In Germany Weleda’s largest garden of medicinal plants is on a plateau to the north of Schwäbisch Gmünd. At 20 hectares it’s also the biggest of its kind in Europe. Here, diversity has no limits – 260 species of plants are grown biodynamically and 180 out of these species are used as ingredients for medicinal products and natural cosmetics. Plants like blackthorn, witch hazel, hawthorn, and many country animals, birds and invertebrates find a habitat here, between five kilometres of natural hedges. The enormous wealth of flowers attracts many insects, including beneficial insects such as hoverflies, parasitic wasps and ladybirds.
In the open fields, annual and perennial native species are our largest crop. That includes 25 different trees, from which bark, flowers, fruits, roots or whole plants are harvested. The medicinal plants have better living conditions here, compared to completely wild locations, due to the special way we treat the soil, including natural spray preparations and careful attention from the gardeners. Here on the edge of the Swabian Alb with its fertile ground, the garden buzzes with life from March to October and harvest begins early in the first winter months, when the roots of celandine and angelica are harvested.
Our gardeners look on the plants and gardens as a whole organism. They pay attention to the complex relationships between plants and soil type, promote growth and are active and creative where nature needs support. For example, the protected fern grows under a knotweed shadow tunnel in the Weleda garden, so that it has the same light conditions as it would encounter in its natural forest habitat.
Although our biggest medicinal herb garden is in Germany, we also have gardens in England, France and Switzerland, the Netherlands, Brazil, Argentina and New Zealand.