Garden Organic

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Garden Organic is the working name of the Henry Doubleday Research Association.

"The Henry Doubleday Research Association (HDRA) began in 1954 as a result of the inspiration and initiative of one man, Lawrence Hills. As an horticulturalist he had a keen interest in organic growing, but he earned his living as a freelance journalist writing for The Observer, Punch and The Countryman. Whilst researching a book called Russian Comfrey, he discovered that the plant grown widely in Britain today was introduced in the nineteenth century by a Quaker smallholder named Henry Doubleday

"When Doubleday came across comfrey he was so intrigued by its possibilities as a useful crop that he devoted the rest of his life to popularising it. Hills took up his crusade and before long requests were coming from far and wide for plants and additional information.

"Eventually Hills was able to raise £300 to rent an acre of land at Bocking, near Braintree in Essex, and he began to experiment with comfrey. By 1958 the enterprise had reached a point where it had to become official or be dropped altogether So he decided to set up a charitable research association to study the uses of comfrey and - more significantly - to improve ways of growing plants organically. He named the association after his pioneering Victorian mentor...

"In December 1986, Lawrence Hills, who had charted the course of HDRA for more than thirty years, stepped down as Director and became its President. Alan Gear was appointed Chief Executive and Jackie Gear became General Manager."[1]


We would like to thank the following trusts whose support has enabled us to achieve our aims to date: Allan and Nesta Ferguson Charitable Settlement, Ernest Cook Trust, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation, J J Charitable Trust, Mark Leonard Trust, Sir James Knott Trust, D'Oyly Carte Charitable Trust, William Dean Trust [2]



Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch articles


  1. history, Garden Organic, accessed April 26, 2009.
  2. Garden Organic Trusts, organizational web page, accessed January 6, 2013.