Alan Chadwick a Gardener of Souls

Lecture by Alan Chadwick in New Market, Virginia, 1979


Lecture 1: Philosophy of Gardening, Part 2

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

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We have become tangled up in empty words. But the garden leads one out of wordism into spiritual image. Biodynamic French Intensive System deals with relationship and dis-relationship. Soil is only one aspect of the plant envronment. Seasonal changes. Nothing in nature is static. (9:19)



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New Market, Virginia, 1979, Lecture 1


Philosophy of Gardening, Part 2



...will be completely overwhelmed by the performance, which that is, of a reflection of the stars. And all that it has to commune [communicate] to us and with us, whether it be a food, whether it be a music, or in whatever sense formed it be, for they are numerous. But the moment that you place a photographic word to it, because we have lived, been educated, and brought up at all times entirely on photographic words, and can’t exist without them, we have nothing else, literally, to refer to. You see we talk about orange, we talk about yellow or vermilion, or rose or pink, but there is no other, no color of that in the whole world. It is unique. And the content of every plant, of every herb is unique. But we will refer to it as sulfur, ammonia, iron, or nitrate. And it is completely, utterly, hopelessly-limiting verbosity.

The great secret of the garden is that it lets one out of this. It leads one out of it. You eventually must give up wordism and you enter what is a terrifying word and we must learn how to use it and how to enjoy it: Spiritual Image. This we must discover, and the garden is the great secret: It is Nature. Now in the whole of that nature is Creation: seed, rebirth, life-into-death-into-life, metamorphosis and change. I will quickly point out to you that the words Biodynamic French Intensive System, and such, relate to this huge matter of relationship and dis-relationship: black and white, hot and cold, north south east and west, yes/no. They are the poles of ends of those extremities. And that within them you will get a Cancer and Capricorn and then the Equator.

And in this relationship and dis-relationship, Nature balances her laws and interweaves everything that is born. Everything that is born is a reflection that Nature requires for her performances: the hand of God. It is not justified that any separation of those forces of creation should place themselves separately and say that because I require this, and that uses this, it shall be annihilated… for me. This relationship and dis-relationship goes to the furthest extremity to such degree that I must shock you in a sense, by telling you the truth.

One looks at the soil, and one is inclined, because of agriculture and farming, to think that the soil produces crops. And of course, nothing of the sort is possible. It is only a correlation of everything connected with atmosphere, area, even distant forests, clouds, stars, that are all a participant exactly the same as the soil. And now we think that the soil is a bunch of something that we call—forgive my saying so—that Americans call “dirt,” of utter inadequacy, Again, this idiot terminology.

And one is inclined to think that that dirt is there, and the rest of everything happens. It rains at certain times, and the wind blows, and well that’s that. It’s the wind, or it’s the rain. But I beg you to note that the Spring soil is the opposite of the late Autumn soil. It’s the absolute opposite. If you like, you could call one sweet and one sour, and that of course would miss the statement completely. But the whole soil has changed completely. That the whole of our digestion in the Spring must also be the complete opposite of what it is in the Fall. I am not saying that it is. That is probably a deformity, but it should be. The food is, what grows is, the trees and the plants are, and the airs are. And all the clouds throughout the year are different. They’re at different altitudes. They come down with different gasses. They’re all changing all the time. What I’m beginning to allude to is that in the whole performance of Nature there is nothing that is possible that you can ever allude to as static. Nor as repetitive, static. Cycles, yes, but static, no. Not.

In this statement about relationship and dis-relationship you must therefore observe that the whole of what we class as animals, birds, insects—you see you put a whole thing in an enormous group. You realize how like certain insects, certain flowers are. How like to certain birds, certain plants are. You can even mistake them completely... and of course animals and certainly human beings. It has always been extraordinary how like people are to their dogs, in time. Sorry, I am having enormous difficulties in concentrating.

In order to bring a very quick view of what I am talking about, it’s extraordinary how Shakespeare hit this when he needed to make a relationship in that great…





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