For April’s Birchbox, we teamed up with the well-respected green chic site, Ecofabulous. Their experts helped us garner several of the environmentally-friendly goodies featured in this month’s box and founder, Zem Joaquin, even generously served as our latest Birchbox Crush. This week we’re hearing from another one of the site’s savvy blogger, Caitlin Bristol, the creative director. She’ll be sharing details on her favorite brands, her go-to oil remover, and a handy-dandy yoga guide. Up today? A behind-the-scenes look at Weleda’s super-cool biodynamic gardens.
This past summer, ecofabulous was invited to visit Weleda Naturals Biodynamic Gardens just outside of Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany. With our love of Weleda products (we’re constant fans of the Almond facial line and have been obsessed with the Pomegranate Firming Facial Line since it came out earlier this year) we jumped at the chance to visit the site where it all goes down. The garden’s 135 acres make it Europe’s largest biodynamic medicinal garden – and to think Weleda has more gardens in Switzerland, France, the U.K., the Netherlands, Argentina, Brazil and New Zealand! At that scale, witnessing first hand the cultivation of plants and herbs for Weleda’s product collection stood as witness to the company’s belief that beauty should be grown right from the earth rather than in a lab.
Top left: The hike from Schwäbisch Gmünd to the gardens; top right: Entrance to Weleda Naturals; Botom left: A field of calendula before harvest; Bottom right: calendula heads right after harvest.
I was lucky enough to witness the calendula harvest, one of the 250 medicinal plants grown at Weleda Naturals, and learned that every year the calendula is planted on a different field in order to ensure the most rich, rested soil – one of the many Biodynamic principles that the gardens use. Much of the calendula is used for Weleda’s Baby Calendula Care line because of the plant’s powerful healing and anti-inflammatory properties. A haven for birds, bees, and bugs (see the insect hotel below!), Weleda Naturals is the legacy of Dr. Rudolph Steiner, seen as the father of Biodynamic agriculture. By viewing soil as a live organism, keeping it in balance with natural resources (no chemicals or growth hormones allowed!) and taking guidance on planting, crop rotation, and harvesting from the natural rhythms of the sun, moon and planets, crops are harvested with incredible purity and potency.
Top left: The “insect hotel”; Top right: A close-up of the “rooms” built to welcome the bugs; Bottom:Eva-Marie Walle, Manager of Weleda’s Biodynamic Garden.
A meeting with Eva-Maria Walle, manager of Weleda’s Biodynamic Gardens, shed light on just how precise and time-consuming it is to grow plants in this way. She also discussed Weleda’s philosophy of “inner beauty” and how the entire gardens are based on developing collections with hand-picked ingredients designed to work with your body’s own natural vitality and ability to nurture and heal. Simply put, my trip to Weleda reinforced the idea that pure plants make for pure products. With no toxins, additives or synthetics, the ingredients are delivered in their most natural, and effective, form.
To check out all of the Weleda products we sell, visit the Birchbox Shop.