A stray-berry. Fragaria. A plant of supreme delicacy, perfume, belonging to the rose, and in many cases in ancient approaches, considered utterly as exquisite as eros, rose. And whereas people talk of “the beauty of the rose,” it was very often referred to as, instead, “the freshness of the strawberry.”
There are several explanations proffered for the origin of the word ‘strawberry.’ The ones connecting it the Anglo-Saxon ‘streow,’ for ‘hay,’ are the most inventive. Either 1) strawberries ripened at a time when hay was ready to be mown; 2) children strung the berries on straw or grass to sell; 3) achenes scattered over the surface of the berry are somehow reminiscent of straw nubs; or 4) there is a practice of mulching strawberries with hay. Alan obviously sees origination in the strawberry’s proclivity to send runners straying out to establish new families. This would connect it with the Middle French ‘estraier’ (to stray, wander) and possibly earlier to the Vulgar Latin ‘extra’ + ‘vagere,’ ‘to wander outside,’ thence ‘extravagance.’
You must, at numerous times, have found certain strawberries, which are rather rare today to find, of the utmost glaze, and an acute delicacy that is transparently as colorful as is the deep rose strawberry, and you look through that red. So it is not a red that is red which you can’t look into, that red you actually look through and is almost transparent. You realize that that glaze is over a most luxuriously juicy berry that hardly has a skin at all, that has those indentations, with either black seed, or white seeds, or golden seeds. You don’t know very much about black seeds and white seeds, but they’re usually just much more than the golden seeds. And that those seeds sit in little indents, on the surface. What other fruits sit with their seeds outside? What an astonishment! You would see there that the whole of that little stray-berry is really a mass of pulp of the utmost juicy matter covering the membranes that go from the bract that is the stalk, because that is where the flower comes, through the bract of that little hole, and those electric wires go through the stalk, through all of that beautiful pulp to keep those wires alive in their youth, and each one goes to a little seed sitting in an indenture in a valley in the strawberry, and that is what a strawberry is.
That pulp that is the berry is there to maintain that wire in the delicacy of its youth, to give and take with the growth of the strawberry as it goes, and that these seeds may be in an area sitting to the revolutionibus, and yet these wires are flexible. Later, like a calyx, or anything else, they will turn into wires, and form quite hard, and the berry and all of the flesh will disappear and you will have a seed connected with those wires, and it will then be ready to perform its rebirth.
The luxuriousness of this little berry has been overwhelmed today by commercialism, by man’s imperative delight in the beauty of this berry, which is so underrated still, and the monstrosity, like cooking honey or freezing this berry and killing it. It’s so absolutely ludicrous because of its infinite delicacies, which today we’re not aware of, these delicacies we’re going to talk a little bit about it if we can this morning. Therefore, the very word, fragaria, ‘fragile,’ brings a whole notation to the exquisiteness of this, infinitely beyond the gooseberry or a currant, which is a gauche grape, a monster compared to this delicate thing.
Interestingly enough it was Saint-Pierre2 somewhere around about eighteen hundred who was fascinated that all the insects were indeed as loveable of this plant as everything else was. And this has been adored by people back through the barrows and everywhere. And so he put a plant, or is it a pot, on a windowsill and watched, and he found sixty-seven varieties of insects visited it within three weeks, and that they were all of the most intense and extraordinary variations that you do not normally see in the garden at all. Some were bronze, some wore silver armor, some wore golden armor, and they all had orders that give us something in the announcement of that delicacy of that strawberry with its curious sting and almost translucentness. These insects always with the little berries and these flies had the colors of rainbows in them, or the colors of hummingbirds, and of peacock plumes so to speak, and looking at it you may see the rose beetle. It’s astonishing when you look at it, it has all of this viridian shot with browns and blue and vermilion. You’ve got a connection here with the plant that you begin to see how this Biodynamically plays. And let’s not go too far into these because we can be utterly absorbed by that matter, which is very delicious.
Let us go back to Fragaria. Fragaria vesca begins us with the wood, the woodland strawberry, commonly known as frais de bois. It blossoms white, it fruits from May to July, has one fruiting only. Connected with it is elàtior which is slightly larger, grows more in hedges than woods, on the edge of copses, and is a halfway to the alpine strawberry. That fruits from June to August. One fruiting. Then there is the hautebois, which is an alpine strawberry of the Alps, and that contains for the first time flowers of male and female, and the male cannot make strawberries. You still get this in the cultivated strawberries. Then there is, with that connection, the pine strawberry, which grows principally in pinewoods and at the edge of pinewoods and is called collina and is a much sweeter and more delicate and purposeful flavor. It has short runners only, which means that it ends with one plant on the runner and not more. The more that strawberries are hybridized and crossed today, the more they send out a runner that has a runner, that has a runner, that has a runner. And you can begin to tell more and more which are acute endless crosses by this manner and that is a huge calamity, this disintegration.
In America, there is principally the Virginiana, and that produces, by cross, such early strawberries that are the first cross, as the Bishop, Garnstone’s Scarlet, Hudson Bay, Melon, and Roseberry. The early, very early American strawberries are first class productions, sometimes only one season, sometimes number two in season, sometimes number three in season. But one season fruiting. There is also a grandiflora which comes from Surinam. That has been crossed with the Virginica and has produced many of the strawberries of today. Two of the origins out of the grandiflora are Black Prince and Bullocks Blood. They’re the names of those berries, so whenever you find those plants, if anybody mentions it, prick your ears up, I’m dying for them! Steal one, cause any manner of accident, so you can pull up by it and go off with it.
From South America comes a particular. Chiloensis. Chiloensis is very unique. It is much the largest of all the wild strawberries and is much the richest. It brings about, produced in a culture in South America, the black Chili and the blush Chili. You’ve got two origins there out of the wild.
There is, out of the Alps- and it refers to one I’ve already mentioned- the alpine strawberry is a dull copper. It’s almost what you’d call, and is the basis of today’s everbearing. It has particular to bloom and fruiting in spring. It will then bloom and fruit through July and August, a second, and will then produce a third bloom which will go right on into the end of
September. And the September fruiting and blooming is as rich and voluptuous as the spring, and there is no differentiation between the voluptuousness or the excellence of the fruit between the spring and the fall, but the middle one has a slight inferiority. Here you have got the beginnings of a non-season fruiting, all of the others connected with seasonal fruiting, one, two, and three: spring, summer, and fall. It was the Fragaria alpina, red, introduced into cultivation about 1754, and out of that cultivation continues the same performance and fruiting as well in the fall as in the spring.
That, in particular, amongst others of these mentioned, holds the whole importance. As far as I’m aware, every one of those I’ve mentioned sends out trailers, and therefore have a plant at the end of the trailer. Some of the origin vital strawberries do not send out trailers and are crown presentiment, and seed propagation only. The majority do trail. And that, of course, is where the word ‘stray-berry’ comes from, that it sends out this little wand, that at the end of the wand develops a leaf that is up in the air. There is a whole purpose to this which you’ll come to see when we talk about the plant itself. At a certain period of the revolutionibus moistures begin to form with the coming of autumnal rains. Those moistures collect particularly at night on the little leaf up in the air, places a weight like a tiny weight on the scale, and slowly down bends the wand at the right time, and that little crown presentiment which had to form first, in the air, as a crown presentiment, connected with the revolutionibus, connected with its government, now touches the soil and instantly begins to make roots into the soil.
On the contrary, it is found, that in the performance of growing all of those origin strawberries into culture whereby they increase in flavor and in performance, and in size, it is found that if you produce those plants that way they are excellent, and sometimes are run into some form of varietal disintegration. In every case it is proven that they are best produced again from seed, and in all cases come utterly true. Utterly true you know the meaning of. Not one of them is identical to the parent, but they are true in origin. Now this is a huge perception that you’ve got to manage someway in your vision, not with words. When you go into origin you can repeat the birth out of the invisible to the identity. It’s obviously coming from the same planet, the planet to influence of the revolutionibus. That the moment you have started culture by pre-emanation of the plant itself you have changed that control to some degree. There is an earthly performance come into it, and you have obviously changed the revolutionibus. I can’t teach you that because it’s too untouchable. In other words what I am saying is that in all origins your best plant and your best result, and your best strength, and your best help comes from reproducing by seed. Now you’ve got the whole identity there that we were talking about with fruit. And so you must watch this and see it, because it’s not, not even conjectured today the importance of this matter.
Now, it is normally said, for instance, when we grew endlessly of the origins of strawberries at Santa Cruz, and people came and wrote these articles and received them, and were given them for lunch in a little corbeille as you would in France. A little corbeille is a little basket made of greens, with a little handle, and in it on these are placed these little strawberries, very tiny. And the normal person today would with a gauche mind go to buying a pound of strawberries in these awful basket things that use cellophane. You certainly haven’t tasted this exquisite berry, a very delicate flavor. And the deliciousness overwhelms the moment and then that came to mind of reason and intellect, and so, “My God! But I did eat them. In twenty seconds. Well it’s all gone. I know it’s a few; it’s wonderful. My hat! However long did it take you to grow those, and pick those little tiny strawberries?” So I said to him, “Yes, granted. What has that to do with that magic moment when you eat it? Have you’ve ever eaten a strawberry out
of the market that is anything quite so natural?” and the immediate confession that there’s nothing like it. And, of course, in the great cities like Vienna and Paris nobody will touch the cultured strawberry if they can get their frais de bois in this little corbeille and have some of the pure cream from the Jersey cow and a little sprinkling of sugar with a touch of vanilla which is the synergist that brings out the flavor. I mustn’t go there. I’d not be responsible!
I’m merely telling you that the performance of growing of these what you call origin strawberries wild- although overlooked because of the possibility of a certain problem under the name of picking- are still one of the most exquisite matters concerning, and also is essential in the reproduction of strawberries.
The hautebois is again connected with the alpine strawberry, but is purple, and is a single cropper, and is extremely strongly flavoured, and has been given up because of its strong flavour. It was actually given up because its flavor was so intense that is was almost objectionable to the palate of that time, in discrimination of Fragaria. However, that one was crossed with what is called the Fragaria ananas which has a taste rather like pineapple, ananas being a pineapple, as you know. And that cross became pre-eminent and was extremely used and is used today and is one of the huge bases of what were the last beautiful strawberries in culture. So they have come out of the Scarlet Virginiana, the Red Alpine, the Surinam, and the Chiloensis essentially. All these have eventually got vastly mixed up and produced all sorts of things that were wonderful.
At one time you could say that there were at least eighty to a hundred wonderful strawberries that you could grow that would be spring bearing, early summer, middle summer, late summer, fall bearing, and one or two that would produce through the three periods- and particularly a wild strawberry that of these that I had mentioned- and produce the most beautiful wild strawberries. And that, eventually, all of those were grown by people with gardens who collected them for the house, and were proud of them and would give a special dinner, that this strawberry was just ready and was to be served as the dessert.
And I remember that we had a tutor who was a visionary and his name was Cooper Hunt. He was actually an ordinary reverend Cooper Hunt and he was the father of Cooper Hunt the great tennis coach whom I studied under, not in that, but in geography and history, and was a most intolerable man. He was a very good tennis player however. Cooper Hunt came when Steiner and other people were at our house that we gave a great reception for, and other spiritualists and all sorts of weird people as well. And it was round this huge table with a special tea with the most wonderful cakes made for the propose, and at that period this particular strawberry, the Royal Sovereign, was just coming into bearing and a wonderful dish of them were prepared on leaves and placed in the middle of the table after people had eaten all these other nonsenses and drunk tea. Suddenly, this beautiful dish. And at this time Cooper Hunt was prologuing into a visionary and he rocked back in the great Chippendale chair- in fact it was Louis Quatorze- and he was almost asleep in delirious vision you see. And it was going on, and on, and on, and on, and everybody laughed to be engrossed in this yarn, and everyone looked at this wonderful dish, which had been brought in from the garden, you see, and they start to wake up to wondrous excitement. They hadn’t even seen it. So the thing was wafted about in the middle of the table and people began to sniff, sniff, sniff, and suddenly they saw it, and still this man was going on. And in order to stop him, because he was the last one left going on his own, they were all- pant pant pant– and he was handed the dish. And he said in his talk, you see, “Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you,” and she put it down straight in front of him, and he went straight on and ate the whole dish as everybody was sitting there, and never knew anything about it and never mentioned it to one of them.
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If they send a Bach remedy from England to California, it works, but if you grow the plant in California, which he is referring to in England and place it in the dawn and the water and the marriage is not the same because of the revolutionibus control, the planetary control of this area, and it does not work. Where you grow a strawberry or an apple or a raspberry on the other side of America on the east, and bring that same plant to the west it actually does not work. When you grow good apples and pears on the east you will use nitrogen, when you want to grow those same apples and pears in California you will have to use potassium, instead. Did you follow? Because of whole total different implication of the revolutionibus. We would put it to heat and cold, to the amount of sunlight and daylight and dark night light. Do you follow? We would try and be scientific about it.
You’ve got to see the government; but there is the government of the plant and there is the government of the area. And this relationship you do not cultivate today. It’s “6-6-6”3 all over the world. Grow wheat all over the world, grow lettuce all over the world. But there is a lettuce that grows in one place and another that grows in another. Do you follow? And if you cross them you might be crossing it so that you would lose both entities. Do you understand? Well, I won’t ask you if you understand, but I’m pointing to certain issues.
So there is very much the basis of the origins of most of our strawberries that come into cultures. Now I needn’t go into the fact that commercialism has taken the matter of this that is governed by the ministers. Ministers get in offices and are more connected with markets and selling things than growing them: with the egg, with the berry, with the apple. “How does it stand up in the emporium? Can you throw it about? Can you put it in great boxes? Can you place it in cellophane bags, and how does it look in appearance?” Which is rather a huge importance, and therefore you get the red delicious apple, and you get all these strawberries today. They would go actually down here in that valley where they grow and that place just near, as you know, near Santa Cruz, they will tell you that they have one strawberry now that they can actually pick and throw it in a bucket and it will keep for two weeks and then will not bruise.
You all know that when you collect a mushroom with the full moon- that’s the only time you can ever find a mushroom, when the moon is just at full- you will know that that mushroom collected, the champignon, that if you keep it for two days it’s full of maggots. Inevitably, it doesn’t matter where you put it, they’re full of maggots; they’re certain. You can’t touch them. Do you understand? And it will be rotten, in two days, in one day most likely, even in the same day. And yet, what do you get in the market? Mushrooms growing ad-lib, champignon, and there is never, never, never an added-in, and you will keep it for weeks. Well, what’s up?
The chancellor asked me at Santa Cruz will I not use the mushroom manure, which when they finished with it, was given away freely, because nobody wanted it. So I said to the chancellor- because he’s always trying to be compromised, you see, and I would always have a quite a big expense, probably ninety dollars for manure when the trucks come in. We usually were paying ninety dollars for manure for bull droppings; it’s a bit much. And so often he asked would I not use the mushroom manure because he was connected with the mushroom growers and he could get any article approved. So I said, “Well, why is it free?” And then I said, “How is it the mushrooms that they grow don’t have any methods?” And he said, “What are you talking about Chadwick?” I said, “I will show you.”
I got these two mushrooms, one from the field and I said, “You eat that,” and he said “No!” and “I never do!” And the next day it was full of maggots. And so I said we will put it in a pile and we will water it, and we will get a pile of manure from the field, and put that next to it and water it, you will see two different performances. And we watched them. And he used to come quite regularly and observe, and be very, very, associative. On the manure from the field, weeds all started up ‘round the edge like mad, and when we turned it the worms were simply delirious, on the strata and the leaf. The moment we approached the other one there was no life going on at all, no weeds had germinated whatever, nor would, nor did, even over a year. And every time you trampled there was not an insect in there, not a worm would come to lunch. So I said, “Well, what’s going on?” Total infertility. Total fertility. So he said then, “You won’t use it.” I said, “No, I don’t give you the answer, the answer is written.”
I have no idea what I was leading up to.
Strawberry. So many of the strawberries that are out of the early crosses were so delicate that you have to take them and just lay them on leaves singly and deliver them to the eater. That they were so beautifully delicate- and we talked about this already- that they would crush. So, you see, the whole performance of putting it in a something and loading today. Everything was cut, at such an economical price, you understand, you had to grow fifty acres of strawberries, to get the pickers owned by one person with capital investment from the bank to the plants, for the manipulation of the machines, for the spread of stock. Do you understand? And all of the land covered with black cellophane paper, so that nothing can enter the ground and it’s like a hospital where everybody is covered with everything do you know, that is completely immune from everything and there’s no thought of life and death, it’s just death. And so you’ve got this field of death, and the strawberry is already a dead thing. And so when it’s picked and put in a basket it keeps perfectly in that thing for close to two weeks and it is hard as a bullet and of course tastes of nothing, and is somewhat connected with the origin of a radish.
There becomes a pre-emption and they go wilder, and wilder, and wilder because there’s only one preeminent image, idée. Cash in the bank. And everybody “cash for,” “cash in the bank.” And it’s all connected. You go to the emporium and you really buy a cash in the bank, and you take it back and eat it. You may just as well boil dollar bills and just digest it. And then have indigestion.
Therefore all the beauty of Fragaria, the approach to the fragrance, to the inconsideration of whether it produces a sufficient profit, and be profitable in money. Now we’re looking at the whole gift of Nature that concerns quality, delicacy, nutrition. Not a quantative or an exterior preemption of appearance. So we’re looking at something totally different, you’re looking at a secret magic that’s conveyed inside. Does anybody today pay for the Ashford rose, no, they’d rather have the stinking old thing out of the way. Nobody would pay two million dollars for Ashford rose, and yet there was a period where everybody would. Does anybody pay for a most beautiful, intense flavor in a fruit? Would you go to the emporium and simply look at something and say to that, “What are they?” And they flit, “Apples.” And you see, you’re really asking, “What is the identity, where do they come from?” “Well, I don’t know, uh, they’re apples, wherever the government was bringing them from.” You see, nobody knows anything about it, you don’t want to know anything about it. You don’t want to know how Nature has brought this about as an immaculate gift for you out of the four opulences. You want to live in hell and have it pour on your head and just open it up and let it pour in. If you could take it as a pill it would be rather better. I won’t go on with that because it’s rather preemptive for here.
What I’m going back into now is the beauty of the magic of this incredible berry which is the equivalent of exquisiteness of a rose, eros, love. Now you’ve got that into the very center of image that’s connected with the garden. There is the whole beauty of the plant. What a beautiful edging this plant makes, to a border. How enchanting it is even used as a decorative in the alpine garden, a little group of them in the rocks. How enchanting they are with their own perception alone, without even eating them. What an imaginative gift with the foliage, the blossom, the trailer, and the berry, and all this incredible magic that you get in a hummingbird.
How interesting that two hundred, three hundred, four hundred years ago, going to that silly island, England, women and growers grew these strawberries when London was beginning to grow into a town, out of a village, Londinium. That they would already say that this place with all the fires burning and smoke is not suitable to grow these beautiful berries, and so they would go further and further away to grow them. And they would grow them so beautifully that they would be very precious to them and that the women, certain women they were too, they were very much connected out of Egypt, from where came all of what people who live in things pulled by horses. The Gypsies. And so these people were very much out of the Gypsies and do you realize that they would collect these, very often in the evening and particularly in the early morning, and bring them in the pinewoods.
And do you know those women would walk- and they would not take them in a horse and cart for the jaunting on the gravel roads- and they would walk forty miles there and back each day from Twickenham to Covent Garden. And you realize they would get pence or even half pence for the sale. And that they were very happy and utterly delighted with the procedure. There was really no money made for the procedure, that it was the beauty of this thing and the whole magic was contained in the reflection of their beauty. And that they also came from the Welsh collieries and did the same thing. And you see, they escaped from the underworld of being down in a mine in Wales with coal. Then suddenly being connected with growing Fragaria and taking it forty miles to market. So a person working in the Welsh colliery for a time as a family would eventually grow strawberries and take them to a town and you’ve started this élevé, this garden.
If you would we look then at the origin coming from seed, you will see an importance that you must go back to. You will not grow the little strawberries again, you will seek out these exquisite matters in the origins. Possibly you’ve got to go back to the vesca, the Virginica, and the alpine strawberry. You may have to go back to the Chilean, the Chiloensis, and you may have to marry that again with its absolute origin with a first culture which has equal exquisiteness which has begun to develop size and juice and flavour which you want. We cross that and you will almost certainly come true into that crossing. Do you understand? You are not going to get a huge collection of vagaries. Out of that first cross you’re going to get the content of the wild origin and the first culture. And you’re going to get a huge indication of repetitive. Do you understand? So when you produce that out of something there, you’re suddenly going to get a quantity of matches. And there you may cross those again. I advise you to be careful not to go too far ahead in your crossing, you get lost in over-culture again.
Your Royal Sovereign is the queen today of the strawberries. There’s no other strawberry coming anywhere near it. Fortunately we’ve got it here. You can’t get it in America. There isn’t a plant as far as I know. It is the finest berry. It only fruits for three weeks. It’s extremely delicate; it’s not suitable at all for what you would call today’s marketing because it is so delicate. And that delicacy, and you must know this, because if you look at a particular plant, it is the most beautiful-scented flower in the garden, mignonette. Oh, what’s the Greek name for mignonette? Reseda. There is no other scent that is quite so extraordinary in its incredible delicacy as Reseda.
Now any of you that know mignonette, know perfectly well that it is one of the most articulate in her performance when it comes to the bloom. You will never get any scent out of her at all. And yet, there are those of the performance of this when the scent is so pervading that you, you faint. It is so overwhelming. And yet, it is so delicate that when you actually try to smell it, and you focus your sense, you can’t even smell it. When you remove your sense and breathe, it’s all there. But the moment you focus, and we had this in the war, where I used to see- because I had this particular night sight- I would see a periscope on the horizon and I would say to all of the watch, “Quick! Green curtain, right on the edge of the horizon.” See, everybody would do this- clap- and never see it again. “That’s it, stop looking. Stop looking, because it’s no longer there, and don’t look and carry it on the horizon.” And all of us- clap, “No, it’s not! No, I was wrong.” Don’t you see, the moment they don’t look, it tells them, “Do you see, it’s there.” And it tells them. And the moment you look, you’re focused with you and you can’t see what it is saying.
This is the same with scent. I refer to the violet, with the Fragaria, and with the mignonette. This is an incredible matter that is connected with concentro, lee, one, it, focus, tact, medito, maritaya, ente, cargone, contempo, turn on your powers, your energies, but do not think4. And allow that to relate. And the moment it strikes the plate there is the connection of the language. Did you see what I’m referring to? It’s a philosophical point that we’ve lost today because everything is “I”, predominantly thick. So the whole magic of the garden relates itself that way and that’s why it’s so important to be secretive in the garden you see, and not talk. And not even think about “I see this. I hate this, that.” Here you get the whole classicism of art, of this madness today of these idiot painters and musicians who say, “Well, I think of it like this.” Well, I’m sure it’s very interesting from a single point of view but let’s talk classic. It’s much more exciting. Some people think the individual is much more exciting.
Now let’s go into the culture of this plant. It detests collection of wet land. It loves superb drainage but it demands moisture. It cannot tolerate intense heat, detests it. It is a social plant and loves intermarriage. Most of those- wild, vesca, and the other frais de bois, and the alpines- grow in amongst other plants for they do not like to be swarmed by height; and the height would swarm them and they wouldn’t fit there. Therefore they grow in amongst other plants. It will grow superbly amongst violets, the great short plants. Particularly interestingly enough, amongst multiflora and very much amongst Thymus and such plants, and cowslips. All of what you might call the alpine plants they grow beautifully amongst.
Now the fact that they love this drainage, and the fact that they detest intense heat, must tell you something. Therefore in the culture of the strawberry, you need to grow the bed of the strawberry or the edge of strawberry with other plants. These are the plants those plants want.
Now you may say “Well, that’s alright, but I want to grow an acre of strawberries.” And that’s alright if you must. You must have them in beds that are livable, and you must have them in raised beds of course. Now the procedure there is perfectly simple, it’s this: now in the fall,
you will articulately scarify that field of beds. Scarify. That is work it. Work the surface of the soil, and you will totally dress it with the proper dressing of what is necessary. Stock pile manure. A third a third a third. A quantity of potash as necessary, small amount of bone meal or whatever might be necessary in the way of potash potassium, and such minerals that your soil for that performance might require to make your strawberries perform beautifully. That should then be added as a total dressing around the crowns of the plants and in the spring, the early spring, all of the early weeds will spring up. You must go through the whole plantation, and any of what you might call the over-voluptuous weeds that are going to grow three feet or four, or weeds that are not required, that are not suitable must come out. The rest are left. And grass is not advisable because it might overwhelm with its roots the performance. There are varied plants that are utterly suitable, and I have already told you of several, they are the growing and spreading plants.
Now this tells you then that in early spring the strawberry begins to break very early, in March, and opens up its blossoms. It is terribly pervious to all frost, and you will always see the effect of frost upon the blossom, because, instead of having a yellow center, if the frost has touched it, the center will be black. And you will know that none of that fruit will be any use.
Now in the early stage it is essential for the revolutionibus and the insects and bees to go to the blossoms and pollinate. That’s very essential, the intermarriage. At the period beyond that you are beginning to get beyond the equinox when the sun is becoming predominant and a certain amount of scorch is entering the scene. And therefore a protection for those berries- Fragaria, ‘delicate’- all little downland plants and grasses and the alpines put little ferns that go a little above the strawberry plant. And so that berry will get ample light and the advantage of sunshine, and it would almost be in a conservatory for the plant’s protection. And the more that this period of intensity grew, the more protection will come up and take place. And the more perfectly would that fruit ripen within that conservatoire. And eventually come to a full ripeness inside that conservatoire, becoming almost black-red, and turn suddenly to sugars, at which you get the utmost perfection of plant, of the fruit.
Now the idea of placing straw upon the ground of course is utterly ludicrous in every degree. For one thing you are dealing with death, dead matter. And you understand that death makes death and life makes life. So the weeds growing give a virility to the strawberry, with their breathing. They form the fragrance into the berry. And they share their breathings and they are living and you will not get rot. Even with wet you’ve got a night force going on, and you won’t get rot with the berry. If you have got straw, or any other such matter except Pteris, bracken- which is unique, which is a complete disinfectant- you will not only get rot, but you will get the insects delightedly living on the rot. All of those wood lovers and slugs and insects and centipedes that adore strawberries. We did mention how the insects adore them. And therefore they will all live in the matter in the utmost happiness during the day and come out and eat all the berries before you get to them in the morning. And the berries will rot every time that that dressing of straw gets damp, so that the strawberries will get a botrytis and will rot with damp.
Therefore that straw business is rubbish. Pteris, dry bracken, is a superb mulch, if you want to grow your strawberries in a very delinquent cold climate area, where normally the strawberry would not do well in weeds, for that reason it would not get enough Sun. So if you are in an acutely northern area- you must understand that all of these strawberries, many of them grow beautifully in Norway and Sweden, and perform in the mountains there in that period of the summer. So you are not delinquent to any particular areas growing strawberries, they will grow almost to the tropics, and right up into the Arctic region. You’ve got a wonderful interplay. But note what we’ve said: it detests damp wet and detests intense heat. So you must look at something there; they’re fussy. They’re very fussy. And yet you could avoid those factors by technical artistry. Therefore the interweaving of the creeping Thymus in any strawberry bed will bring the bees, are the disinfectant, refute mice, get rid of propositions of the interference of birds because they can’t see them. You see all your birds that will normally come and eat up strawberries galore can’t find the strawberries when they’re slightly bedded. And that this protection is protection from them as well. And so you will get the majority of your crop instead of the birds having the majority.
And they come on much better in their rotation. You would find that the moment of the Sun in its inclination with the Moon, you will find that on certain days and nights running even the unripe berries will ripen falsely. Have you noticed here that all of these berries, the moment that they begin to form, the seeds take over and the pulp of the strawberry does not even form, and that the seed becomes pre-formed into pre-birth with excitement of knowing that it’s going to die. And the whole of that seed pre-forms, and the berry doesn’t even from. You could see it, they burn up. They cannot stand that performance. Now if you grew them in total shade under tree- this is common with the frais des bois- and therefore it might work but it will have no flavour. So this performance with protection, utter protection, will allow you to get your flavors and your performance, with all those berries.
Now if we could just go to a matter concerning the propagation of this. When you plant them in beds for fruition you naturally want the plants as a crop. Those that trail – and that’s the majority, sending out trailers- there are then the periods of the berry. Normally three to four years is the good life of foundation of the fruit of a strawberry plant. After that, they go into quantative and lose quality. And after that they lose both quantative and quality. So you can take three to four years depending upon the varieties for production. Now when you take the trailer or runner from the plant and you must reduce to one plant on each trailer and not allow them to go on and make others out of the same trailer, for that is a delinquency of disintegration, and you must not allow more than three trailers per plant, for then you go into those three, instead of a quantity. In other words, the focus is for improvement of, strength of.
And that you must not, when you take the crop from a plant, you must not take the child as well. For that crop is the seed issue, the fruit is the seed issue; and it is putting into the seed issue the idea of reproduction. It is out of the cultured bed that they both fruit freely and send runners most freely, too freely. Therefore in all cases of cropping you have to take away the runners. In all cases of wanting runners you must remove the flowering of the plant. So when you use a bed for fruition, for fruit, for production of fruit, you should look upon it as production of fruit, and you should not allow it to produce runners at all. If you produce runners out of that you will get disintegration for certain, by using the runners as plants. Do you understand?
Now when you want, therefore, to propagate you must take a certain bed and plant it for propagation. Those plants must have come from plants that are not allowed to produce fruit, or are not allowed to produce fruit freely you would say, which is more to the point. You must not allow more than three trailers per plant. And you must not allow more than one plant on each trailer. So, you’ve got three trailers for a plant. Now with those trailers, that those three plants with those trailers, you will entice them by either putting pots, or boxes, or tins all into quite well-worked soil, pegging them down, and then they will root the quicker for that purpose. The quicker they root, the better. They should really be rooted by August, or early September, into good little plants, to be performing according to their timeliness correctly.
Now, if you plant those and you think of propagating from those, from those three, from the one, from the propagated bed, you must not take runners from those the first year. Do you follow? You are not to take runners the first year. It’s like a pullet. They are not preemptive in their cycle of reproductiveness, as they’ve not become parents. Therefore it is fully advisable to allow that bed to fruit the first year, and use the fruit. And you will in the garden label it to that effect. The second and third year are utterly predominant and desirable for taking three plants from each, so that six plants in its life reiteration. An enormous foundation. The fourth year you should go back to fruit and not to plant propagation. They’ve begun to go into quantity rather than quality. Do you follow me? So there is a classic performance. So you do not take your propagative bed out of your cropping beds. They are separate. And they perform properly. And those cropping beds are not for propagation. So you get all the rooting and fruiting improvement you can. And they are placed that close and there are first lines to that degree about producing more and better fruit. Not propagation. So in a sense, you see, there is a whole difference in the garden, which you don’t look at in human beings. That there is cropping and there propagation. Did you follow?
Now then, when they want you to produce your new varieties, or when you want to resuscitate flavor and articulateness, you must start growing back the seed and stop using the runner. For that will give you nothing of that matter.
In the performance of the beds, whether it is a frais de bois, or whether it is an alpine, or whether it is a Chiloensis, they are alpine plants. Essentially, it’s an alpine plant. It either grows on downs and hills, or it is an alpine. Therefore that remark about the drainage. Therefore, all beds prepared for strawberries are to be deeply dug six months, at least, before the time of planting, six months. The soil needs to be firm, the strawberry plant loves firm, lower soils. Therefore, the lower soils are most articulate to get revolutionibus must be allowed to reset and not to produce.
All soils for the strawberry should be firm. They love to have their roots in amongst little rocks, in amongst stones, and the soil to become firm. It is essential that the crown sits not in the soil, nor totally out of it. Very important position. Better, a little out of it, than set into it. Like a fern, all strawberries will rot and get disease if the crown enters the soil. Therefore it is highly advantageous to think of a crazy paving covering to a strawberry bed.
They love to have their roots in cool moisture, underneath stones and rocks. And yet have those roots going into the soil underneath. Think of crevices in rocks that are filled with beautiful soils, that have become alluvial, full of minerals all around them, full of sharp rich and good soil, of compost and manures so to speak, and the plants growing in those crevices. Now those roots are held in rocks, and you understand that Sun scorch, and change of climate and winter are not going to interfere. You’ve got a wonderful firm control on those rocks, particularly concerning moistures and dryness. For the strawberry root must not grow deeper than that and loves to go out like that, in a mat. And therefore continual change of dryness and wetness, they detest. You begin to see how this alpine performance connected to strawberry is utterly important. Therefore you also see that the growing of weeds in the summer in what you might call the field bed, is a predominant concerning control of that moisture, that all roots of those plants and the green of plants makes a total coverage of the soil, and you do not get thermal elemental variation throughout the day and the night more than the requirement of the strawberry. The moment that you’ve got open soil drying, and wind and sun, you’ve got an absolutely inferior performance to the plant and the berry. And although leaves protect to a certain degree, you would find that they shrivel and dry up. It is a social plant; it does not like to be on its own. The whole of that performance that you see is because of the inarticulateness of man’s mind wanting to grow a crop in great quantity where are machines and breaking the chains perpetually. Do you understand what I’m pointing at? Therefore the growing of the strawberry is a wonderful artistic technical performance.
The watering. The performance of watering- where watering is necessary, and it nearly always is- that watering must be applied according to the variety that you are growing, and according to its performance. As the berries are just becoming ripe, you must cease all watering. Pick the crop that is ripe, and immediately water, thoroughly. Keep those moistures at an even level all the time. Do not allow the surface area to change. Now do you see why I’m talking about stone, and why I’m talking about breathing.
Now I grew at one time, for a most prevalent dandy, a man who became a millionaire who always came and visited me- I was still a boy working with Steiner- and he had a cigar this length, and I always loved cigars because my father smoked one a day, and he came with the cigar. He always wore one of his own. He was a huge man, a giant. And came with a chauffer, and came to our beautiful villa, and walked down, so he opened it. Very presumptuous, common business man. Well-made. With this great cigar, burning, with the band on, a thing amongst aristocracy all these labels and idiots. And would come up to me personally and would say “These fruits and vegetables. I want you to grow them for me. I’m aware of what you are doing. I’ve got a hotel. I’m around here in Braxton Park. Tea culture. Everybody who comes there does not eat meat or fish or eggs or butter or any of these things. And nothing is grown there, not any vegetables at all. Now why don’t you grow them. Will you?”
I said, “Well, I have to talk to the family and see.” Meantime, he was standing there doing this as you see, and going on talking about this, and saying that he had land where I could come grow these things, as flowers and vegetables and fruit. And now, dribble was coming gradually all around the cigar, and we began to get absorbed in the conversation- and I was very enchanted and interested in him- did this dribble reach the burning end and you’d hear hissss and runs up onto the ground. And suddenly he would take no notice at all and almost be angry because I was looking at this dribble. Which was violet and coffee in colour. Why did this man not know of this business going on? He was obviously terribly well-fed.
Eventually I did grow it for him, on particular fields of his own, in complete gravel, strawberries; he wanted strawberries but had no manures, no performances of any kind. And he was positive that you could grow the best strawberries on the tops of hills on gravel and broken stones. And he was quite right. We did grow strawberries for him, and there was no strawberry that I ever had that had such flavour. And you got about three on a plant a year. That’s all the poor things could manage. But they were enormous.
You must look to this matter, that there are the early performing strawberries, and the middle performing strawberries, and the late performing strawberries. All strawberry crowns will form towards the end of the previous year. Those crowns have in them, two or three leaves. And those inside husks. And inside those are already sometimes two and even three little bracts and flowers on stalks. Secreted inside. Just like the tuber is already inside the bulb by August. Even July. Now, many people, many growers, to produce that crown, will cut off- what is called defoliate- all of the leaves. This of course is a monstrosity. Because those leaves are still actually the pre-acting of that crown formation. But they do induce by shock, the crown formation. They induce it. Do you understand? They frighten it into flowering inside. But what you have done is to destroy some of the entity of the prolificality of the plant. You must not cut down any of that herbaceous border, those wands that are still juicy and the delphinium stalks, that are still green.
They have to go back into the crown presentiment, to give back some of the juices. Do you understand? And if you cut them off you have removed some of those weed throwbacks that have got to be there. Therefore defoliation is a complete falsity and I won’t discuss it.
With that crown presentiment performance taking place when it does, you would find that when you plant out those first strawberry runners that are made that year, you will get due to a performance of nature, your earliest crown beds. From those young plants. They will be the earliest strawberries that you could produce. That the second and third year, you cut back into the rotation of the slightly late performance, out of the same plants. So when you want early fruiting you must get those strawberries in as quick as you can. Now if you do not plant those strawberry plants by August or September- or should we say in California by October- because you will be then in the neck of the year. Do you understand? You can run that right into November if you’d like.
But you must get them in by then and when you plant the strawberry you must make this shape performance of indent in your bedding. And remember you started your bed six months before, and you allowed it to firm up. And now rather like, Anthemis nobilis, you may walk on the bed after you plant it. It will be an assistant.
And you make that cut and you make in the middle of that hole- not deep- that depth presumably, you make an elongated pyramid, as elongated as you can, with the soil. You place the young plant, which you will find a whole fan of root coming out of, a mat, you place your hand holding the crown leaves and you place your other hand up into the base of the plant spreading out those roots like a fan. And you take your hand away and drop it over the pyramid, thereby you’ve got all of these roots sitting on the pyramid of soil at about that angle. Do you understand?
And now there is no central root. You then place back your soil from the sides, falling off onto those roots, which are actually spread out completely around that pyramid, and when half-replaced, you tread heavily, heavily, the soil, not in the center but on the exterior area. You then replace the rest of the soil, bringing the crown presentiment just above the level of the bed.
And now you see how beautiful it is that if you had it either inter-planted with herbs, or even, what you might call broken rock shale, a gravely shale of broken rock, full of mineral. It can sit all around the collar just as you’d dress a pot plant after you’ve planted it in the soil, you press it down, you will put a fine covering of little chippy rock on the surface which prevents all soil splashing on the pot and therefore no soil will enter the collar.
I go on talking about this collar area because it’s so important to do this beautiful thing. It’s sociable, and aerative, and performing. It’s got to expand. It’s got to keep growing with the plant, if it is to be to have this with tight soil which is going to seize- and all water on soil is going to seize, even in sand it will seize.
Therefore this area of service of the strawberry bed is important, utterly important. And that’s why I talk of it so strongly, for if it is a frais de bois or another doesn’t matter. So you see how beautiful the little rock edges as you perceive you’ve got something here. How beautiful are escalating beds with an edging of strawberries on the escalation. That they would actually fruit all hanging over on the rocks and there would be some weed interplay, or particularly, again, certain herbs, such as Thymus, that would all also grow over the rocks and hang with the strawberries, and just cover them. And so you get this beautiful interplay of these matters.
I think that really almost covers the important notations concerning growing strawberries. But you suddenly see that there is a world of a huge artistic, technical performance. There are ways, of course, of growing them, as you know, in barrels, and there are all the fascinating things
of growing them in pigeon holes, and in the barrels. And it all works very well. Also, you see, you can think of growing strawberries almost in a rock pile, and that’s very much what I’m talking about. And, of course, you can also grow them very excellently in pots. You can take a three year old plant, lift it totally and put it in a big enough container, it doesn’t matter what container it is, and place it on the shelf up in the glass house that I spoke of, the forcing house, place it there in November, and they will come into bloom at the end of November, those crowns will burst.
Today much of this is not horticulturally any more exemplified. It is not discussed in these terms that I give you this morning, these identical classical laws of propagation. I’ve given you the indent of the whole knowledge of strawberry growing. Do you understand? The classical strawberry growing. Nothing is worried about because today gardeners don’t do it. Therefore, you won’t hear this discussed, neither will you have focus upon propagation. Is this wise? Is it possible to propagate from a one-year-old plant? Do you get disintegration from it? Do you understand? I am telling you that you do. Today there is no institute you can turn to who will exemplify that for you and say, “It works sometimes, generally, that is. There’s no need to discuss it.” Do you understand? All of this you have got to become gardeners to read. It’s gone. Do you want to discuss it a bit further?
Q: What is the origin of the Royal Sovereign?
The origin of the Royal Sovereign? Authoritatively, I do not know. I’ve not gone into the individualism of those, and I couldn’t actually tell you. You can dissect this gradually by looking at the berry, the color of the seed, do you understand? What is it? It’s yellow. It’s gold. I see. So it has not got Chiloensis in it. That’s certain. It has for certain got Virginiana in it. Do you understand? It’s almost, for certain, not got hautebois. The hautebois is, it starts off like a pair, and suddenly goes into four quadrangles. The whole of Sovereign is very, it begins like, it’s like a triangle, and can be wedged, wedge-shaped, coming to a point, a flat point like a wedge. It’s either pointed or wedged. Do you follow? Now those preeminence of those matters, the period when it fruits, it’s early middle period, and three weeks early. You’ve got the whole identity of origin there. Do you follow? So you could begin to say, “It is not this. It is not this. It is not this.” And eventually you will come down to two or three or four that it must be connected with. Do you understand?
So when you ask me that you must understand that the whole realms of gardening, if I were a thousand there would be many things that I haven’t begun to think of. Do you follow? I don’t know whether you get in the way of quantity of the seas of what we’re going to be talking about in horticulture. And there’s only one little ego sitting here. Do you know what I’m saying?
Q: Will we take some of the other varieties and hope that they won’t do better in Virginia?
No, they’ve deteriorated to too vast a degree altogether. They’re not worth it. There is a possibility of it, you understand? You must always know that in the whole colossal law of gardening Nature you must never question. You can always reaffirm. Do you understand? There’s no question. That if God says, “The whole revolutionibus will go again around immediately.” You know that it will. Nothing else has any matter and concern. Do you follow? It’s not a belief.
Therefore you could recover any soil that’s been deformed. You can turn any impossible nature into fertility, if you approach it. Do you understand? Though I would say that for us and what we’re going to do, since there are performances over there, it’s obviously given to get on and start anew.
Q: Alan, could you tell more about the plant mignonette?
Oh, Reseda. It’s big, it’s quite a subject. It’s going to be very important to you. It’s one of the most exquisite plants. You will never find a florist in Paris that has not got them for sale, summer or winter. It’s forced in a hothouse all on its own, throughout the winter. Vienna the same.
As a flower, not unlike the Matthiola. It looks a complete mess; it’s not worth looking at- at least not to us exceptional. Bees of course go mad over it, insects generally go to totally mad over it. There is the completely wild Reseda– there are three varieties. One is most articulate in scent, and two of them almost totally inarticulate. In origins. And it is very interesting that out of the horticultural members, this also forcefully performed. That there is only one Reseda which is intense for perfume.
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That when you do not re-prepare that bed, but allow it as all beds should be performed for some time ahead- you get a receptive. Do you understand? You get the right amount of air in and not too much. The weed performance which is begun is ideal to plant into. Because the breathing of those plants is going to breathe to the plants that you’ve put in. And it’s going to fortify it with strength and inducement. Do you follow? And its also going to grow above them in no time planting amongst them. And give that protection from the elements and the changes. And is quickly going to make a coverage.
If you did not use the weeds that would be alright if you wanted to remove them, but then you must sow either a very quick-performing plant, like the mustard or radish. So that when you’ve planted those plants out, you quickly sow or pre-sow even before plucking them out, that radish or mustard, all over the bed. If you plant out into that, you will get an immediate two to three day performance of those seedlings. For the mustard is grown to protect the plant, which you remember is going to take seven or eight days before it gets underway. Do you follow? And therefore the performance of what you might call the weed is only a problem where it’s not wanted. It is going to make that protection which is always relationship and disrelationship in a bed. Do you follow?
Do you see the enormity of having those weeds in the deep bed? Do you see how the performance of those plants is infinitely superior than if you did not have those weeds? But that you must be articulate and remove them at the right time. At that certain weeds are more predictable than others. And that some are givers, and some are takers. Grass is very unsatisfactory. It makes roots that pull the other plants up.