Chadwick Garden

I gardened at the Chadwick Garden last Friday morning, harvesting cutie 'Little Gem' lettuce for their market cart and then replanting a bed of tithonia that had been all but decimated by bunnies, ala Curse of the Were-Rabbit. The Chadwick Garden (or Up Garden) began in 1967 when UCSC hired master gardener Alan Chadwick to come from England to start a garden. What with the campus being constructed, and the horrors of the Vietnam War, the students decided that they wanted a garden, somewhere that would really say UCSC, somewhat like Stanford's chapel. I'm not sure this original aim was exactly met-most UCSC students I know have never visited the Chadwick Garden. Which is fine by me- it's such an amazing place, I'd much rather it didn't attract huge crowds of people. I'm including a link here in case anyone cares to read more about the inception of one of the most influential organic gardens in the US.
Up, Up & Away
One of the first things you need notice about the Up Garden is that it is on a hillside. When I was an apprentice there it took me a good week or more to develop my sea legs-gardening on a slope is not for wimps. On Friday, just after a few hours I ended up with blisters on the balls of my feet, from my socks rubbing against my shoes as I strained against gravity, weeding oxalis and planting out seedlings. Also, the place is so incredibly lush and green and just verdant. It's positively stuffed with plants, Orin Martin, the garden manager (and one of my favourite gardeners) has a particular fondness for the Rosaceae family and it shows. Roses, malus (apples), prunus (plums, peaches), and berries abound. Everything is planted high density, which is part of the bio-intensive method, maximizing space and nutrients.
During the second week of the apprenticeship I was given the job of applying Tanglefoot to the base of the apple trees. Tanglefoot is the consistency of melted caramel. Among other things, it is used to prevent ants from climbing up the trunk and then protecting aphids from ladybug attack. (Ants can farm aphids like cattle, 'milking' them for the nectar they suck from plants. I know. It's crazy.) I started at the bottom of the slope and crawled my way up the row, wiping my hands on the comfrey leaves in fromt of me & slipping and banging my head on tree limbs as I bellied up to each trunk. Soon the Tanglefoot went from my hands, to my clothes to my hair and glasses as I slithered and wriggled my way up the steep slope, it's "path" in between each bed really just a slalom course of comfrey leaves and bedstraw. I came home that day, totally bedraggled, covered in what looked like melted caramel, apple leaves and comfrey knee stains. I don't think I ever found my hat.
'O, what delights to us the garden ground doth bring?
Seed, leaf, flower, fruit, herb, bee, and tree, and more, then I may sing.'
-Nicholas Grimald
Large areas of the garden seem to recede into the undergrowth as different sections emerge and are tamed again. There's even a little one room shack towards the southeast corner; I had to seriously hunt for it and finally found it being swallowed by plants. I totally suspend disbelief when I enter this garden-I have no idea what will be around the bend in the path-once it was a nursery bed full of golden raspberries, another time a hammock, a row of espaliered apples, the garden cat, Stretch, a puddle of water shimmering in the heat, it's surface covered with thirsty bees, or a greenhouse full of dehiscing garlic. Other particular favorites are the different apple trees that almost seem to come into fruition with applause and the Hallelujah chorus in the background. Especially varieties like 'Chehalis', 'Honey Gold' and 'Pink Lady'. And I will never forget my first time working with bees here at this garden, dripping with sweat in my hot bee suit and hat, opening the hives to check the bees and harvest a little bit of honey & wax to chew on. I'd never been involved in one practice that was at once scientific, delicious, dangerous and beautiful. On the whole, the Chadwick garden reminds me of the wildness, the goodness-the unabashed fecundity of God.
O, the mighty Stinkhorn
Of course, there are the unwelcome surprises as well-a leg slashed by nettles, bizarre poison oak with bright red pustules on the leaves, and the grotesque and fascinating stinkhorn mushroom. I nearly sicked up all over the keyboard looking for pictures of it on Flickr. The smell of decay along with the glistening black goo, and excited buzz of flies overhead made the stinkhorn a distinctly unpleasant surprise......... The photo comes from sbenyunes' flickr site. Thanks, sben! (yuck!)
Sorry to end on such a slimy note.
Next up, an ode to the Down Garden greenhouse. (R.I.P.)


jessica said...

my my, the stinkhorn is a foul looking thing, but if one had to find a single nice thing to say about it, so as to not hurt its feelings, its colour is unusually lovely. maybe. the festival i think has started, if not officially then unofficially. i've taken some photographs and will post them up for you!

though bedraggled after the day of tanglefoot application, was it immensely satisfying? it sounds as though it was. all of your gardening sounds like they were satisfying experiences.

gammon vs ham? urm, i'm no connoisseur on the subject, but i asked and apparently gammon is a kind of ham (with looks of sheer disdain). like cured ham. but he (the brit) would delve no further into the subject.

Rosa said...

Yes, the tanglefooting was immensely satisfying, in that particular "I got dirty today" sort of way, that is so important to the gardener's psyche.

And yes, the gammon thing is puzzling. We tried to somehow bring in the word 'backgammon' in order to explain things, but it just got more convoluted......and why do the Brits always refer to corn as 'sweet corn'? What other sort of corn is there?

jessica said...

maybe a corn on one's foot? i don't know that either, but i do know british people like to put corn aywhere. its on pizza, in sandwiches, in loads of salads...its kind of unappetizing. and it isn't as though its fresh corn, its canned corn. sigh. thinking of corn, i went to buy some the other day. the only option are these half size cobs already trimmed sitting in a plastic tray and in a plastic seethrough bag all trim and proper (you know the type, from tescos and sainsburys). it took all the fun out of shucking the ear things and made the whole process a bit less summery and a bit more sterile, and only $4! so maybe corn is sweetcorn here because it comes out of cans of sweetcorn.

jessica said...

i found out! the sweetcorn/corn dilemma! i was lunching yesterday with another american and three brits, and this exact subject came up, the other american finding it curious. one of those hailing from britain said that corn is what is given to cows, it tastes foul, and that's whay everything else is sweetcorn! also, they only really get one variety of corn here they say. we should write a book on this stuff!

Rosa said...

Good job! Well, corn is a New World crop, so it makes sense that they wouldn't really have lots of types of corn. Did you tell them about Indian corn? I think food is always a place where cultural differences come into sharp relief.
(We all eat, so it's interesting just how different we like our food.)...... I had some of the WORST Chinese food of my whole life in Edinburgh, when I was 17. The GREASE! But the fault was partly mine, I mean- what was I thinking? Scottish Chinese food? Yech.

Rosa said...

And I must add, that my husband, Mr. Etymology himself, has now gotten involved. He points out that the original meaning of the word 'corn' referred to any grain, and these were usually fed to livestock. When the English first saw corn, this is naturally what they called it, even though the Indians called it maize. So, umm, there you go.

jessica said...

well i never. that cleared it up. ohmy, yes, the chinese food! nothing has changed, still greasy. the indian and bangladeshi food is very nice though. what was very amusing was when i first saw tesco's 'american style' pizza, cookies and muffins. the pizza had bbq chicken and sweetcorn on it. the cookies were triple chocolate chip, as were the muffins, both with extra chocolate. i didn't get it. such things weren't ten a penny in the states, in fact i'd never ever come across pizza with bbq chicken on it, let alone corn. gross. did you find uk food shopping entertaining?

Read Your Way Through the Garden: Choice Tomes From Garden Literature

  • A Book of Salvias by Betsy Clebsch
  • Botany for Gardeners by Brian Capon
  • Making Bentwood Trellises by Jim Long
  • RHS Encyclopedia of Plants & Flowers
  • Rose Primer: An Organic Approach to Rose Selection & Care by Orin Martin
  • Start With the Soil by Grace Gershuny
  • Sunset Western Garden Book
  • Sunset Western Landscaping Book
  • The Book of Garden Secrets by Patent & Bilderback
  • The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Botany
  • the Gardener's Table: A Guide to Natural Vegetable Growing and Cooking by Richard Merrill & Joe Ortiz
  • The Gardener's Year by Karel Capek
  • The Hutchinson Dictionary of Plant Names: Common & Botanical
  • We Made A Garden by Margaret Fish

lotsa latin: rosa's botanical & etymological ruminations

  • vespertinus: flowers in the evening
  • vernalis:spring
  • veni vidi nates calcalvi: we came, we saw, we kicked butt. This was printed on a T shirt I bought at Abbot's Thrift many years ago. It encircled the NEA symbol. I wish I knew why.
  • superciliaris: shaped like an eyebrow ex: sturnella superciliaris, the White-browed Blackbird
  • rosa-sinensis: species of Hibiscus: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. Lit. Rosa of China, so named by British plant hunters.
  • placentiformis: shaped like a cake ex: discocactus placentiformis
  • nudiflorus: flowers before leaves show ex: flowering quince, magnolia
  • nivalis: growing in or near snow ex: galanthus nivalis (common snowdrop)
  • muralis: growing on walls
  • mirabilis: marvellous, wonderful
  • formosa: beautiful ex: dicentra formosa, a.k.a.western bleeding heart/dutchman's breeches/lady in a bath
  • carpe vitam: get a life
  • Carolus Linnaeus: Latinized name of Carl von Linne (1707-1778), Swedish naturalist considered the father of plant taxonomy. Whatta guy.