Alan Chadwick's Underlying Approach to Gardening
Reflections on Alan Chadwick by Dan McGuire
The following words were originally written by way of introduction to the collection of Alan's lectures entitled, Reverence, Obedience and the Invisible in the Garden. Dan gave us permission to reproduce these comments on the Alan-Chadwick.org website because we felt that they are generally applicable to an understanding of Alan and the purpose of his work.
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"This collection of talks by Alan Chadwick is comprehensive and covers much of Alan’s philosophical, practical ideas and approach to horticulture.
I followed Steve Kaffka as student president of Alan’s Garden Project at the University of California, Santa Cruz, in 1970-71. During that time, Alan gave his initial lecture cycles to university students and faculty. His audience soon grew to encompass large numbers of the general public throughout California.
Alan used to say that we were not in fact interested in gardening or horticulture, but that the whole reason for our work was similar to that of a musician. His approach to horticulture was for each individual to work together as in an orchestra, for each individual to become attuned to the spiritual world. Only then could we become creative in the proper way, not for the sake of merely creating an abundance of produce, which would come as a matter of course from our work if our approach was correct.
The whole purpose of the Garden was to uplift, to sanctify and to consecrate the earth, the plants, and the elemental beings that dwell there. In fact, it was apparent to anyone with sensitivity who visited Alan’s garden at that time, that there was an intense atmosphere filled with spiritual forces.
It was a very sacred place.
We can be inspired even now, upon reading these lectures, by the work of this great man. And in some small way, we may bring his inspiration into our own lives, so that we live not merely for our temporal selves. We can become in tune with the infinite, and bring the blessings of Eternity into earth existence. In so doing we bless and uplift the Earth planet, and ensure its future."
--- Dan McGuire, Retired Horticulturist and Beekeeper