The Alan Chadwick Garden at U.C. Santa Cruz Today
In July of 2012 we made a pilgrimage to UC Santa Cruz to check out the old Garden Project site, visit the farm, and also examine the Alan Chadwick Archives housed at the McHenry Library. The day was semi-overcast in the morning, but the sun came out in the afternoon as we walked around the garden. The original Garden Project is now called the Alan Chadwick Garden and is maintained as best as it can be by one full-time garden manager who is helped by one or two second-year apprentices that each receive a small stipend. The mood of the place when we visited was calm and well cared for. The only person actually working in the garden that day was a feisty young second-year apprentice who was giving an overview of the garden's history to a group of summer camp children and their adult leaders just as we happened to walk by the deck of the chalet.
It would be unfair to compare the condition of the garden today to what it had been under Alan Chadwick. Back then, at the garden's height in the summer of 1971, there were up to twenty-five apprentices working every day, not to mention the occasional student that would come to volunteer. The place was bristling with activity and production, ship-shape and full of life. Alan himself was generally in good spirits, as his health had not yet turned bad, nor had he yet experienced the political intrigues that began to plague him shortly thereafter. He was on friendly terms with everyone who worked regularly in the garden, stopping to offer advice or instructions whenever he thought it was necessary or helpful.
Today, it seems that the decision has been made to concentrate the production end of things down on the farm project located at the lower end of the campus. Consequently, the Alan Chadwick garden is more of a museum or pleasant landscape to stroll and enjoy the sunshine amid flowers, fruit trees and some vegetable beds. There are herbs and native plants here and there, with a few nicely maintained flower beds to give beauty to the place. Children from the summer camp were running unsupervised willy-nilly throughout the garden, which added life to the place which, otherwise, might have seemed a bit lonely and forlorn.
A sign down on the main road announcing the location of the Alan Chadwick Garden. Don't blink, or you'll miss it.
This sign marks the south entrance of the Alan Chadwick Garden with kiosk and gate. The fence is littered with warnings not to pick the flowers, fruits, or vegetables -- a very different mood from the way the place was run under Alan. Some people have estimated that Alan Chadwick gave away an average of ten thousand flowers per day back in the late 1960's and early 70's.
Alan Chadwick Garden Information Board. The garden is now operated under the auspices of the agroecology program at UCSC.
The original garden chalet near the western entrance to the garden. A new deck has been built on the west end of the chalet, otherwise it looks remarkably the same inside as it always did. Smells the same too.
Apple Trees in the beds of the main garden.
A pleasant floral scene in the Alan Chadwick Garden. Obviously, somebody is caring for this place.
A shaded bower in the Alan Chadwick Garden. This is an add-on to the little bathroom complex that stands just below the chalet. A cool place of respite on a sunny day.
The path in the main garden as seen from the east end near the zigzag switch-back. The "formal garden" that was nestled under the redwoods at the far end of the main garden, is no more. A deer sauntered out of there as we walked by in July of 2012. The many fruit trees that have been planted in the beds of the main garden can be seen on each side of the pathway.
A hexagonal wooden bench surrounds one of the fir trees in the old nursery area (looking southwest).
This is the remnant of what Alan Chadwick used to call "the new herbaceous border." Allen Kalpin built the stone path that heads down the hill here, using stone brought up from the quarry. In its day, both sides of this stone walkway were lined with perennial herbaceous borders that bloomed almost all year long.
Another view down the path of the main garden in the Alan Chadwick Garden on the campus of the University of California at Santa Cruz. Although a far cry from what it was in its heyday, the garden was pleasant and lush.
Fruit trees planted in the beds of the main garden area of the Alan Chadwick Garden. It was painful to see so many of the beds given over to low-maintenance fruit trees. This must be due to the lack of labor to keep the garden in high productivity. The planting of lettuce here is unusual, as most of the beds so given over to trees are not used for vegetables or flowers.
Another view of the nursery area in the Alan Chadwick Garden. The old glasshouse area has been displaced by more electrical transformer units, so a new greenhouse affair now occupies the area at the top of the nursery.
Snapdragons in the nursery area of the Alan Chadwick Garden
Tool storage under the chalet in the Alan Chadwick Garden at UCSC
Zinnias growing in a portion of the nursery area of the Alan Chadwick Garden
All photos on this page taken in July, 2012, by Greg Haynes