Lecture by Alan Chadwick in New Market, Virginia, 1979
Lecture 7: Propagation, Part 1
An Introduction to Alan Chadwick's Lectures and a Glossary of Terms
The full text of this lecture segment
Contents of this Segment:
Propagation by seed and by vegetative process. Grafting and sports. Pippins. Varietal disintegration. Propagation by seed is primary, and all progeny of seed are unique. Planetary influence. Buds are secondary to seed. Goethe on seed and plant: Idee and Metamorphosis. Inclination plants and declination plants. Bulbs. (13:39)
New Market, Virginia, September 12, 1979
Lecture 7, Propagation, Part 1
So our subject is propagation. There are two of these separations: propagation by seed and propagations known in terminology as vegetative, which are numerous. It is very, very important, vital to us to look carefully into this. What is classic rebirth into this world? Because today so many, in fact, the whole orchard, all of the fruit trees are grafted, all of them except, of course you must realize, the new fruits, and those are actually being cheated by sports off the old trees, variations on the lower boughs. We will deal with that, of course, with orcharding of fruits. But you must also realize that the Phoenicians after the Chinese—I am talking of ten thousand years ago—up through the Greeks, and about there it began to change into more grafting. But the very name in apples of Pippin meant two things: that when you shook the apple and you heard the pips rattling, that that apple was ripe: "The pip’s in."
But principally what it meant was that literally all of those apples, which was the whole majority of the origins of those apples, were propagatable by seed, and came so near to absolute true that humanity would mistake it for the identical. But we have gone right out of this, and so we have entered spheres of varietal disintegration, which we no longer comprehend. Therefore I’m pointing to you that it is the duty of every horticulturalist today to look greatly into this matter.
It must become obvious that classic reproduction into this world is from seed. The reason behind that statement... let us just survey it. If you have a large flower bed and you have one hundred entirely different variety of plants in that bed, and let us say they’re all flowers. You have marigolds, you have Tithonia, you have Antirrhinum, Alyssum, a hundred different kinds of plants, but only one of each flower. And they all bloom and not one of them intermarries. And you will take the seed from those and sow them and you will get a re-performance of that, and not one of them would have intermarried.
But the flowers on the plant have intermarried, not in all cases, but in some. There are variations on that theme. But not one of the flowers that come from the seeds of those plants will be identical to the parent in any way. Not identical. No tree that comes from a forest is identical to the parents. And every tree in the forest, although you call it a Metasequoia, although you call it a maple, they are all individually different. And that from birth from seed they continue every time to be, to have a difference. That difference might not even be discernable or it might be very discernable, but that it is a rebirth, obviously, out of the invisible world through the intermediaries into this world. Now that is what I am suggesting the true horticulturalist has got to look at.
Today we have become scientific. We don’t consider there is an invisible world that seeds come from. That the embryo that comes into a seed is an ordinary scientific performance. It happens on this Earth, out of this Earth. Nothing goes out of this Earth. And do you see that we begin to perceive, in the whole of this attitude of horticulture, that the planets do enter the performance of the plants by a flow of energies and that they actually come and bring matters that we give names to, into the soils and into the plants themselves.
Now look you, instead of looking then at a seed, look at a tree and perceive what happens. During the year, the cycle of inclinations, that tree comes into foliage and is in foliage. And where that foliage is, a bud will come on what we call the stem. Now those buds are the next proposition to a seed, but they are not the same as a seed. But each of those buds contains a little embryonic nerve like we would have in a molar tooth for instance, which goes into the stem of the tree and is living on it. In other words, all the buds are children in a great parent that otherwise doesn’t have any expression at all. It is like a great monument in which a whole lot of children are living and growing. Well you can take any one of those buds and set them in a stock of the same parentage as that tree is, and they will grow, providing you perform the operation suitably. Therefore there is a light embryo in all of those buds, but that you cannot take a piece of bark, or skin of a tree, and do that with it. It doesn’t operate.
Now practically all vegetative―a good deal of the vegetative, especially when it concerns orcharding―comes out of grafting scion into stock. And that we will look at and discuss. Now, having explained something about that bud procedure, which I trust has opened out your view, let us survey seed for a moment. One of the most astonishing statements about seed is made by Goethe, and it is so incredibly within the matter. He says utterly simply,
So what did we say yesterday? The moment of the placing of origin, energy, and after that peripheral. We are almost saying that the secret that is in the embryo of a seed becomes the secret, the same secret, throughout the plant. There is something there that does not change. We can only think in volume. We can only think of all our souls or spirits being rather like our bodies. You can’t think of all the souls of the world going into a sardine tin.
I bring to you more little technical, and more obvious matters: That all seeds―and you see you buy them today in sealed packets done over with cellophane so that no revolutionibus can get there. And you must realize that when that seed forms, an embryonic performance takes place in the flower, from the planet it is governed by, and by the revolutionibus in toto, of course, as well. But the principle is from the planet that it is governed by.
Now you will find this most dominant. Now the point at the moment, and go back to that, and remind me to go back to that when I miss it, I shall ask it. I want you to immediately jump from there into the whole performance of seeding though flowering. And it is the whole performance of the performing of buds in trees, and the whole performance of the forming of blossoming, for instance inside bulbs.
Now camellias begin to grow when the other shrubs have stopped, just begin to stop growing. And camellias come into bloom from Christmas onwards. And in many cases, those things are affected, for instance, like the… what we call the avocado pear that fruits in America in the winter. An avocado pear fruits in the winter, whilst an apple in America fruits in July and August. Well it’s because it comes from the southern hemisphere and it hasn’t changed its origin.
But that is not what I am alluding to. What I am alluding to is this: that the camellia begins to grow and makes formations of growth and forms buds beginning in August and comes into bloom in January, when the other shrubs, of course, are gone into complete dormancy with all their leaves off. Likewise, the bud forms in a tree that produces the peach blossom, that produces the peach the next year. That peach blossom is forming in that bud in July the year before. And that the daffodil and the Narcissi and the tulip—that you must plant no later than September or you will do infinite damage to the bulb—is forming the flower in the bulb, which is what the bulb actually is.
It’s an actual daffodil on a stalk between two leaves, between two leaves inside that bulb, and that that forms out of the death of the previous blossom. If you cut the previous blossom, particularly with a tulip, it won’t bloom the next year. Instead if you remove one leaf off a lily, it will not perform the same in blooming the next year. Do you see what I am alluding to? The whole thing is the performance of the government of the four Archangels, as they hand out of the center of one, into the center of the other through the quarters. So that daffodil is actually forming in May for the blossoming next May, or maybe June, but that daffodil is formed by then. You can…
[Text transcription 2015 by M. Crawford and G. Haynes]