Acknowledging these festivals helps us to keep a link with Nature’s cycle. Here at Weleda, members of staff gather together for food and a fire to celebrate this important turning point of the year.
At the gardens, we are entering the pinnacle of our growing year as June and July are our busiest harvesting times. Many of our plants have now reached their optimum time for medicinal value.
This month we are harvesting flowering oats (Avena sativa), wild strawberries (Fragaria vesca), the purple hooded monkshood (Aconitum napellus), the fresh garlic bulb (Allium sativa), flowering Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia), the new shoots of southernwood (Artemisia abrotanum), flowering chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) and two separate harvests from the stinging nettle (Urtica dioica); the discreet flowers which will be dried, and the whole plant consisting of roots, leaves and flowers.
All these plants get made into mother tinctures and used in various remedies. The strawberries and stinging nettle flowers are used in remedies for Homeopathic and Anthroposophic doctors. The aconite gets made into our Aconite 30C Tablets. Creeping Jenny gets used in a specific Weleda ointment called Dermatadoron. The flowering oats get used in our Avena Sativa Comp Drops.
We’ve had glorious sunny weather which aids our ability to get on top of the weeding! Over the growing season, the gardeners become excellent at hoeing off unwanted plants, creating room and unobstructed access to vital nutrients for our crops. The sun now has the power to wither any weed seedlings fast, enabling us to simply leave them on the soil to be returned to the earth.
Mowing, planting and weeding continue throughout the month, with particular emphasis on making sure the plants that are soon to be harvested are given a final weed on a day that has a particular beneficial influence for the plant to be harvested (i.e. a fruit day for the strawberry harvest). We also have many visitors to the gardens this month so it’s very satisfying to see people enjoy the fruits of our labour.
After harvesting the oats, we will spade the area over and sow green manures, ensuring the soil isn’t left bare for too long. Green manures will also be sown in other areas, not only for attracting feeding bees and insects (particularly phacelia), but also as an excellent ingredient for our compost heaps.
On a rain free flower day before midday, we’ll collect chamomile flowers for drying and making into one of our biodynamic preparations. We’ll also harvest valerian flowers which will be freshly pressed into valerian juice and used as another preparation on our compost heaps.