A Walk through Weleda's Blooming Garden
The evening primrose gives off a profound, uplifting fragrance that is particularly long lasting. For Ulrike Nann, a cosmetician at Weleda, natural cosmetics are not just the sum of their raw materials.
“I could, of course, say that the evening primrose immediately swept me off my feet.”
Noting that our conversation might end up as a declaration of her love for the Evening Primrose skincare series, she also understands that nothing is as simple as it seems, so she’s willing to go into detail. What she says is unexpected, coming from someone whose job is to conduct training sessions on Weleda products at pharmacies, drugstores and health food stores. “I could, of course, say that the evening primrose immediately swept me off my feet,” she smiles. But this wasn’t the case for this green and flowery, slightly herbal fragrance.
With their fragrance, plants are breathing out what they inhale from the universe.
As an open, curious person aware of the meticulous research Weleda has made into the properties of the evening primrose, Nann continued to learn more about the plant and the products. And then the evening primrose became her favourite scent. It happened one morning around 7 a.m., on her way to work. The company premises in Schwabisch Gmund is also home to several flower beds. “Before then, I would always walk right past the evening primroses. For once I stopped, and really looked at them.” As she recounts her story, she pauses before an evening primrose plant. This time, it’s in the evening at the Weleda medicinal plant garden, and we are walking along long rows of the plants, rising high with their yellow blossoms. “You have to turn your attention to them; the evening primrose does not impose itself,” she says. The flower has just opened at dusk. “With their fragrance, plants are breathing out what they inhale from the universe.” Nann is fond of this quote by Rudolf Steiner; she ponders it for a moment in silence before resuming. It’s an unbelievably complex scent. Flowery and fresh, and at the same time woody and spicy, she explains. “The evening primrose gives off a profound, uplifting fragrance that is particularly long lasting.”
The evening primrose (Oenothera biennis) is a high-growing, deep-rooting biennial with large, yellow flowers.
After its nightly self-pollination, the plant’s ovaries mature into oblong, four-sided capsules with many chambers that burst when ripe to scatter tiny, wrinkled seeds.
A single plant can produce up to 40,000 seeds. Evening primrose oil is rich in valuable linoleic acid and rare gamma-linolenic acid.
"The complexity of this plant reflects the complexities of my life in my late-40s."
For the Evening Primrose skincare series, Weleda’s perfumers developed a natural interpretation of the scent of open evening primroses. They were successful in capturing its complexity with a composition comprised of three main components: precious sandalwood, cardamom and magnolia. Today, the Evening Primrose series are Nann’s constant companion. Using them before a presentation has become a ritual for her: after showering, she dries off just a bit, since the Evening Primrose Age Revitalising Body Oil is best absorbed by damp skin. Then, for her face, she applies a bead-size drop of Evening Primrose Age Revitalising Concentrate, followed by the Day Cream. After that, she feels “at one with herself” and ready for her next audience.
Nann speaks of a moment of awareness: “The complexity of this plant reflects the complexities of my life in my late-40s. In its presence I feel more grounded, energized and uplifted.” Customers rave about its fragrance, often mentioning a sense of friendship they develop for the plant. Isn’t friendship a two-way process? Ulrike Nann thinks so: “Most likely, the evening primrose has understood us for a long time now.”