Alan Chadwick a Gardener of Souls

Alan Chadwick Biography


While this entire website could be considered a multimedia biography of Alan Chadwick, this page, in particular, serves as an index to that overall biographical treatment. The chronology below lists some of the important events in Alan's life, along with the relevant dates. The notes that follow provide information about the sources of information that we used to date these events, and they also provide links to video clips, audio recordings, photographs, and text that relate to the particular biographical event under consideration.


A Chronology of the Life of Alan Chadwick



Description of Event


July 27, 1909

Alan Chadwick's birth at St. Leonard's-on-the-Sea in southern England. (1)


As a four-year-old child, Alan accompanies his German governess to see a performance of Maetterlink's play, "The Blue Bird." This marks a turning point in his life, Alan said, for he was suddenly awakened to the magic of the theater. (2)


Alan, at 14 years of age, spends a summer in Germany working on a farm that is based upon the agricultural indications of Rudolf Steiner. (3)


At age 16, Alan begins an apprenticeship at the Hughes Glasshouse Nurseries in Dorset, under Emil Hartmann. The specialties of this firm were: carnations, chrysanthemums, tomatoes and lettuce. (4)


Alan studies the Lorette system of pruning fruit trees at St. Cloud in France. (4)


Apprenticeship at Haskins Flower Nurseries and Glasshouses in Dorset, England. (4)


Alan, then 21 years old, studies the art of theatre at the drama school of Elsie Fogerty in London. Embarks on a theatrical career. (5)


Alan performs with the Hull repertory company in London, with German bombs falling all around the theater every night. (4)

During World War II

Alan becomes the captain of a mine sweeper. His ship is sunk by a Japanese submarine, and he spends the duration of the war in India. (6)

After World War II

Convalescence from Injuries suffered during the war. Work in various Repertory Theatre Groups (7)


Disillusioned with English society, Alan relocates to South Africa in order to work in a traveling drama troupe called "National Theatre." (8)

ca. 1952

Alan takes on the management of the Admiralty Gardens in Simon's Town, South Africa. (9)


Creates his first major estate garden at Wynberg Hill, South Africa. (4)


Leaving South Africa because of the abuses of apartheid, Alan moves to the Bahamas and works on several estate gardens. (10)


Alan moves to the USA because he was inspired by the election of President Kennedy and believed it to be the beginning of a more enlightened era for the United States. He creates two extensive estate gardens on Long Island, New York. (11)

March 1, 1967

Alan arrives in Santa Cruz and initiates the UCSC Garden Project at the request of Paul Lee, on the recommendation of the Countess Freya von Moltke. (12)

February 1972

Alan leaves Santa Cruz and begins work at the Green Gulch Zen Center property. (13)

May 1972

Alan Chadwick delivers a series of four lectures at the Villa Montalvo in Saratoga, California. (13)

Fall, 1972

Alan sends Greg Haynes to begin the Saratoga Community Garden Project. (14)

February, 1973

Alan leaves Green Gulch and moves to Saratoga. (15)

May, 1973

Alan leaves Saratoga and moves to Covelo to begin a new garden project at the invitation of Richard Wilson. (16)

August 22, 1974

Alan is visited by California governor Ronald Reagan at the Covelo Garden Project. (17)

August 1978

Alan leaves Covelo and lives briefly in Sonoma, California, while negotiations proceed for the establishment of a garden project at Lemon Soda Springs, located in the Napa Valley. This project never materializes. (18)

ca. September 1978

Alan moves to New Market, Virginia, to begin a new garden project (19)

June, 1979

Conference at New Market, Virginia, involving, among others: Buckminster Fuller, Peter Caddy of Findhorn, Swami Kriyananda, Kubler-Ross, Paolo Soleri. (20)

December 16, 1979

Alan returns to Green Gulch, terminally ill. (21)

February 16, 1980

Farewell gathering at Green Gulch (22)

May 25, 1980

Alan dies at Green Gulch





(1). Date and place of birth from "What Makes the Crops Rejoice", by Robert Howard. More on the exact time of Alan's birth and his horoscope, here. Alan's mother was 33 years old at the time of his birth, and his father was 63 (Personal communication from Richard Senior, Alan's great nephew).

(2). Alan describes this incident in a videotaped interview given at Newmarket, Virginia. (DVD labeled: Document number 3952 at the UCSC Media Center.) For a link to a video of Alan reading another of Maetterlink's works, The Life of the Ant, see here.

(3). Alan described this period to Greg Haynes while at Santa Cruz. See "The Early Life of Alan Chadwick."

(4). Described in "What Makes the Crops Rejoice", by Robert Howard, p. 100-123.

(5). Alan described this in a personal communication with Greg Haynes, relating that he was 21 when he left home, disowned by his father for his chosen career-path in the stage arts. Information given in the introduction to "Performance in the Garden" states that Alan was 22 years old when he commenced his studies of theatre in London. If true, that would have made the year 1931. The age of 22 is repeated by Alan in a video interview given at New Market, Virginia. This period of his life is also discussed in Howard, "What Makes the Crops Rejoice". Alan had a file of newspaper clippings that contained reviews of his theatrical performances, both in England, and later in South Africa. The majority do not bear a date nor the name of the publication, but those that do contain this information fall into three periods: Prewar England (1935-1940), Postwar England (1945-1949), and South Africa (1951-1955). See also, "The Early Life of Alan Chadwick." See also, Pudleston Court.

(6). Alan described this in a personal communication with Greg Haynes. Some aspects of this period in Alan's life are corroborated by information given in the introduction to "Performance in the Garden." For more information on this epoch of Alan's life, see the audio recording by Greg Haynes entitled,"The Early Life of Alan Chadwick." A poem written by Alan bears the date: 1942, and the title: On First Seeing the Dawn up the Persian Gulf.

(7). Items in Alan's personal files from this period include: a poem entitled, Return to London, dated 1945; a poem written at Shell Bay, dated "mid February, 1949"; a poem entitled, Dawn over Purbeck Isle, dated 1949; a poem entitled, The Path through the Wood from Grayshott to Hindhead, dated 1948; Reviews of Alan's theatrical performances in England including: Rebecca, 1945; The Gleam, 1947; Rebecca (again), 1947, with the Barry O'Brien Repertory Company; Storm in a Teacup, 1947; Rebecca (again), 1949, with the Lichfield Repertory Company..

(8). This was described by Alan in a personal communication with Greg Haynes. The name of the theatre group was given in a personal letter to Greg Haynes by Freya von Moltke in September, 2003. This period is also described in Howard, "What Makes the Crops Rejoice", p. 106. In Alan's personal files there are letters from the National Theatre Organization, dated July 25, 1953, offering him a contract for a role in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, and another, dated March 9, 1955, offering him a contract for a role in Bell, Book, and Candle. Numerous reviews published in local newspapers praise his performances during this period. A few examples: Streetcar Named Desire, 1951;Twelfth Night, 1953; Young England, 1954; Some undated reviews include: The Venetian, Bill of Divorcement, Wuthering Heights, G.B. Shaw's The Apple Cart, John Drinkwater's Abraham Lincoln. See also, Alan Chadwick and Freya von Moltke.

(9). Peter Jorris remembers Alan describing a nine-year period at the Admiralty Gardens, or possibly this was the total length of time he spent in South Africa. If the nine years ended in 1959 when Alan relocated to the Bahamas, then that would put his first year in South Africa in 1950. This is corroborated by information given in Howard, "What Makes the Crops Rejoice". That reference also places the beginning of Alan's work at the Admiralty Gardens in 1952. A poem in Alan's personal files is labeled: "Pretoria, 1955." Another poem is labeled: "Zambesi Falls, 1954-1958."

(10). Date given in Howard, "What Makes the Crops Rejoice" and in the introduction to "Performance in the Garden." Alan's reasons for leaving South Africa are given by Peter Jorris. See the Alan Chadwick Forum, on this website, for the communication describing this.

(11). Alan told this information to Peter Jorris. He provides some details about his work on Long island in his lecture on "Cultivation" given at Villa Montalvo in Saratoga, California, on September 12, 1973. He gives more information about this venture in his lecture on "The Grand Herbaceous Perennial Border," given at Carrmel-in-the-Valley, Virginia, on September 17, 1979. Both of these lectures have been transcribed in "Performance in the Garden." An essay in Alan's personal files is labeled: "22 Feb. 1965, Wainscott, Long Island, New York."

(12). This date is given in Howard, "What Makes the Crops Rejoice," p. 109. Of all the teaching gardens that Alan made in the USA between 1967 and 1979, none ever surpassed this project in Santa Cruz. A great many of the resources available on this website reference the Santa Cruz garden. For example: Page Smith, UCSC Farm Today, UCSC Garden Today, Decater Memories, Anemones, Criticism, Dinner Party, Fair Ladies, Fire Marshal, Freya, Alan Gently Chides, Lectures in Los Angeles, New Apprentices 1, New Apprentices 2, New Home, Rare Book, Something Missing, Alan Takes Pity, Alan Takes to Task, Wild Birds, Alan's Character, Drilling for Water, Most Beautiful, Wickson, Disarms Policeman, Golden Time in Garden, McGuire Memories, Stusser Memories, Garden (the film), von Brincken Memories, About This Website, Library Photo Collection, Berries, Agroecology, Paul Lee Memoir, Fire in the Garden, Paul Lee Interview, Nelson Interview, Mother Earth, Learning to Give, Seeds of Change, Anemone, Hilmar Moore, Chadwick Papers, UCSC, Crimi Biography, Testimonials, Kaffka Interview, Page Smith Obituary, Thimann Interview, Photographs1, Garden in the Mind, Managing Alan's Temper, Stories from the Glasshouse, Gardener of Souls, Antipathy and Fear, Richard Merrill, Donald Nicholl, Paul Lee, Nancy Lingemann, Greg Hudson, Why Did Alan Chadwick Leave Santa Cruz?, Cry California, Sustainable Agriculture, Cultivating a Movement, Jodi Greenberg Frediani, 50-year Apprentice Reunion, 50th Anniversary, Lee Jacobs, Economy of Gift, Beth Benjamin, Fiftieth Anniversary Report, Mardi Sicular Memories, Blue Lake Trip, Louise Washburn Memories, Paul Lee turns 90, In memory of Greg Hudson, Phyllis Anderson, Barbara Steinberg, Lou Bock, John Cage, In Memory of Steve Decater.

(13). Personal communication from Peter Jorris. The lecture series given at the Villa Montalvo in Saratoga was delivered in May 1972, while Alan was still living at Green Gulch. Greg Haynes drove him from Green Gulch to Saratoga for these talks. Additional material on Green Gulch can be found here: Broadside, Alan's Tomb, Sonnet 15, Fairy Tales, Birthday Audio, Birthday Text, Fair Ladies, Green Gulch 1, Green Gulch 2, Green Gulch 3, Alan is Injured Audio, Injured Text, Alan Meets His End, Invitation to Saratoga, Emanation, End of Green Gulch, Move to Green Gulch, Paul Lee Memoir, Wendy Johnson, Catching Skunks, Garden in the Mind, Zen Memories, Paul Lee, Challenges at Green Gulch, Elizabeth Sawyer, Pilgrimage to Green Gulch in 2014

(14). This date was provided by Anna Rainville, daughter of Betty Peck. Betty was the prime mover behind the Saratoga Garden Project. References to the project at Saratoga can be found here: News Clippings 1972-1973, News Clippings 1974-1981, Saratoga Photos, Saratoga1, Saratoga2, Move to Saratoga, Villa Montalvo Lectures, Cherry Tree, Garden in the Mind, Jeff Nichols, Urban Gardening Symposium, Betty Peck

(15). Peter Jorris says that Alan organized a birthday gathering for him in late February, 1973, at Alan's temporary living quarters in Saratoga. For a description of the last days of the Green Gulch Project, see Peter Jorris' Memories of Alan Chadwick. For descriptions of events at Green Gulch, see Greg Haynes' Memories of Alan Chadwick referencing Green Gulch. For more on the Saratoga Project, see Greg Haynes' Memories of Alan Chadwick referencing Saratoga, and the series of newspaper articles that chronicle that project.

(16). Peter Jorris says that when he returned to Saratoga in May of 1973, Alan had already relocated to Covelo. Richard Wilson had been introduced to Alan by Huey Johnson, director of the Nature Conservancy (personal communication by R. Wilson). Additional references to the Covelo Project can be found here: Covelo Garden Photos, Covelo Today, Dirtman Journal, Garden Journal, Reagan, Decater Memories, Leaving Saratoga for Covelo, Kimura Memories, Wilson Memories, Round Valley Collection, Live Power Farm, Color and Scent, Mirror of Man, Epoch and Obedience, Tamura Interview, Wilson Interview, Photographs of Alan, Garden in the Mind, Enchanted Garden, Biodynamic, Greg Hudson, Schumacher, Video Interview, Benthin Covelo Journal, Magic Gardeners, Tom Benthin Memories, New Age Journal Article

(17). A photo in the Los Angeles Times, dated August 23, 1974, shows Reagan eating an organic carrot from the garden in the presence of Alan. Probably this meeting occurred the previous day. The caption states that one of Reagan's first acts as governor was to stop plans for flooding Round Valley and Covelo with a dam at Dos Rios. Reagan was governor of California from 1967 to 1975, so this act would have occurred before Alan arrived in Covelo. Richard Wilson describes this meeting in the oral history interview he gave to the Bancroft Library (Tape 7, Side A, of the taped interview transcription at: Photos of that meeting are posted here.

(18). Greg Haynes visited Alan there in 1978. Paul Lee mentions this place in "There Is A Garden In the Mind: A Memoir of Alan Chadwick and the Organic Movement in California," (page 177). Portions of a letter by Alan describing this prospective project are reproduced in Howard, "What Makes the Crops Rejoice," p. 119. Minutes of the General Meeting of the Covelo Garden Project, dated August 10, 1978, record that Alan declared "the Garden Project is ended," so his move to Sonoma must have occurred after this date.

(19). Craig Siska, an apprentice with Alan in New Market, Virginia, says that Alan arrived in New Market in May or June of 1978, but this does not fit with the minutes of the Garden Project General Meeting in Covelo, held on August 10, 1978, where Alan was present. Alan must have arrived at Virginia in about September. Perhaps he earlier had visited Virginia in May or June, and this is the basis of Craig's memory. References to the Virginia Project can be found here: Siska Memories, Wilson Interview2, Photographs, Garden in the Mind, Gregg Novotny, Friar Lawrence, Virginia Lectures

(20). Described in Paul Lee's book on Alan Chadwick.

(21). This date was taken from an item in The Alan Chadwick Society Newsletter, Volume 1, Number 1, page 2, dated Summer, 1982. Paul Lee's book on Alan Chadwick states that Alan returned to Green Gulch in December, 1979. This was corroborated in a personal communication to Greg Haynes by Craig Siska. Robert Howard (What Makes the Crops Rejoice) writes that Alan arrived at Green Gulch in November, 1979. Richard Wilson, after much searching, had found Alan in a severely ill condition in Virginia. He convinced Alan to return to California and covered Alan's living expenses during those last months at Green Gulch, where he was cared for by Acacia Downs. For more on Alan's last days, see: Alan Chadwick Meets His End,

(22). This date was taken from Paul Lee's book on Alan Chadwick. Paul organized this gathering and describes it in some detail in his book, There Is A Garden In the Mind: A Memoir of Alan Chadwick and the Organic Movement in California, (p. 179-180). Those in attendance were each given a copy of a broadside printed in letterpress by Jack Stauffacher at the Greenwood Press. The copy received by Greg Haynes is reproduced here.




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