Paul Richards’ love of plants began in early childhood when walking the lanes and fields of the wild Welsh border country around Knighton with his father, and was further inspired by his uncle who was a keen recorder of native plants.
He went on to study Botany at university in Bristol, then spent three years researching Plant Physiology in Aberdeen and a further year at the Institute of Plant Physiology in Moscow. His time in Russia, where they maintain a very strong tradition of herbal healing, deepened his fascination with the herbal uses of native plants and strengthened his existing interest in the herbal traditions of his native Wales.
Comfrey was one of the first herbs Paul grew commercially on his farm at Eardisley Herefordshire. The leaves were dried for Comfrey Tea and the roots to make a powder for animals suffering from arthritis. Both leaf and root were used to make Comfrey Oil and Ointment. Paul also supplied many thousands of plants to gardeners both directly and through Garden Organic.
Paul went on to develop a range of healing ointments using combinations of herbal oils made on the farm, notably Calendula, Chickweed, Marshmallow and Hypericum. Ethnobotanist James Wong filmed the making of the blood red oil of Hypericum (St John’s Wort) on the farm for the second series of Grow your own