, we prefer to cultivate it, so we know exactly what happened while it was growing. Generally we cultivate plants rather than take them from the wild in order to control yield and quality and to protect the natural habitat.

We have recently started a little research project about different sunflower species. In the future we'd like to cultivate these on a large scale for our body care products.

Another stunning sight now is the flowering of Gentiana accaulis (Stemless gentian)—used in Weleda medicines, looking like a blinding blue flower carpet or a deep-blue sky. It's amazing that this mountain plant grows so nicely in the garden.

One laborious task is harvesting Chamomilla (chamomile) roots—used in Weleda skin care and medicine products. They're very fine and must be harvested by hand and then cleaned of soil and debris. From each plant we harvest different parts, such as flowers or roots, depending on their specific relation to the human body. 

King of the Night

In May the “King of the night” is at its highpoint of flowering. This cactus only flowers during the night and each flower blooms for only one night. The ugly, long, spiny branches become big flowers smelling like perfume. It is a silent nighttime spectacle. Once I stayed in the greenhouse all night to watch the process and see how the beauty of a flower can wilt so quickly.

Our Paeonie field looks very beautiful. We use Paeonie in a preparation that aids digestion.

During this month my favorite product is the Citrus Deodorant. Its good not only because of its powerful deodorizing effect but also due to its refreshing feeling on warm days.

I'll be travelling this month to our different grape leaf producers to consult with our producers. I am really looking forward to visiting Portugal and Austria this time of the year!

We have several interns in the garden. Giving young students the chance to take part in organic medicinal plant cultivation adds practical knowledge to their theoretical training. We like also like having the young people around to hear their ideas and what's going on at the universities.

We've been talking about the German government's law against cultivating genetically modified corn. This is an important, if only first, step toward banning the cultivation of genetically modified plants.

Harvest in May:
Plantago lanceolata
Plantango

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