We are the living links in a life force that moves and plays around and through us, binding the deepest soils with the farthest stars.”

~ Alan Chadwick


“It is not the gardener that makes a garden; rather, it is the garden that makes the gardener.”

~ Alan Chadwick


“Filthy, dirty tools and garden implements; filthy disheveled work. Clean and beautifully kept garden tools; clean and beautiful work.”

~ Alan Chadwick


The reason for all of it is simply that I love beauty. I adore beauty and I absolutely detest ugliness. There is also a factor beyond that, though. I’ve been very selfish for much of my life, you see. I have lived for nothing but art, I have lived for beauty…. And I haven’t wanted to teach anyone anything … but the garden – and you must realize that I almost never speak of any one garden but of the concept itself – allowed me to see a way not to be a tutor but, instead, to expose a teaching.

And I’ve found that the students, children and adults, who work with me can come to understand in that way. Instead of my telling them to do this and that – instead of my forcing them to learn names and procedures – I’ve been sometimes able to help them discover secrets. And the garden is all secrets, the whole miracle of the garden is made up of secrets, and I’ve been granted the chance to expose a few others to this incredible ‘thing’ which is in itself, the true teacher. It is, you see – though many people seem to find the idea amusing – the garden that makes the gardener.”

~ Alan Chadwick
Excerpts from Mother Earth News Magazine article Alan Chadwick Is Gone, December, 1980


“If one obeys the horticultural techniques to perfection, those techniques become invisible, and thus, the artistry and craft are all that remain.”

~ Alan Chadwick


“The skin of the earth – soil – must be approached with great delicacy and sensibility. It is alive and contains a spirit. It is so easily bruised and damaged. In some respects, it is even more delicate than the ‘bloom’ on the surface of a plum. Approach it without sensitivity, or at the wrong time, and you will damage it.”

~ Alan Chadwick


“The approach to horticulture, classical, is this huge fact—it is spiritual – and totally spiritual. For life, living, is eternal. There is no time. It was, is and always will be the ‘toys of the nursery’. The arts, the expressions of happiness are temporal and they are playing on the thoughts of the eternal. Then the approach to the garden becomes a very different vision. And it is this: not, ‘there is my home, a piece of land. Now, what am I going to do with it? Uh, let me see now, what am I going to grow?’

No, this is not classical horticulture. This is not a classical approach. You see, we not only belong in totality, in eternity, but also in the temporal exuberance that demands the treasure of our happiness. It demands the passionate pleasure of our pleasure in it.

And the entry into the garden is the first step through the gate wherein an individual inclines in time into his eternal, and enters the gate with a vision of what Nature wants with him. Of what Nature— of birds and animals and insects, and the soil, and the air, and the clouds, and the rain, and the deep, deep soil—enjoy and wish, and request of his exuberance and life within, as a partner. Not as an administrator.  Human beings are merely the directors of the orchestra, not the makers of the music itself, you see. Nature is the music. And so the home and the garden and the farm and the family life, all become totally real and cannot, cannot go awry because the whole of creation, of eternity, of everything in the cornucopia of life, which is endless, is now the river of everything that can and shall be.” 

~ Alan Chadwick


“To take possession of anything is to bind it to oneself. If I cut a tree for wood – select it, fall it, limb it, cut it into lengths, and carry it to the hearth – the warmth I feel in November is very much of my making. If I turn the earth and plant a seed in April, the food I harvest in July is my own in the most direct manner. And yet it isn’t at all – and that is another aspect of taking possession, though it appears contradictory. For though I take food from the ground and eat it, and though I know it to be mine, I also know it as a gift.

Possession in this sense is an act of experience which incorporates acknowledgement of our ultimate dependence — not a holding of title. The food is a gift from the earth and the stars. I make it mine by my labor. One can possess nothing in the absence of an investment of energy. Possession may be nine-tenths of the law, but in the absence of such investment — essentially spiritual — it is nothing.

Any human experience which is deeply satisfying reverberates with spiritual overtones. A culture which denies such manifestations reduces human effort to toil, wisdom to fact, and it attaches value only to what can be counted or measured.”

~ Alan Chadwick


“There is one rule in the Garden above all others. You must give to Nature more than you take. Obey that one law and the Earth will provide for you in glorious abundance.”

~ Alan Chadwick


“Human beings, whether so-called ‘civilized’ or indigenous, are all in truth the children of Nature and not – NOT – masters over her. We must conform all of our activities in Life to certain natural laws that have always exisited – and always will exist forever – if we are to maintain our true role and destiny as stewards of this Holy Earth. When we try to circumvent the laws of Nature, we destroy that which ultimately sustains us. And when this occurs – and is occurring – the total ecology deteriorates rapidly and civilization declines as a result.”

~ Alan Chadwick


“We have lost that essential unity with the soil. The break in this relationship is first indicated in the disregard for spiritual values, and sense of obligation to the creative powers of the universe.”

~ Lindsay Robb
From his essay, Altius, CItius, Longius


“The decline in a true taste for food is the beginning of a decline of a national culture as a whole. When people have lost their authentic personal taste, they have lost their personalities and become instruments of other peoples’ wills.”

~ Robert Graves


“Alan Chadwick’s garden is a ‘garden of the mind’ as much as it is of the soil, and like all genuinely inspired creations, it has the power to stir us to new dreams, to a new vision of what man and Nature can do together.”

~ Page Smith


“Ethics is nothing other than a Reverence For Life. Reverence For Life affords me my fundamental principle of morality, namely, that good consists in maintaining, assisting and enhancing life; and to destroy, to harm or to hinder life is evil.”

~ Albert Schweitzer


“For a humanity turned towards ‘outwardness’ by the very process of modernization, it is not so easy to see that the blight wrought upon the environment is in reality an externalization of the destruction of the inner state of the soul of that very humanity whose actions are responsible for the ecological crisis.”

“Beauty is not a luxury, it is a necessity.”

~ Seyyed Hossein Nasr


“Humanity has no other alternative before it today than either to learn again about the whole web of natural and cosmic connections, or to let both Nature and mankind degenerate and die out. As in the past, it is now imperative that our spiritual knowledge should penetrate to the actual living structure of Nature.”

~ Rudolf Steiner


“Landscape is not appreciated for everything that it is; it has a tremendously broad spread. It is one of the most misunderstood of all the arts, the least understood of anything. [It] should be much better understood, and the field of [its] endeavors should be developed toward conquering the scenes of ugliness and bad taste which America everywhere presents to the eye. It will take centuries to repair the unspeakable damage that has been done by man in his fury to develop land without recognizing the need for good design because he doesn’t know anything about it. It is called simply landscape architecture, not site planning, nor real estate development, rural art or gardening – just landscape architecture, awfully hard to do well and very costly to be without.”

~ William H. Whyte


“On the last day of the world I would still want to plant a tree.”

~ W. S. Merwin


“A nation that destroys its soil destroys itself.”

~ Franklin Delano Roosevelt


“The soil is our external metabolism. It must be free of pesticides and herbicides, or the body cannot heal itself.”

~ Dr. Max Gerson


“The way we see the world shapes the way we treat it. If a mountain is a deity, not a pile of ore; if a river is one of the veins of landscape, not merely potential irrigation water; if a forest is a sacred grove, and not merely timber; if other species are our biological kin, not just resources; or if the planet is our Mother, not just a crass opportunity – then we will treat each other and all Life with greater respect. Thus is the challenge, to look at the world from a different perspective.”

~ David Suzuki


“….man’s management of the land must be primarily oriented towards three goals – health, beauty and permanence. The fourth goal – the only one accepted by the ‘experts’… productivity, will then be attained almost as a by-product.”

~ E. F. Schumacher


“Land health is the capacity for self-renewal in the soils, atmosphere, waters, plants, and animals that collectively comprise the landscape.”

~ Aldo Leopold


“We know more about the movement of the celestial bodies than about the soil underfoot.”

~ Leonardo da Vinci


“I believe in the spade and an acre of good ground. Who so cuts a straight path to his own bread, by the help of the Creator, and the sun, rain and sprouting of grain, seems to me a Universal Workman. He solves the problem of Life, not for one, but for all people.”

“Every spirit builds itself a house; and beyond its house a world; and beyond its world a heaven. Know then, that the world exists for you… build therefore your own world.”

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


“He who knows the most: he who knows what sweets and virtues are in the ground, the waters, the plants, the heavens, and how to come at these enchantments, is the rich and royal man. Only as far as the masters of the world have called in Nature to their aid can they reach the height of magnificence.”

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


“Population must increase rapidly – more rapidly than in former times – and ere long the most valuable of all arts, will be the art of deriving a comfortable subsistence from the smallest area of soil. No community whose every member possesses this art, can ever be the victim of oppression of any of its forms. Such community will be alike independent of crowned-kings, money-kings, and land-kings.”

~ Abraham Lincoln


“It is the pervading law of all things organic and inorganic – made by man; of all things physical and metaphysical, of all things human and super-human, of all true manifestations of the head, of the heart, of the soul … that the Life is recognizable in its expression; that form ever follows function. That is the great law.”

~ Louis Henri Sullivan


“I have carried an apple in my pocket tonight – a Sopsivine they call it – until now that I take my handkerchief out, it has got so fine a fragrance that it really seems like a friendly trick of some daemon to entertain me with. It is redolent of sweet-scented orchards, of innocent, teeming harvests. I realize the existence of a goddess Pomona, and that the gods have really intended that men should feed divinely, like themselves, on their own nectar and ambrosia. They have so painted this fruit, and freighted it with such a fragrance, that it satisfies much more than an animal appetite. Grapes, peaches, berries, nuts, etc., are likewise provided for those who will sit at their sideboard. I have felt, when partaking of this inspiring diet, that my appetite was an indifferent consideration, that eating became a sacrament, a method of communion, an ecstatic exercise, a mingling of bloods, and [a] sitting at the communion table of the world. And so have not only quenched my thirst at the spring, but the health of the universe. The indecent haste and grossness with which our food is swallowed have cast a disgrace on the very act of eating itself. But I do believe that if this process were rightly conducted, its aspects and effects would be wholly changed, and we should receive our daily life and health, Antaeus- like, with an ecstatic delight, and with upright front, an innocent and graceful behavior, that if this process were rightly conducted, this fragrance of the apple in my pocket has, I confess, deterred me from eating of it; I am more effectually fed by it another way.”

~Henry David Thoreau
Journal Entry July 7th, 1845


“In wildness is the preservation of the world.”

“Truth is always paradoxical.“

“It is only when we forget all of our learning that we begin to know.”

“Pursue some Path however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.”

“To be admitted to Nature’s hearth costs nothing. None are excluded but who exclude themselves. You have only to push aside the curtain.”

~ Henry David Thoreau


“Whether people are fully conscious of this or not, they derive countenance and sustenance from the atmosphere of the things they live in or with.“

“Go to the woods and fields for your colour schemes.“

~ Frank Lloyd Wright


“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”

~Arthur Schopenhauer


“Education is not merely the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”

~ W. B. Yeats


“There is something bigger and more worthwhile than the things we see about us, the things we live by and strive for. There is an undiscovered beauty, a divine excellence that lies just beyond us. Let us stand on tiptoe, forgetting the nearer things and grasp what we may.”

~ Bernard Maybeck


“The universe – and this world – is a communion of subjects, not merely a collection of objects.”

~ Thomas Berry


“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.”

~ John Muir


“A real work of art destroys in the consciousness of the receiver, the separation between himself, the artist and the art itself.”

~ Leo Tolstoi


“To see we must forget the name of the thing we are looking at.”

“ I must have flowers, always, and always.”

“I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.”

~ Claude Monet


“The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution.”

~ Paul Cezanne


“Those to whom Nature begins to disclose her revealed mysteries feel an irresistible longing for her worthiest exponent, art.”

~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


“No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did, he would cease to be an artist.”

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” 

~ Oscar Wilde


“What anyone who speaks for art must be prepared to assert is the validity of non-scientific experience and the seriousness of unverifiable insight.”

~ Wallace Stegner


“Beauty will save the world.”

~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky


“For art is only perfect when it looks like nature and nature succeeds only when she conceals latent art.”

~ Longinus, On The Sublime


“The human soul needs actual beauty more than bread alone.”

~ D. H. Lawrence


“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread; places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.”

~ John Muir


“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”

~ Kahlil Gibran


“Life has its crystal days, its rare hours of a stainless beauty, and a joy so pure that we may dare to call the flowers to rejoice with us, and the language of the birds ceases to be an unknown tongue.”

~ M. Cholmondeley


“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mystical. It is the source of all true art and science.”

~ Albert Einstein


“The most noteworthy thing about gardeners is that they are always optimistic, always enterprising, and never satisfied. They always look forward to doing better than they have ever done before.”

~ Vita Sackville-West


“A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; and above all it teaches entire trust in Nature.”

“The love of gardening is a seed that once sown never dies, but grows to the enduring happiness that the love of gardening gives.”

~ Gertrude Jekyll


“Anthropocentric as [gardeners] may be, [they] recognize that they are dependent for their health and survival on many other forms of life, so they are careful to take their interests into account in whatever they do.

[Gardeners] are in fact wilderness advocates of a certain kind. It is when they respect and nurture the wilderness of the soil and plants that their gardens seem to flourish most.

Wildness, they have found, resides not only ‘out there’, but ‘right here’: in the garden’s soil, in the plants, even in themselves….

But wildness is more a quality than a place, and though humans cannot manufacture it, they can nourish and husband it….

The gardener cultivates some wildness, but [he/she] does so carefully and respectfully, in full recognition of its mystery.”

~ Michael Pollan


“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action; and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique.”

~ Martha Graham


“When I heard the learn’d astronomer,

When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,

When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,

When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture room,

How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,

‘Til rising and gliding out I wander’d off by myself,

Into the mystical moist night air, and from time to time,

Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.”

“I believe that a leaf of grass is no less than the

journey-work of the stars.”

“Now I see the secret of making the best person: it is to grow in the open air and eat and sleep with the earth.”

“Give me odorous at sunrise a garden of beautiful flowers where I can walk undisturbed.”

~ Walt Whitman


“…turn him into stars and form a constellation in his image. His face will make the heavens so beautiful that the world will fall in love with the night and forget about the garish sun.” 
William Shakespeare
, Romeo and Juliet


“I beg you to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Do not search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, even without noticing it, live your way into the answers.”

~ Rainer Maria Rilke


“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.“

~ Cicero


“ But tho’ an old man, I am but a young gardener.”

~ Thomas Jefferson


“A living organism has the astonishing gift of concentrating a ‘stream of order’ on itself, thus escaping the decay into atomic chaos.”

~ Erwin Schrödinger


“It is the anomalies in nature that reveal the principles of life.”

~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


“The bad thing is that thinking about thought doesn’t help at all; one has to have it from Nature so that the good ideas appear before us like free children of God calling to us: ‚Here we are.’ „

“In Nature we never see anything isolated, but everything in connection with something else which is before it, beside it, under it and over it.“

“People should talk less and draw more. Personally, I would like to renounce speech altogether and, like organic Nature, communicate everything I have to say visually.“

~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


“Thinking is more interesting than knowing, but less interesting than looking.“

“To live in the idea (Idee’) is to treat the impossible as if it were possible.”

“With light, poise and counterpoise, Nature oscillates within her prescribed limits, yet thus arise all the varieties  and conditions of the phenomena which are presented to us in space and time.”

When a man eats the fruits of more favored climes, he is for the moment transported thither, and imagination heightens enjoyment.”

“No productiveness of the highest kind, no remarkable discovery, no great thought which bears fruit and has results, is in the power of any one; but such things are elevated above all earthly control.

~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe