Lifetime achievement: Elisabeth Molt-Eisele and Günther Eisele have been running the Benediktbeuern monastery nursery since 1990. Now the monastery has terminated their lease. © Matthäus Krinner
The Benediktbeuern monastery nursery is about to close. The tenants Günther Eisele and Elisabeth Molt-Eisele are often asked about the reasons.
Benediktbeuern – Many customers regret it: After the tenant was terminated, the monastery nursery in Benediktbeuern is facing temporary closure. So far, the current operators Günther Eisele and Elisabeth Molt-Eisele had not publicly commented on it, but only announced on a notice board at the nursery: "The monastery of the Salesians of Don Bosco terminates us without giving reasons." In an interview with our newspaper, they now describe their view of things. They had "very realistic plans for the future" of the nursery, says Günther Eisele. He was not aware of any objective reason for the end of the lease.
Tenant ran Benediktbeuern monastery nursery for 33 years
Again and again, customers stroll through the grounds of the monastery nursery, even if some of the greenhouses are now empty. The nursery is currently still open every Friday for sales, as well as this Saturday (10 June), when the "Open Monastery Day" is invited. "That's where we feel addressed, too," says Eisele.
At various points on the site, Eisele has exhibited photos from the 33 years he ran the business. One of them shows the nursery in the condition in which he and his wife took it over in 1990. The company was "dilapidated" at the time. However, he had "recognized the potential – the location, the mild climatic conditions: We were sure that under these conditions we could build up a functioning horticultural business with direct marketing."
Invested with a view to the planned handover of operations
In addition to young vegetable plants, roses, shrubs and ornamental plants, the Eiseles also sold lettuce and vegetables from their own cultivation, "regionally produced according to Naturland guidelines". Customers were able to linger in the shady Café Naschgarten.
Günther Eisele and Elisabeth Molt-Eisele describe themselves as "trained gardeners" and both studied in Weihenstephan. During a tour of the company, Eisele reports that he has invested a lot of money in the business, in greenhouses, plant tables, irrigation and paths, for example. Most recently, he had purchased a new cheese counter, refrigeration and freezing and a vegetable corner set up in a Lebenshilfe workshop. "We have invested in the planned handover of operations," he says.
Son should take over monastery nursery Benediktbeuern
The Eiseles planned to hand over the nursery to their son Christian (29) this year. "He is a trained retail salesman with a focus on natural food," his parents explain. The daughter-in-law, who has a master's degree in agriculture, also wanted to join in. In the family's future scenario, two 16-year-old foster sons, who are currently in the tenth grade at the Lebenshilfe school, would also have found a professional field of activity here.
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Günther Eisele and Elisabeth Molt-Eisele planned to continue to help out in the company and to absorb work peaks. "We would have found a great balance between supporting and withdrawing," said the 63-year-old.
The planned summer party, at which the Eiseles wanted to introduce the next generation in the monastery nursery, will now turn out just as little as the idea of equipping the greenhouse roofs with photovoltaic modules. "Completely unexpectedly" the monastery gave him notice, says Eisele. "None of the classic reasons for dismissal apply," he emphasizes. "We weren't given a reason either." He and his wife are now ready to say: "We have the impression that the monastery wants to destroy our existence."
New tenant of the monastery nursery takes over "healthy business"
Father Claudius Amann, head of the Benediktbeuern monastery, rejects this statement when asked: "Of course we don't want to destroy the existence of the family, for God's sake," he says. "What we want is to end the lease." The conditions under which this will happen are still being clarified legally. He did not want to "talk publicly" about the reasons, said Father Claudius. In a statement a few weeks ago, he spoke of "various conflict issues" on which the monastery had repeatedly sought dialogue with the tenant without reaching an agreement in important areas. The reasons for the termination "are known to the tenant," says Amann.
In addition, the head of the facility had declared that the monastery wanted to find a new tenant. In any case, a successor could take over a "healthy company" and "join seamlessly," says Günther Eisele. "We would, of course, support him." For themselves, the family has rescheduled. Son and daughter-in-law had taken other jobs, according to the gardener. He could not yet comment on how things will continue for him and his wife.
You can find even more up-to-date news from the region at Merkur.de/Bad Tölz.