I’m really excited to share this next post with you, as on so many levels it really did make a big impact on me, and got me thinking, and also changing a few things. So, last week I visited the Weleda UK HQ in Ilkeston Derbyshire – which coincidently is where I was born. I’ve always been intrigued to learn more about Weleda, as I’d know of the brand all of my life, the HQ has been in my home town since the 70’s. However I didn’t know that much about it, so was really intrigued to find out more. The event I was invited to was a Weleda Insight one (they hold lots of events throughout the year) so I would be learning more about the whole ethos of the brand, as well as more detailed information about the plants behind the products and concept of cleaner beauty.
So I wanted to share the day with you today in this blog post. We were given a goody bag with lots of things to try. I am going to take my time using them, and write-up about those separately, I think, as I prefer to use things for a while before I recommend them. I’ll also cover more about cleaner beauty in that post too, as I think that’s a really important part of what I learnt more about during the day.
Whilst I was there though, I spoke to the pharmacist about my Keratosis pilaris, it’s a very common skin disorder affecting people of all ages. Keratosis pilaris creates a “goose bumps,” or “chicken skin” appearance, and mine has (over the last few years) gotten really bad on my arms. I spoke to Evelyn Liddell (A Weleda pharmacist) and she recommended I try Birch Oil and scrub and I can see a massive improvement already, so wanted to share that with any of my readers who suffer with this too.
The Field – A 13 Acre Biodynamic Garden
So what is Biodynamic Agriculture?
It’s a form of alternative agriculture very similar to organic farming, but it includes various concepts drawn from the ideas of Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925) It was the first of the organic agriculture movements. It treats soil fertility, plant growth, and livestock care as ecologically interrelated tasks, emphasizing spiritual and mystical perspectives.
Our tour guide for the day of The Field was Claire Hattersley, who is the head gardener. Claire gave us not only the low down on what was growing there, what each of those things were used for in terms of product, but also more of a wider insight into things such a crop rotation and the huge importance that they put on the soil.
Claire talking all things compost!
The wildflower meadow.
As I mentioned before Weleda do offer open days, whether that’s a tour around the garden or days to learn more about soil. Even though what we were talking about was relevant to their gardens, it really got me thinking more about how I garden at home. What I add into my soil and the impact of the environment on the plants that I grow. We already grow herbs and fruits each year, but this has definitely made me want to grow things in order to make my own tinctures.
We talked a lot about how in this mechanised world we have lost that instinct and knowledge that goes hand in hand when you are growing things. Which I found really interesting, and really resonated with me.
St Johns Wort
With plants such as St John’s wort, which was named in the middle ages by monks who used it as a medicine. Claire talked about how the leaves have tiny holes in them, like someone poked or perforated them with a pin. Claire explained that if you hold up a leaf to the light, sunshine passes through these holes. It was said that St. John’s wort let’s in the light or makes you more sensitive to the light. Add this to, the fact that it produces bright sunny yellow blooms and we can easily see how they decided it could be used to lift the dark feelings of depression and bring in sunny joy and happiness. It’s these kinds of observations that are missed today.
Echinacea – the herb encourages the immune system and reduces many of the symptoms of colds, flu and some other illnesses and infections.
Finally I couldn’t finish this post about Weleda and The Field without talking about the bees. I’ve written before about Bees, and their importance, also about how to encourage them into your garden. I fell in love with the more hidden area right at the centre of the Weleda garden, looked after by Mick, who uses these hives to teach local primary school children.
The bees in this area provide the natural beeswax, used in Weleda’s Calendula Weather Protection Cream and Everon Lip Balm, while organic honey is used in their Herb and Honey Cough Elixir.
He also learnt how to make the Sun Hive, which is there as a gift to the bees. So they don’t take the honey or wax for use in products. At first I thought this sounded strange, and then the more I thought about it, it made more and more sense to me.
We finished the day with a arm massage using the oils, something that I really enjoyed and I’ll be putting to the test again it was so relaxing!
Huge thanks to Weleda for a really fantastic day, and more details on the products coming up in the next couple of weeks.