The Helkenhof - FloraFarm headquarter
Visitors visiting the FloraFarm in Bockhorn near Walsrode for the first time will be amazed how idyllically situated it is in the middle of the unique ginseng gardens and a historic courtyard.
The "Helkenhof", a farmstead built in the typical Lower Saxonian style, dates back to 1438 and was run until about 30 years ago as a traditional farm with agriculture as regular basis. The decisive change came at the beginning of the 80s, when Heinrich Wischmann - in search of alternative opportunities - turned his attention to Asia, in particular Korean ginseng cultivation, which promised an alternative to subsidized agriculture. With much patience and work, Ginseng pioneer Wischmann realized his vision of Korean ginseng "made in Germany" and thus also transformed the appearance of the Helkenhof.
Working in the former cowshed
Today, FloraFarm's headquarters, with its inviting ginseng café and ginseng shop, are located in the former cowshed of the Lower Saxonian farmhouse, which still houses the living quarters of ginseng pioneer Heinrich Wischmann.
In the center of the courtyard there are two heritage sheds, which were built up early to be used as outbuildings. At that time this was rather unusual, since usually all functions of the rural household were combined under one roof in the main building.
19th century architecture
If you go on the ginseng path towards the direction of the ginseng-gardens, you will find a two-storey shed from about 1825 on the right hand side. Striking here is the narrow half-timber raster made of a large amount of valuable oak wood and an infill with bricks - a very expensive type of construction at that time. Bricks were mostly made only in small series and the oak was a much sought after and rare building material. This indicates a high economic power of the Helkenhof at that time. Already at its construction, the shed was covered with hand-drawn hollow pans and still is accessible via internal stairs.
A special feature of this region is the single-storey shed with high flap tile from 1675 located in the middle of the yard, which due to its construction offers extensive storage space in the roof and is accessible by outside stairs. Its unusual combination of a carriage house (open passage on one side) and a storage is unique in this region. Constructed as a pure timber construction, it has some wooden joints that were already common in ancient Egypt (beams are tapped through the stands and secured with wedges). Strong boards, so-called planks, were used as infill - hence the name "Ständerbohlenbau", which similarly applies to the Norwegian stave churches. The steep slope of the roof indicates that the roofing originally consisted of rye straw.
New completes old
But not only historic-traditional buildings are located on the Helkenhof, also a modern building, which was inaugurated in 2005 by former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, completes the appearance.
Former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt swore by the effects of ginseng for more than 40 years. His wife Loki had "discovered" FloraFarm Ginseng for herself and her husband, and so both benefited from ginseng "made in Germany" and were always closely bond to the FloraFarm. As a passionate and nationwide acknowledged plant expert, Loki Schmidt visited the ginseng gardens several times. By participating in the "90 Loki Schmidt Beete" campaign, FloraFarm honors an extraordinary woman and her tireless commitment to nature conservation.