Biodynamic Gardening – the tools and techniques to nurture your garden
Elysia, a company based near Worcester, was founded in 1994 to distribute the Dr Hauschka skincare products. Since then the company has found success in persuading increasingly large numbers of people to move over to this natural, anthroposophically rooted skin care range.
Knowing that the success of Dr Hauschka and Elysia was built on the biodynamic plants from which the products are made, the owners of Elysia, Tabitha, Sophie and Sebastian Parsons, decided to make supporting the development of biodynamics a priority for the company.
Elysia is now based at Rush Farm, a two hundred acre, in-conversion, biodynamic mixed farm. Set on gently sloping, essentially clay based soil, with the Bow Brook running down the west side and a twenty acre wood nestling in the North East corner.
The development of this farm into a fully working biodynamic enterprise with training and educational facilities alongside is a long term project. However, in 2006 Elysia saw another opportunity to promote and inform people about biodynamics. This opportunity would be realised a lot more quickly and would put biodynamics directly in the public eye. Not more than forty minutes away from Rush Farm, at Ryton-on-Dunsmore, Garden Organic have their 22 acre public display gardens.
Originally responding to an appeal Garden Organic had launched for a small urban style plot, Elysia went along to Ryton and had a meeting. "It was one of those significant meetings, the sort that happens now and then - you go in thinking one thing and then everything changes..." was how Sebastian Parsons described it.
Elysia had agreed to fund the development of a biodynamic display garden to be located in a highly visible location and of a good size. Soon Liz Ellis was brought on board to join the development team. Liz had approached Elysia for sponsorship for the biodynamic display garden at Hampton Court Flower Show in 2004. Elysia were really impressed by the garden she had created, together with Annie and Paul Konig, Simon Charter and Andy Jones, and asked her to do the same, but bigger and better!
She brought Andy Jones in to design and manage the building of the garden at Garden Organic. The design was ambitious, dramatic and beautiful. However, Liz and Sebastian realised that there was a tremendous opportunity to broaden out the communication possibilities beyond even the visitors coming to Ryton. Liz, as well as being a Trustee of the BDAA, is a television producer, and this seemed like too good an opportunity to be missed. It was decided that the creation of the garden would be filmed.
The Garden Organic gardening team had agreed that they needed to learn about biodynamics if they were going to have a biodynamic display garden. And so it was that Katie Tippens (Head Gardener), Bill Warrell (Deputy Head Gardener) and Nicole Weber (Apprentice Biodynamic Gardener) became the stars of the film. Their training by Lynette West of the Biodynamic Education Centre was filmed alongside the film being made of the new garden.
By watching the film you can learn, along with the gardeners, how to create the vortex to chaos stirring rhythm for the various preparations, how to build a compost heap and use the compost, use the sowing and planting calendars, make manure concentrate, how to fill cow horns with fresh cow manure and bury them to make horn manure (BD500), stir and use horn silica (BD501) as well as other biodynamic techniques. All these methods are clearly shown and explained.
The film crew went international as well. In France, we spoke to Nicolas Joly, renowned biodynamic wine grower and a very passionate enthusiast of biodynamics. Back in the UK Alan Brockman, long time biodynamic farmer and supporter of the BDAA and biodynamics is also interviewed and Wendy Cook, the author of ‘The Biodynamic Food and Cookbook’ explains the nutritional benefits of biodynamics.
As Liz says, "What has been lacking for so long is a really simple way of getting started. This DVD demonstrates and demystifies the techniques needed to be a biodynamic gardener. We hope it will help gardeners work with the rhythms of the moon, sun and planets and with the biodynamic preparations, so that their garden will produce beautiful flowers and delicious, nutritious fruit and vegetables."
Sebastian and Liz are Trustees of the BDAA and so it is no surprise that they are both committed to supporting the BDAA through this DVD. A contribution will be made to the BDAA from all copies that are sold.
Liz Ellis; film producer and Council Member of the BDAA, U.K.
All past participants of Biodynamic Education Centre courses can purchase the DVD directly through the Biodynamic Education Centre
DVD available through the Biodynamic Association U.K.