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The WALA Herb Garden
As you leave Eckwälden, just before you go into the woods, you come across a large garden. A look over the fence reveals an amazing variety of different plants which you would not expect to see here at the foot of the Swabian Jura. Looking across a pond, you see rows of trees, between them well-kept beds. In the background, greenhouses come into view. You are looking at the WALA herb garden. The garden pond with beds in the background The first gardens were laid out here in the fifties and they have been worked according to biodynamic principles ever since. All in all, the gardens cover an area of five hectares. Part of the land is located immediately behind the company buildings in the form of a herb garden. Other parts are scattered around the surrounding region. The WALA Herb Garden Six trained gardeners work here. They are responsible both for cultivating the medicinal plants and for laying out and tending the meadows and the grounds of the company and for the indoor greenery. During the season one to two temporary workers or trainees are also taken on. Crop yields Some 150 different medicinal herbs are grown in the gardens. Twenty principal crops are grown in beds and harvested in larger quantities. In 2006 about 5.000 kg fresh plants were harvested from all WALA's cultivated land, e.g. Latin name Common name Plant part
Quantity Althaea officinalis Marshmallow Root 332 kg Artemisia absinthium Wormmwood Flowering stems 172 kg Bellis perennis Daisy Flowering stems 301 kg Borago officinalis Borage Flowering stems 392 kg Echinacea pallida Pale purple coneflower Flowering stems 316 kg Plantago lanceolata Ribwort plantain Leaves 365 kg Tropaeolum majus Nasturtium Flowering stems 841 kg The herbs used as starting materials for the initial preparations (mother tinctures in conformity with the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia) are usually only required in small quantities. Many plants are therefore only cultivated on a small scale in the garden, for example: Latin name Common name Plant part Anagallis arvensis Scarlet pimpernel Flowering stems Bryonia cretica ssp. dioica Bryony Root Cochlearia officinalis Common Scurvy Grass Flowering stems Gentiana lutea Great yellow gentian Root Mandragora officinarum Mandrake Root Pulsatilla pratensis Small pasque flower Whole flowering plant Viola tricolor Wild pansy Flowering stems The soil The soil properties in the different areas vary sometimes quite considerably. The gardens around WALA's company buildings are on shale (Black Jurassic = lias) with moderately heavy to heavy clay, 460 meters above sea level. The pH values are between 7.4 and 7.8. The average annual precipitation is 930 mm. Bordering on the garden areas are meadows with fruit trees and mixed deciduous forest.
The soil properties on the Alb plateau are quite different. The crumbly weathered soil (White Jurassic) forms only a thin layer of earth on limestone topped with a thin humus layer. The soil warms up very quickly but has only limited water-retention capacity. Some herbs, e.g. sage (Salvia officinalis) and wormwood (Artemisia absinthium), thrive excellently under these conditions. On the poor limestone meadows of our Alb land we find various protected orchid species and an intact landscape of fields and meadows surrounded by hedges. To round off the picture, only extensive farming is carried out in the region.
At three further locations in the immediate vicinity of Eckwälden, barberry (Berberis vulgaris), rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) and witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) are cultivated on meadowland.
In the course of the garden year various tasks have to be carried out. These are described on the following pages. In WALA's herb garden all sowing, planting and harvesting is done by hand, often using special methods. Working with their hands brings the gardeners close to their plants. This is the beginning of the process which reaches completion in the WALA medicines and Dr.Hauschka Skin Care: working in harmony with nature to release healing powers for the benefit of man.