Alan Chadwick a Gardener of Souls

Lecture by Alan Chadwick in Saratoga, May 2, 1972


Lecture 1, Part 1.1

An Introduction to Alan Chadwick's Lectures and a Glossary of Terms

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Contents of this Segment:

Quotes by Lindsey Robb and Robert Graves; Agriculture and Horticulture; A long term vision of the garden and orchard is necessary; Gradual development of soils, both in the wild and in the garden; Recovery back from destructive elements in the world through the moral attitude of the gardener; the Cornucopia; Cleansing the air through the developing life of the garden.



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Villa Montalvo Lecture Series

Saratoga, California, 1972, Lecture 1,

Cultivation, Part 1



Greetings. I believe that you already know that we are going to have about an hour and a half of talks, with an interval after three quarters of an hour. And after the talk that we will have a questionnaire over whatever period you like. What I would rather request about this questionnaire is that it be somewhat centered upon what the talk of the evening is; not into too much of the future. But please yourself.

What I suggest talking about generally tonight is an opening vision and general talk on what biodynamic and organic gardening is. And the principle subject will be cultivation. And next week’s will be propagation, and that will include the cycles and plant relationships. And the third one will be fertililzations, which will also be plant relationships. And the final, the fourth one, will be a total gardening talk also very much covering layout. For the simple reason that I understand that Saratoga… A spark has caught fire and that Saratoga is indeed going to have communal and school gardens. And so, in a sense, a certain attitude of these talks is going to lead into that area.

First of all, may I please read you two quotations which are extremely potent to what the whole attitude of this approach is? This is Lindsay Robb in an address called “Altius Sitius Longius,”

“We have lost that essential unity with the soil. The break in this relationship is first indicated in the disregard for spiritual values and sense of obligation and obedience to the creative powers of the universe.”

The other one is Robert Graves in an address which he gave at the Massachusetts Institute, and he titled it “The Defense of Human Culture,”

“The decline of a true taste for food is the beginning of a decline in national culture as a whole. When people have lost their authentic personal taste they lose their personality and become the instruments of other people’s wills.”

What is agriculture? What is horticulture? They’re both identically the same. They are the delight of the discovery of creation and nature in man’s productivity and his surroundings. Agriculture is predominantly that area of culture whereby man grows a quantity of food on less cultural abilities. Horticulture is the fine art of agriculture. And from our point of view of approach, agriculture and horticulture have no division; they’re connected. That, in a sense, all agriculture throughout the world should never be so vast as to be out of the manipulative balance and hands of man’s technique.

To bring about a small sense of the approach of the techniques of this method: You realize that in planting an orchard with maiden fruit trees, which means one year [old], it is essential to plant those trees with a total vision in the life of the orchard, both the stock and the scion, the delight of the orchard, and its produce. And that for the well-being of those trees it is essential that they begin in the nursery soil of the earth. And that any matters that are going to be given to them to produce greater and greater fruit crops with more and more prunings are a matter of time. That in the beginning they must know Mother Earth as a child, when born, must begin on the simple and gradually evolve. We’re a little inclined to overlook this in the thought and construction of a garden today simply because, of course, we’ve become very mechanical and divorced from nature. But it must be totally appreciated that the techniques of this method demand an evaluation of cycles, in other words, if you like to put it—which doesn’t exist—time, period of growth. Gardens grow. A garden does not happen in one year. And the enchantment and the productivity unquestionably grows, and should grow. And that should be the vision from the start: the permit of growth.

In this one expresses what is capable in this era that is a little frightening when you look at it very plainly and obviously, and don’t endeavor to escape what we are doing with the world. But in this vision it is enormous. It is one of the greatest things that we can possibly visionary encompass at the moment. It means a recovery from all the destructivity that is going on. It is possible. And the vision leads into it and will solve itself. And this vision is this: that when man enters the procedures of God and creation in line with this thinking, with this approach, he opens up the fact that he is going to live and perform, think, emanate, and evolve his land in goodness. And that having entered the scene with this vision, nature and creation, with its endless productivity, flows through his work and brings about matters and cornucopias of produce of which he has no thought or vision whatever.

It is not well to start by placing all the problems of finance, and pest, and disease in front of you and saying, “How can I start?” For in the very first place you must know that when grass grows lushly, when shrubs grow, when plants grow, when flowers bloom, and birds fly, and birds sing, the air becomes cleansed of perniciousness. And the breeze blows through the trees as they breathe and become cleansed. And whatever man does to desecrate this is balanced if we stop in time and commence this other approach of cleansing and allow it to be.

You must also be aware that botanically it is irrefutable that where the sea has an area of discontinuity and meets the land, you have a salt margin of sand, which is not soil...



[Text transcription 2015 by G. Haynes and M. Crawford]




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