Weleda Garden - Return of the Light

February 2014

This time of year can be pretty hard going for us all – dark mornings, cold, wet days or even snow and ice on the ground. I’m sure we should all still be hibernating. But under the ground it’s a different story…

By the first week in February, we’ve crossed into another of the so-called Quarter Festivals – the Celtic time of Imbolc and the Christian festival of Candlemas (2nd Feb). Both celebrate the subtle shift of the seasons and the slow, gradual return of the light. Under the biodynamic system of cultivation, the soil is deemed to be most ‘alive’ between the 15th Jan and 15th Feb. This is when it’s receiving winter forces from the universe, in preparation and replenishment for the growing season ahead. In recognition of this we try to avoid digging and ‘opening up’ the soil at this time.

This can often be a good practical guideline too, as you can damage the soil structure if you dig when conditions are too wet. If the soil sticks to your spade it’s probably a good time to stop and find something else to do in the shed!

In the Weleda garden, the snowdrops and hellebores are heralds of this re-awakening in Nature, their bright white flowers seem to symbolise the germ of light starting to grow in the depths of the soil. Helleborus niger is a medicinal plant that we process into a homeopathic remedy, using the whole plant when flowering. Its common names are Christmas Rose (although it’s not related to the rose family) and Black Hellebore, due to the colour of its roots.

Figure painting credit: Russell Evans