In the garden, in the procedure of the garden generally, do not underestimate the use of chalk turned into live lime, basic slag, and agricultural lime, as it is called. Do not underestimate these. They are prepared in such a way that they are either virulent, semi-virulent, operative, or gentle—as you understand those three procedures. You must always, always keep these limes on hand. They are most important in your shed. And you should keep manipulations like buckets, brushes, adherers and so on, at hand for that purpose only and keep them clean. Thereby they will be operative for you.
Now whenever you’ve got posts, whenever you’ve got sheds, potting sheds, and wherever there is growth concerning plants in particular, the use of this lime is a little bit more than one comprehends. It has reflection to the light, just as the plants have. And it throws this off. That is why in a glass house, you use white paint. At one time the use of white lime, adhered, was much more preferable to the actual paint. And therefore, wooden frames, brick frames inside, should be washed with lime regularly. Now that lime is also a very decided disinfectant, and keeps the whole thing clean, and the light reflected and bright, and all the plants refer to it. It also creates atmosphere.
That’s why you see, on the stems of fruit trees, that little ring of lime sometimes. That is to prevent the fall insects from climbing back up the stems. They don’t appreciate it at all. And so, one cannot sufficiently point to keeping lime on hand and to its usages. Now it is very misappropriated also. People are inclined to accept the ministry’s sophisticated tabula, that you spread so many pounds per square foot of lime on the ground to sweeten it. That is not a good policy. You should only use the limes when they have become necessary and where you have calciums in the soils, that is quite rare.
You must also be wary that there is a whole collection of plants that are destroyable by the use of lime—the Castanea, the chestnut, does not like any calciums at all. It can stand a certain amount of natural calcium in the soil, but it doesn’t take lime. Neither, of course, do any of the broad leaves such as the rhododendron, the azaleas, the magnolias, the camellias, and all that family dislike calciums. So never get lime onto those, nor dress them with lime, of course. But, for instance, in particular, in your spinach beds, your salad beds, lettuce, and peas to some degree, and, of course, clover is a kind of self-creator of lime. Wherever you put lime, clover will come up automatically. Therefore I point towards the usage of this in the garden and it must not be overlooked.
Live lime, as it’s called, is obtainable, is very cheap normally, and you may make it in to a creamy paste, or a thick paste, or a considerable liquid. And that that is done by firing in a kiln, and it therefore boils when you put water on it. Now this is also the basis of making first-class plaster.
Likewise, to keep your plants and matters clean, the use of Fels-Naphtha, or any very, very natural soap. Be careful of some of those, because they are difficult to mix and must go through a strainer. But the use of soap on many plants, they appreciate it. And, for instance, if you want nicotine, nicotine sulfate to adhere so as to last for a long period on the plants, mix that with a certain quantity of this soap and you will have a synergist to hold it, which is better than using some of the oil sprays. Therefore, nicotine sulfate or black leaf forty, or make your own nicotine, of course, from the Nictotiana, and the soap, and the lime are three matters that I point to, to keep always in your shed.
And keep all your appurtenances separate. Don’t get them mumbo jumbo, and keep them clean so they’re always ready for use. And your sprayers, when you use your spray with your soap and your nicotine, always wash it out the moment you’ve finished with it, and hang it up well and carefully to drain and dry. You will find that the plants respond—that roses and other plants actually like the spray of nicotine and a certain amount of soap to keep them clean. Insects dirty them and they can’t breathe so well. After the spray, they breathe and they appreciate it. And you will see the difference.
I want to remind you in your thinking, that when you come to realize that all cooking, all forms of heating, what we call ‘artificial lighting’, are artifice. And that, of course, they come from the energy, the cosmic energy of the Sun and the planets. Likewise, you must think in the area of color. That all paint, dye of fabrics, coloring of buildings, is all an artifice and that it is true color that you will find in plants, flowers and trees, which relates to the origin of heat. Do you follow that? Good.
Now regarding moisture, which is one of your big items here. You must go, in this moisture, to keep what you would call an even balance. Do you realize that when you pick a crop of strawberries, when you pick your raspberries, when you cut your cut flowers, that is the time, if you need to, to apply irrigation, water. Now at all times, try to keep that as even as possible, remembering always that you apply water, that it shall become dry. And you beg for it to become dry, that you can apply water. This is this huge zest for change. Always sweet into acid, into acid, into sweet—life into death into life into death into life. Do you understand? You cannot look deeply enough into the laws behind that.
Now you must also balance that flow of evenness and the amount of moistures, with the period of the cycles. There is the period where you want to run on a dry, even keel and the period of moist, even keels. In other words, your two equinoxes are the moist, even keels and the two dries relate to summer and winter. You see, what is called the perfect climate—is it not?—is the dry, warm winter and the moist, cool summer. They are the perfect climates. And to a certain degree, you are blessed with something of that here (northern California), but a lack of clear sunshine.
Also there is a great matter here to look into, that the whole plant world, that is the four Archangels of the seasons, are the absolute obedience to their performance, of their performance. Do not imagine that you can interfere with that. In this I relate that there are all the plants that must be in the inclination with the periods of shortages of Sun. You understand this opening out of the inclination, that little of it begins until it’s halfway through. That amount of energy is what those plants are waiting for, what that obedience is waiting to fulfill. And then you come into the dormancy of summer and they require that full flow, that absolute exhaustion. It’s nothing to a sunflower to have the whole twelve hours of energy. They like it. And then, you see, the things like the potato don’t begin to respond until the declination is on, and they’re aware of this slowing down to produce their tubers, as indeed, the Helianthus tuberosus (Jerusalem artichoke) doesn’t begin to produce those tubers until after the flower has formed and then they suddenly perform.
And that likewise, those plants like the Michaelmas daisy, the chrysanthemum: they all don’t begin to turn on the blossoming tap until the light is more than halfway closed down, and is closing down, not opening out. This is why I advised you to hold your chrysanthemums, do you remember? And that is the basis behind that technical procedure.
Therefore you must understand that the plants are in obedience to that, the four cycles, completely, in comparison to local climatic. Local climatic will have all its effects, but whatever effects that has, it will not have an effect upon that period when that plant is in obedience to that cycle. Do you follow? This you must look at carefully, otherwise you will trip yourself up on trying to produce things when you can’t.
Q: Better to let it go by. Better to let it go by than to try to do it out of time.
Well yes, it is malignant to do so. Not a question of better to let it go by exactly, but to learn to behave, to it. To be a gardener, obeying the garden.
Therefore in this manner you will come to understand color flow—careful color flow, flavor and scent—in this astonishing way in which they come and vanish. Take this Nicotiana affinis, the way in which it comes, as this flower does in this vase. At the moment there is no scent from that flower at all. And yet tonight, in this room, without taking it elsewhere, the scent will flow out of that. And before the dawn just comes, it will go with it. Now you see, you can’t work this out in the mind in words.
And that you realize that the color in all of this does come and go? Did you not? Yes, it is not a static.
If you look, color is connected entirely with flow of energy. And if you will look at any object, if you will look at a leaf, would you not find the majority of the leaf, until a certain period of the day, is major shadow? You can’t see color. It is a tone. There’s no color. And that on the opposite side of that, there is what you call highlight, that is not a color, it’s a tone. It is a whitish blue. It is not a color. Between that light and that shadow is a small area of color. That area of color is changing its position every moment of the planetary change during the day, which is all the time. Therefore at dawn, you see no color, but there is plenty of tone. At the equinox, color comes to its full. Agreed? And at the zenith of noon, color is overwhelmed. Agreed? Then that comes, the equinox of evening, evening out, where all of that color melts together and becomes tone again. This is what Corot saw so much in painting. Camille Corot. His paintings are beautiful. He was one of the only people who could paint evening light and tonality. But you can’t find color. It is a vagary and is the perfect complete evening out of amalgamation of what we are talking about: color suffused.
Q: Somehow I did not imagine that that subtlety in light came so much from the flower. I had somehow the idea that it had more to do with what the light was, rather than what the flower…
Well, what I am really getting at is that it is the play between the two. And it is this that causes the herbs that we use to have their various times of day at which they are pertinent to collect, and then, certain times of the year. You see, everything amalgamates. That we talk about the four seasons of the year—spring, summer, autumn and winter—birth, dawn, opening out, dormancy, going eventide to rest—you have it in the year and you have it just the same in the day. The dawn comes and the equinox comes after the dawn of that perfect amalgamation, when birth flows into everything. In other words, love again is born. And then love goes to sleep in the evening. Do you follow? How many people look out of the window and say in the early morning, “Oh, oh, isn’t this delicious? How I love the dawn. Sniff.” And this freshness, you know. And there are others who are still asleep in bed at that time. And they, later on, in the late afternoon, before it’s dark, get up and say, “Oh, the peace of this. How I love the evening time.” And you see they are related at that time by their horoscopic, so to speak.
Therefore, you must perceive also, this matter of going away from something and smelling.
Now mignonette, we must make a note of that. Mignonette, I feel, might go down on your list of moneymakers. We’re going to talk about this more, and I hope you will bring it up, because that’s the way we’re going to come to it.
You see, it is very extravagant. Most people think of all herbs as either being culinary, or magic, or strewing herbs. And they can’t believe that there are periods of the day when they are impotent, when they literally don’t flow. Now if you’ll know the plant mignonette, you know its exorbitantly fragile and exquisite scent. And yet you will take somebody to it, nincompoop that you are, and say, “Smell.” And they will say, “Well, I can’t smell anything.” And you will go and smell it and say, “Well, neither can I.” Do you follow? And you look an awful mugwump. The point is that this plant is under its governance. You see, we still can’t clearly comprehend that the planetary influence is either drawing it or filling it—this thing of, into the plant, into the soil; or out through the ego of the soil into the atmosphere. Do you follow? So I wanted you to begin to focus upon that so as to comprehend when we go more into the herbs, how one must discover the forces that rule them. So in relationship to the color flow, flavor flow, and scent flow, you must think of dawn and sunset, spring and autumn, acid into sugar: and that revolutionibus is the guiding hand of that. Do you follow?
And, of course, that leads you to the words ‘dark’ and ‘light’. When you have seedlings in boxes, and you get suddenly a quite serious damping off, or damping off is prevalent in certain seedling boxes, as it often is, here is a method that you can use, which very much governs this. Either leave when you plant or sow, or if not, take away a little area of the such plants, put them elsewhere, and place on the soil—you would probably in an ordinary seed box use two little flowerpots, if you like—a tin with a very small hole in it, with crocks or something in the bottom, and you place that just on, or just within the box, as it were, a part of the plants. Then you can half fill that, or fill it, or a third fill it with water, and that will permeate below and not wet the surface. Thereby you keep the crown présentements of the little seedlings dry. One of the great things which the horticulturists talk about is, “Don’t let them go to bed with wet feet.” You understand? And that method of using the little pots puts the water below, and not on, the surface. Do you follow?
For I am thinking so frequently of your business, you know, and what you are speaking of. And when I say business, I mean giving these beautiful things to the public which they haven’t got, and through the means that you can give them. You see if you take those sweet peas and the flower, the annual Gypsophila (baby’s-breath). Now the Gypsophila is quite difficult to grow. In actual fact, it is easy to grow in the bed, but it is rather difficult to handle and is difficult to keep up and takes a considerable amount of artistry.
Now, at Santa Cruz when I grew it, which of course I did from the first year on, not only did the public pour up from Santa Cruz to steal it and collect it from the flower store, but immediately as they did, the florists all complained to the chancellor that their business was going. So I suppose the chancellor did say to them, “Why don’t you sell it?” They said, “Well we can’t get it. Nobody grows it.” And then they said, could they come and buy it from us? And the chancellor said, “Here’s your chance Chadwick.” And I said, “No, chancellor, we are not selling here, as you know.” And so we didn’t, although it did cause trouble.
But what I am pointing at is that there are many such beautiful things that are not grown, and not handled because they require delicate technique. It is like the growing and picking of berries today. There just aren’t any, for that reason. As we said only the other day, raspberries in the Mill Valley market are three dollars for a quarter of a pound. Well, you’re not about to sell your coat and buy betony. I don’t know what you would have to sell to buy raspberries. Therefore I recommend you, that if you grew, for instance, particularly Gypsophila. Now this plant, you pick it by the spray. It’s extremely easy to grow. You can sow it every month. You can have it, actually, from March onwards, right up until Christmas. And then there’s the cessation of three months, which is not very much.
Now all of those sweet peas, if they were set off with this Gypsophila, are enhanced at least three times. It is astonishing what this flower does. And you can even put it with those clumsy old calendulas, even to the extent of marigolds, and it will make them very fey, very beautiful. Therefore, people will get to know this. I assure you in Santa Cruz, they simply poured up—the residents—and stole it, regardless of what anybody said. They just went and snatched it, and asked for it over and over and over again. And all the students learned to love it and put it with their flowers. In other words, there’s very little that you can’t use it with. It enhances, it is a synergist to all the others.
And also, likewise, the sweet pea, I don’t know wherever you can see to buy sweet peas today. I know down there, one couldn’t get them. In fact, I don’t think anywhere.
Q: They’re on the tables of the restaurant this week. And I visited on Friday. Coming in the door, I smelled them. The Sun was pouring in the window on the flowers.
Likewise I am recommending you get plenty of seed of the Iris kaempferi and the Iris higo (Japanese irises). They are terribly easy to grow, will grow superbly here. Within a year, you could have any quantity you want that you could dispose of, any quantity, of exorbitant beauty. You never see them in people’s houses. You never see them for sale, and are, also, one of those flowers which are exceptional, in the fact that you can have five and six foot stems—four, five, six foot stems—very tall flowers. And you can imagine those, for instance, enhanced with large sprays of Gypsophila, and of course, probably with delphiniums. Also, as just occurred to me, and I had thought of it previously and put it on the list, mignonette. You see, for scent, little bouquets of mignonette. People would get so used to giving them as little, tiny gifts. And perhaps it’s the small moneymakers that make the big money—little tiny bouquets of mignonette that cost next to nothing. And there you would probably sell plenty.
I want you to think, from a point of view of compost, of this very extraordinary matter concerning seed. Seed, because of it containing the utmost energy, the utmost idée and the least metamorphosis, is, of course, what you might call the very essence of life force. And that you will find that if you make compost heaps of seed, for instance of grape pips, of cereal, that is of any seed, you will find a huge growth outcome that you can’t understand, and it is no good trying to. The point is that here you’ve got almost what, but in a natural way, what they are trying to do in making pills out of all the vitamins. And therefore, apply your visionary thinking to what goes on in Nature.
How many poppies can one poppy make? There is a statistic on it which I gave; you don’t happen to remember it, I suppose? No. It’s not a simple one. It’s something like half a million. It’s quite incredible. Now, do you ever see those plants the next year? That quantity? What would happen? What does happen is this: that of course, they vary under their dominance as to their capacity of germination; a huge quantity of the life force of the seeds that do germinate. So you see again this application of relationship. Now many of them are too deep, many of them are too shallow. And it is only that little area in the skin of the Earth that is just the germination quantity, which is probably one-and-one-half percent of the total. The others are liable to sit there for a hundred years in some cases. Clover does that, poppy does it. I believe poppy does, but clover certainly does. Some of them can re-germinate after a hundred years. In other words, you dig them up, and they come up near the surface and they will germinate. Therefore, I want you to think in your ley growing of when you want intense performance of soil, use seed humus. Do you follow? Even the shells of the seeds contain more than the average compost humus. Do you follow? That requires quite a considerable amount of consideration thinking about.
So, I want to go on to your herbs. Can I? In the mints, the mints are all coolers, you understand, moisture lovers. Now, where do you buy, little bundle for the soup, a bouquet garni? Where can you buy a bouquet of mint? With potatoes, with peas, with broad beans, with many dishes, mint is incredible. Here is the ideal place for growing mint. This is the very sort of valley and land that it loves, and will grow voluminously. Here is a market produce again. And again I recommend it heartily to your kitchen. The mints, the principle mints for the culinary, are Mentha viridis (spearmint), rotundifolia (false apple-mint), and pulegium (pennyroyal). Those three are the culinary mints. Then there are the other mints for the other purposes. And, of course, there are certain mints that are huge controllers. They will control mice. With pulegium, no mice will go. And I have an idea that this must have an effect on, of course, voles, on gophers even, and you know how they travel by root, so it might be an excellent thing to get underway. Terribly easy to grow. But, you want to look up your right varieties and what they look like. So I’ve got several pages here with reference to what they look like: what the leaves are, what the blossomings are, the color, when the blossoms come, and how they form, so you can’t mistake them. Keep them in their different patches for that reason, for they inter-spread.
I don’t know how much I dealt with you before about one of the most valuable of kitchen herbs: saffron. The best saffron in Europe was at one time actually grown in England, around London. And that is why you get the numerous places called Saffron Walden and such places, because of the huge business that occurred in growing the crocus, which produces the saffron. You see the Spanish saffron is not saffron at all. It’s not a crocus. It is one of the Helios. The other saffron comes from Tibet and such places and, as you know, requires hundreds of thousands of blossoms to produce one little iota of dried saffron. The Colchicum is not the creator of saffron and many people will imagine that it is and, of course, it is not. Because it’s also known as meadow saffron, the Colchicum, and it is not. That blooms in September and in October, and it is medicinal, highly medicinal.
The saffron comes from the Crocus sativus and only from the Crocus sativus. This can always be told, discriminated, by the tongue of the crocus, it comes up through the blossom and turns over and hangs down the side, like a tongue out of a goblet. No other crocus does this and they call that word polyploidy. It comes in the Song of Solomon. It’s most enormously aromatic, carminative, and is a herb of the Sun, under Leo. It’s therefore a huge strengthener of the heart.
Do not ever think of more than ten grains. Don’t be tied to that, but it is a statement. For the Sun, which is the fountain of light, may dazzle the eyes and make them blind1. It can bring on headache, debility and the numerous dangers of aroma—blindness and delirium. Can do, when overused. In other words, the tiniest quantity is the ideal and anything above that becomes very destructive. It is used for coloring. It has intense color. It is used for perfume. And it is used with syrup of rose, with saffron and apple, to produce gentle and wonderful sleep, an excellent producer of wonderful sleep.
A cordial, being taken in any inordinate quantity, hurts the heart instead of healing it. Then to remember that it has narcotic properties and it will blister the skin. It can bring headache, delirium and blindness. And to remain in a room where it is drying for dyeing, it can bring on debility and even apoplexy, because of the vapor. In Asia it is known as za’faran and it will be in the Song of Solomon, because it was always considered a valuable product. Apicius’2 Juscellum (Latin), Juselle (Saxon) was eggs, bread, saffron and sage.
There is a period, of course, at which that tongue falls and it is that perianth that gives the area that is used for saffron, it is that little tongue. And is collected at that time, when it is ripe, has to be very carefully dried and then stored dry. As you know, its price is inimitable. Well, if you didn’t think of a trade procedure, you probably can’t afford to use it in your cooking because of the cost. But why not grow it? It will grow here if it grows outside London, as it did so volubly. I would recommend it from both points of view, and certainly, perhaps among the Christmas sale gifts. It could go in a very attractive little container, couldn’t it?
Now the next one, which is a very fascinating herb, the Ocimum basilicum, sweet basil, belongs to the mint family and must be looked upon as an annual. It comes from India. Highly aromatic. Behind its whole growing—and this plant is an argument—the intense argument of poison and medicine. And for that reason it was frequently looked upon as not for internal use at all. Let’s look at it and see why. It’s been used in cooking throughout. It’s been used in perfumery
throughout. It’s excellent for wasp stings, by the way. And yet, it is said, by even smelling it you can create a scorpion in the brain. Alright? It is an enemy of rue and they will not grow together. Ruta (rue) is as great an enemy to poison as any that grows. Now you must put these two by two, do you see? You have got to do an addition here between medicine and poison. The seed, ground to powder, is the most aromatic for cosmetics. For medicinal use: dry or fresh. For dry, gather in July, preferably, the government of it. An infusion of the green herb in boiling water is good for all obstructions of the internal organs, and to arrest vomiting and nausea, and the seed an excellent cure for warts. Now this argument about its use and values; if you read Pliny, Dioscorides, this one will say this and that one will say that. And now they have all reverted to the same answer on the matter. It’s duplication.
The basilica was a building, an architectural building, which was manifold. In other words, it was for religious and spiritual approach, and likewise it was for human justice, law and those other things of human kind, which are, as it were, the very opposite to spiritual vision; and that if you go back you will find the translation of the word ‘basilica’ means exactly royal or splendid; and that the word basilicum meant robe, and the basilicum was a royal robe. And yet, in the whole of mythology, that word becomes bashilik, which is the Russian, and that means a serpent, and even is a translation of the Medusa.
Now, that serpent, basilisk, is beyond all other snakes, all other kings of serpents, and does not go by the wreathing of the coils, but travels upright. And nothing can face it. To look upon it is death. And here enters the one attacker, the most extraordinary of all, as it would be, the weasel. The weasel attacks basilisk on sight and cannot gain or win in that form at all. And after having made battle, must go and to eat that one herb we spoke of that is the opposer of all poison, Ruta.
So the weasel eats rue and goes to attack, and has the power, the only one to have the power to overcome basilisk. In other words, the weasel is ermine, the same sort of animal. And therefore it was that the robe of basilicum, was always edged with ermine. Do you see? All these things put together begin to bring us out of ‘wordism’, into what these formations are.
Now the story of basilisk, as you probably know, is part of a very well-known mythology. That the usual thing takes place—the son of a king, the prince, sets out to travel the world and to find a princess and eventually he comes to this court where the king is, and the ideal princess, for him, is. And he asks for her hand. After the conclave of the matter, the princess is given to the prince, and they marry. And everything is perfect and happy. After a short while, the princess’ father, the king, comes to the prince and says, “We have to go away to one of our country homes to attend to matters and we will leave you here in the palace and there are the keys of the hundred rooms. We will return in so many days.” And then he says, quite nonchalantly, in handing the keys, that there is one quite different key to all the others. And he says, “Use them all, enjoy them, the whole ninety-nine, but that one, the hundredth one, you can’t mistake it, never open. Don’t open, you understand? Absolutely don’t.”
So the prince says, “Of course.” Away they go and the prince remains. Every day he opens door after door, all the delights of the world, endlessly.
The day before the return of the king and the princess, he has opened ninety-nine doors and there is the hundredth. And then it strikes him: after all, there is such a thing as nobility and glamour. Was the king testing him for his nervous ability? Was he testing him for fear? And then he builds this as an excuse and, as in all such cases, or so many cases, makes up his mind. He puts the key in the door, unlocks it, and throws it open.
And then if you will go back to what I said, that basilisk is the whole Medusa of the world, that you can’t look upon it, you are dead. The prince has no power. He is sterilized, whatever you like to call it. And here is this thing chained by every metal in the world to the floor in the middle. It has no hair. Its eyes are fire. The whole thing is descriptive of a furnace: molten and seething. And he says to the prince, “Goblet of water from the fountain.” And the prince hasn’t any power. He goes to the fountain and brings the goblet of water. And he says, “Another.” And then he says, “A third.” And the moment he drinks the third, there is this noise of the most colossal thunderstorm, the bursting of chains, spreads his wings, and basilisk flies through the door and at that time picks up the princess who is returning and carries her away into the sky. And there they are left.
The king returns and the irate scene follows. And what can the prince do? Well, like the whole story of Psyche now, there is only one Saturea for him, one savior for him, and that is all of the Nature of which he has brought about in his youth, with the world, with all the animals and birds. And so, the bird that he saved gives him a feather. And the fish that he helped gives him a scale. And as each occasion when he comes up and meets basilisk, which is in everything, the moment he meets basilisk, he uses one of these to assist him. And basilisk has to change continually from one form to all the others, one after the other.
And so he is chased over the mountains, over the oceans, into the oceans, into the sky, and eventually comes down to the last little thing left in the world, when he is assisted. And suddenly the egg in the duck, so to speak, is stabbed and there is the princess returned. That is the only way in which she can come back. Did you follow? That is something of the story of basilisk. And therefore, this then is the background of this herb, which obviously, as you must notice, is very potent. It’s, in its double entendre, duplicate in everything. You probably are aware of it, that you sense in its very smell this danger. So I relate to you that story because it has a huge inference on so many of the herbs. Would you like to talk about it?
Q: There is a fever associated with this herb. People must have it; they crave it. And we are always constantly being asked to provide it, and the tomato both. That combination has a power that can’t be denied. People are always wanting it.
Yes, culinarily it has more effect with the tomato dish than anything. Again it should be used with great discretion. If used up to that discretion, is exquisite. But beyond it, of course, like the saffron, does the opposite.
Q: Alan, could you explain to me why, at Santa Cruz, you didn’t sell things?
Yes. The whole approach of the university: you understand that I was taken away from ordinary education at an early age and went under tutors. That had a huge effect upon my view of life and what I followed. And that, until I came to Santa Cruz through Freya (Countess Freya von Moltke) and met Paul Lee, Page (Smith), and then introduced to the chancellor, I was not in any way of fey with university life. I had always looked upon it as being the pillars that held up the temple of education, and truly believed that there was fact in that. But I came to discover that certainly the majority were there for a living and that they were all hunting for salaries. In fact there was nothing but a huge argument for salaries, and that the corruption of the whole university as regards money was absolutely deplorable.
Anything that I wanted for the garden had to go through the management, and they took about one hundred percent into their pockets out of everything. For instance, the chancellor gave us money, a thousand dollars, for a glass house. And it had to go through the management of the university and they just took half of it straight away. And then he appropriated to us one of the chalets, which had been in the fields, which the students used to live in, in the early stage. And they charged more than the value of the chalet, to put into their pocket, just to bring it to the garden. Those things all put together, I came to realize that education in itself was, of course, a religious matter and it could not be paid for, on the basis of a salary, or fought for on a salary basis. Likewise, the whole object of my work in the garden and the bringing about of a garden is the opposite to commercialism. It cannot survive upon commercialism being its flow. It can be the other way about, of course, but it cannot be commercialism behind its performance.
And therefore, since the students needed this reformation and since they were pouring into the garden to the tune of over one thousand working, on and off, little tiny spells, it was very adamant that at no time should there be any mis-education: only education which concerned truth. That’s a huge statement, of course. And for that reason, any basis of money concerned with the selling of the produce, undid the purpose of what their garden was about.
And so the chancellor said, “Well you shall have a box in which people can put the money, where they collect the flowers and vegetables.” But no, we did not find that that filled the picture. We were also, as all the students and their president, were very considerably discriminative about where the money came from to support the garden. Now I ran that garden all the time I was there, the actual garden, on two thousand a year. And I gave back out of that always a small sum, up to the tune of two hundred, left over from the year. And, of course, the management pounced on
that and stole it every time. But the purpose of this was to bring about the attitude of propagative profit and not selling the Archangel’s gifts and turning it into self-possession. That is the key to my answer to your question. Is that clear enough?
You see, in the long run, what can we do, or do we do, other than share? For if you pay for it, you are not altering the sharing. Where does it come from? This is why I wanted to tell you the tale of the gazelle, a gazelle. Where does it all come from? Can you possibly put any sort of valuation, any relative valuation on it at all? You can’t. Whatever you do, you share it. So it’s only a falsity. And when you look at the calumny that has come out of that selling, do you see the whole of the agricultural attitude has destroyed the continent of America. And if you are going to solve that, it’s got to be a miracle. And that miracle, as far as I can see, can only take place by coming to be aware of where it all comes from: the essence of creation.
As the sutra we said over and over this morning, “Don’t try to figure it out, trust the immeasurable.”
Yes, absolutely. What a huge statement. Enough there to chew on for a hundred years, isn’t there? Well, other than the herb connection, which is the idea to set in motion of our thinking, to approach the different herbs more clearly, we need to go very carefully and gently and to come to the comprehensions of how, before we take a schoolroom statistic attitude, that this herb does this and that herb does that, we must comprehend the laws behind it. Agreed? Now we can begin to take herbs more and view them.
Q: We made a trip to Santa Cruz to see your gardens, at Santa Cruz, at the university, and it’s clear that the gardens were on quite steep hillsides, both of them. And there was a great deal of stonework with them, and pathways that worked beautifully with them. I was interested in seeing the beds at the Santa Cruz garden, placed so steeply running uphill and the little raised stonewalls at the foot of them. I didn’t exactly understand why they were laid out that way, or what kept them from running down the hill in a big rain. That was one question I had. I noticed that at the foot of our own valley, there’s a huge heather-growing operation and the plants run in rows—I guess they’re in rows—up and down the hill. They don’t run sideways across the hill. And one answer to that I heard was to run machines up and down the hill. Well I know that’s certainly not why the Santa Cruz are placed at that angle. That’s one question I had; and the question again about elevation.
It is rather funny that when you mention that slope at Santa Cruz, that when the chancellor, who didn’t realize what was going to happen at all, but when, after I had begun, when all the university had packed and gone; they hadn’t been gone long, of course, but they were gone, and there I was left with a poison oak hill. Not a weed on it. And I started digging, you see, with a pickaxe and spade. It bounced off and hit me on the head, at four o’clock in the morning even with an overcoat on in July. The chancellor happened to come along and we got talking and he said, “Well I am definitely going to solve this immediately. I can’t have this going on, and so, we’ve got the very thing down on the campus. It is there right now, it is just here for a job.” And this was a—it might have been six hundred ton for all I know—tractor. It had a tooth as big as this room. So he said, “I am sending it up and in three runs the whole thing will be plowed.” I said, “Heaven help!” I said, “Please don’t do that.” “Well,” he said, “That is what I see and I assure you it will do the trick.” He was being very kind, you know, really wanting to help. And he sent this thing up. It did half a run and fell over on its side. And then they couldn’t do anything with it and they had an awful job to get it up, like Humpty Dumpty. The man was so irate, he took it away again, of course, at once. And there we were back in the same position, an amusing little story about that.
Of course, you do realize that I went there without any position at all. The chancellor said, “We have all agreed, for some curious reason that we can’t put our finger on, that we want this garden.” I said, “Good, that is fine.” He said, “The point is that this is not a horticultural school, there are no diplomas and there is no allocation of money, nor any kind of source from which we could make a branch to bring it.” In the meantime, the work was going on. I had little possessions. I’d left quite a few things in my visit to New Zealand and Australia and I sold those up and got money from that point of view. Then I had to go and see the vice-president, who was the receptionist at the university. And he said, “Well we have been talking with the chancellor about this.” And this is entirely secret. Can you switch off? (Tape recorder switched off here.)
(Recorder turned back on for new topic.) I suppose one of the answers to that is: of course, why not? It sounds ideal, could work perfectly. Obviously, buildings would be far better on elevations than in the valley and the growing proposition also excellent. It’s a question of your focus and your labor. It would appear to me to be one or the other. That is something which you and the management of your place here must know well what you’ve got to do, as regards family buildings, if those are required. And that’s where they can go. Surely that must be the emphasis of the decision. But if you want to make supply from your garden, and supply your restaurant, supply your entire family here, the clientele, and also to do business, well you must have a force in the garden. Is that not so? So those are decisions which can only come out of the planning of your management.
I mentioned to you, did I not, about the thinking of the Arctium lappa (burdock). You probably know it. It is the great burr. All one thinks of here, when there is any trouble, is you either get a trap, a poison bait, or whatever the shop sells. Here you have gone into this thing of commerce. The only thing the mind can do is, “What do I buy?” Not, “What do I invent?” Not,
“What do I study in Nature to give me the answer?” but, “What do I go to a shop and buy?” Do you follow? Now I have found, and it is one of the things that the garden at Santa Cruz and other places brought into play, dusting, dusting with ash of numerous plants, particularly lavender. And the flow of seed from Sonchus (sow thistle). It is so voluminous throughout the summer that it will flummox insects, grasshoppers and things. It will smother them, in other words. Now there are obviously areas of land in which things grow which the gopher doesn’t enjoy at all. And it travels in a tunnel. It lives underground in that tunnel and it fits the tunnel very tight.
Arctium lappa is the great burr. It grows about six feet high, has a huge, tough leaf, looking a little bit like rhubarb, and it looks like a thistle. And it then blossoms and produces huge bundles and bunches of seed in cones. Now any cow, and human being, anything, that walks amongst this
is absolutely smothered in it forever. You will never get it out of a cloth, never. It gets woven in and stays there and clings. Do you follow? You know it? Now if you put Arctium lappa then, in bundles of those heads, you can grow it, can’t you? Any amount of it. Put that in those tunnels and gradually, at least make areas of safety. Drive the gopher out. And then build your roadways, put down all that stuff and keep them out. Do you follow? Let us look to the performances that are in Nature, at hand, rather than going and buying things to cure everything. Agreed?
Have we got other things to discuss? Is there time?