Alan Chadwick and Joseline Stauffacher in Santa Cruz

Alan Chadwick a Gardener of Souls

Memories of Alan Chadwick by Michael Stusser


Michael Stusser was a student during the first year of UCSC's existence. He studied philosophy and film, and very early became involved in the Garden Project under Alan Chadwick's direction. Michael came to know some of the early figures in the estalishment of the project, including Paul Lee, Page Smith, Eugen Rosenstock-Huessey, and Freya von Moltke. After graduating from the university, Michael went on to assist Jim and Beth Nelson in their efforts to create another Chadwick-style garden project in Boulder Creek, California, called "Camp Joy." It was during this period that Michael was asked by Paul Lee to do a film of the Garden, for which Paul had found some grant money. Michael worked for over six months on the filming and editing of this movie, which was completed in 1971. Later, he was asked to establish the gardens at the Farallons Institute in Occidental, California, which continues to this day under the name, "Occidental Arts and Ecology Center." Today he owns and manages Osmosis, a spa using a traditional Japanese form of fermented organic material and enzymes as a healing bath. The Japanese-style meditation garden, which Michael set up there, is a beautiful testimony to his Chadwick influences as they have evolved into different forms during his life.



Garden, the film by Michael Stusser (1971)

A 15 1/2 minute film documentary of Alan Chadwick's Santa Cruz garden in its full glory. Watch for the appearance of Alan Chadwick carrying a bundle of sticks behind a bed of carnations and apricot trees. This scene occurs near the end of the film, right after the scene of a young man pushing a wheelbarrow down a steep path.


An interview with Michael Stusser, Part 1 (August 17, 2012)

Michael remembers meeting Eugen Rosenstock-Huessey, Freya von Moltke, and Page Smith. Freya von Moltke talks about her friend, Alan Chadwick, who was to visit her soon. Alan's arrival and his first presentation to the university community about the potential garden. Paul Lee recruits Michael Stusser and John Powell to be the first of Alan's helpers in the new garden project. Anecdotes of experiences with Alan's teaching methodology: painful, but profound life-long lessons. Alan's ability to see into the character of his students, and to give them what they needed. Later, Michael becomes the gardening teacher at the Farallons Institute. Alan's visit and lecture there. The profound effects of Alan Chadwick on the life work of Michael Stusser. (13:37)


An interview with Michael Stusser, Part 2 (August 17, 2012)

Michael tells about the life-changing experience it was for him to visit the classical gardens of Japan, and how these seemed to incorporate the principles that Alan Chadwick advocated. Michael's three years as a garden apprentice in Japan. Starting the Osmosis Bath project with its garden environment. Impressions of Freya von Moltke. The genius of Alan Chadwick, and also its flip side. Paul Lee's book on Alan Chadwick. Vitalism as a necessary and essential view of the world. Alan was like an angry prophet, his reverence for nature, his suffering over the misdeeds of human beings and their crimes against nature. Michael's experiences making Garden, his 1971 documentary about the Chadwick garden in Santa Cruz. Norman O. Brown finally agrees to allow his recording of My Georgics to be used as the sound track for Michael's film. (14:23)