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Quotes for Gardeners and Lovers of the Green Way

Compiled by Karen and Mike Garofalo

Spirit of Gardening Website

 

 

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"We seem to have lost contact with the earlier, more profound functions of art, which have always had to do with personal and collective empowerment, personal growth, communion with this world, and the search for what lies
beneath and above this world."
-  Peter London,  No More Second Hand Art 

 

 

"All gardening is landscape painting."
-  Alexander Pope  

 

 

"By means of microscopic observation and astronomical projection the lotus flower can become the  foundation for an entire theory of the universe and an agent whereby we may perceive Truth."  
-  Yukio Mishima  

 

 

"It isn't that I don't like sweet disorder, but it has to be judiciously arranged." 
-   Vita Sackville West 

 

 

"Poetry is the art of creating imaginary gardens with real toads."
-   Marianne Moore  

 

 

"Nothing is more the child of art than a garden." 
-  Sir Walter Scott 

 

 

"A garden without its statue is like a sentence without its verb."
-  Joseph W. Beach 

 

 

"I believe it is no wrong Observation, that Persons of Genius, and those who are most capable of Art, are always fond of Nature, as such are chiefly sensible, that all Art consists in the Imitation and Study of Nature.  On the contrary, People of the common Level of Understanding are principally delighted with the Little Niceties and Fantastical Operations of Art, and constantly think that finest which is least Natural." 
-   Alexander Pope, 1713 

 

 

"We have learned that more of the "earth-earthiness" would solve our social problems, remove many isms from our vocabulary, and purify our art.  And so we often wish that those who interpret life for us by pen or brush would buy a trowel and pack of seeds." 
-   Ruth R. Blodgett (1883-), The House Beautiful (March 1918)  

 

 

"Liberal gardeners are people who feel that, through gardening, we can alleviate our sense of alienation from nature; and that, through good gardening, we can repair some of the damage we have done to our environment. The most extreme liberals believe that there is an original or a natural state in which the environment would be if we hadn't shown up on the scene, and that we have not only the ability but also a moral imperative to help nature return to this state."
Deborah Needleman  

 

 

"In the creation of a garden, the architect invites the partnership of the Kingdom of Nature.  In a beautiful garden the majesty of nature is ever present, but it is nature reduced to human proportions and thus transformed into the most efficient haven against the aggressiveness of contemporary life." 
-  Luis Barragán, Mexico

 

 

"Gardening as far as Gardening is Art, or entitled to that appellation, is a deviation from nature; for if the true taste consists, as many hold, in banishing every appearance of Art, or any traces of the footsteps of man, it would then be no longer a Garden." 
-  Joshua Reynolds, Thirteenth Discourse, 1786   

 

 

"There is no "The End" to be written, neither can you, like an architect, engrave in stone the day the garden was finished; a painter can frame his picture, a composer notate his coda, but a garden is always on the move." 
-   Mirabel Osler 

 

 

"Even while we study and master the individual tasks and lessons of gardening, the garden remains as a place that is far greater than the sum of its parts.  After plant infatuations, color schemes, and double digging, there is still the essence of the garden, the central theme that invites our attention.  Happily, the exploration and creation of the garden goes on. . . . and on . . . and on. . ."  
-  Lynn Purse,
The Creative Gardener 

 

 

"Nothing is more completely the child of art than a garden."
-  Sir Walter Scott    

 

 

"To tell you the truth, my tenants have a notion that I am atheistically inclined, by putting up heathen statues and writing on them certain words in an unknown language.  They immediately suspected me for a papist, and my statues had been demolished, my woods burnt and my throat cut had not I suddenly placed a seat under a holly bush
with this plain inscription, "Sit Down and Welcome."  I have assured them that all the Latin mottoes are to this purpose, and that in places where they cannot sit down, I have desired them in the old Norman dialect to go to the lodge, and drink whiskey." 
-   Lord John Orrey (1707-1762), Letters

 

 

"Poets and novelists are often moved to put into words the subtle qualities of the landscape, sometime purely for the beauty of it, and sometimes as a way of alluding to certain human feelings.  Landscape design can translate such literary landscapes into three-dimensional form in the garden.  Like the poet, the garden designer may allude to human feelings in his portrayals of nature." 
-  David S. Slawson,  Secret Teachings in the Art of Japanese Gardens, 1987, p. 131 

 

 

"Beauty is the adjustment of all parts proportionately so that one cannot add or subtract or change without impairing the harmony of the whole." 
-  Leon B. Alberti

 

 

"The work of art is born of the intelligence's refusal to reason the concrete.  It marks the triumph of the carnal."
-   Albert Camus 

 

 

Writing and Being: Embracing Your Life Through Creative Journaling   
Keeping a Nature Journal: Discover a Whole New Way of Seeing the World Around You
Journal to the Self: Twenty-Two Paths to Personal Growth    
How to Keep a Naturalist's Notebook  
Visual Journaling: Going Deeper than Words  
Nature Journaling: Learning to Observe and Connect with the World Around You
Writing Down Your Soul: How to Activate and Listen to the Extraordinary Voice Within  
Mixed-Media Nature Journals: New Techniques for Exploring Nature, Life, and Memories
Creative Wildfire: An Introduction to Art Journaling - Basics and Beyond  
Inner Journeying Through Art-Journaling: Learning to See And Record Your Life As a Work of Art  

 

 

"We have art in order not to perish of truth." 
-  Friedrich Nietzsche 

 

 

"Every garden is unique with a multitude of choices in soils, plants and themes.  Finding your garden theme is as easy as seeing what brings a smile to your face."
-  Teresa Watkins,
Gardening With Soul  

 

 

"Remember that gardeners generally want to share knowledge and hear your comments, so don't be shy about starting a conversation.  Like artists, most gardeners want to know how their creation communicates with the viewer.  See if you can discover the spirit and vision behind the garden and reflect on what is moved within you.
-   Suzanne Edison,
Ask Questions  

 

 

"Don't underestimate the therapeutic value of gardening.  It's the one area where we can all use our nascent creative talents to make a truly satisfying work of art.  Every individual, with thought, patience and a large portion of help from nature, has it in them to create their own private paradise: truly a thing of beauty and a joy for ever."
-   Geoff Hamilton, Paradise Gardens, 1997

 

 

Fine art is that in which the hand, the head, and the heart of man go together.
-   John Ruskin

 

 

A statue in a garden is to be considered
as one part of a scene or landscape.
-   Shenstone

 

 

Aesthetics is for the artists as
ornithology is for the birds.
-   Barnett Newman

 

 

It has been the office of art to educate the perception of beauty.
We are immersed in beauty but our eyes have no clear vision.
-  Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

 

 

 

 

Art consists of limitation.   The most beautiful part of every picture is the frame.
-   G. K. Chesterton

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good planting design does not follow a formula.  At best, it allows
you to experiment with nature and through nature to make an
original statement.  As in all of the arts, the best garden designers
take risks.  Only by taking risks can you come up with
something exciting and original.
-  James Van Sweden

 

 

Illustrated Guides to Food Plants 
Green Inheritance: Saving the Plants of the World by Anthony Huxley 
Medicinal Plants of the World by Ben Eric van Wyk 
Edible: An Illustrated Guide to the World's Food Plants by National Geographic 
Vegetables, Herbs and Fruit: An Illustrated Encyclopedia by Matthew Biggs 
Food Plants of the World: An Illustrated Guide by Ben Eric van Wyk 
The New Oxford Book of Food Plants by John Vaughan 
The New Oxford Book of Food Plants by Elizabeth Schneider  

 

                                           

 

 

 

 


"What we call yugen lies within the mind and cannot be expressed in words.  Its quality may be suggested by the sight of a gauzy cloud veiling the moon or by the autumnal mists swathing the scarlet leaves on a mountainside.   If one is asked where yugen can be found in these sights, one cannot say; a man who cannot understand this truth is
quite likely to prefer the sight of the moon shining brightly in a cloudless sky.  It is quite impossible to explain wherein lies the interest or wonder of yugen."
-  Shotetsu, in Donald Keene's No: The Classical Theatre of Japan.
 

 

 

 

Texture and foliage keep a garden interesting through the season.
Flowers are just moments of gratification.
-   Kevin Doyle

 

 

 

 

The garden must first be prepared in the soul first
or else it will not flourish.
-  Proverb from England

 

 

 

The Japanese garden is a very important tool in Japanese architectural design
because, not only is a garden traditionally included in any house design, the
garden itself also reflects a deeper set of cultural meanings and traditions.
Whereas the English garden seeks to make only an aesthetic impression,
the Japanese garden is both aesthetic and reflective.  The most basic
element of any Japanese garden design comes from the realization
that every detail has a significant value.
-  Elizabeth Barber, 
The Shiga Project: The Japanese Garden

 

 

 


Gardens are the result of a collaboration between art and nature.
-  Penelope Hobhouse

 

 

 

 

If the art of gardening is at last to turn back from her extravagances and rest
with her other sisters, it is, above everything, necessary to have clearly before
you what you require . . .  It is certainly tasteless and inconsistent to desire to
encompass the world with a garden-wall, but very practicable and reasonable
to make a garden . . . into a characteristic whole to the eye, heart, and
understanding alike.
-   Schiller

 

 

In his garden every man may be his own artist without apology 
or explanation.  Each within his green enclosure is a creator, 
and no two shall reach the same conclusion; nor shall we, any 
more than other creative workers, be ever wholly satisfied with 
our accomplishment.  Ever a season ahead of us floats the vision 
of perfection and herein lies its perennial charm.
-   Louise Beebe Wilder


 

The aesthetically literate person also knows that the artistic
dimensions of existence have meaning for every sphere of
human endeavor ... and that a refined aesthetic sensibility
can as easily lead to a cure for cancer as to the composition
of a great symphony.

-   James Fenwick

 

 

Quality means doing it right when no one is looking.
-   Henry Ford

 

 

"The first law of a painting and of a picture on the soil is to be a whole . . .  Without principles and without
discernment one never attains veritable beauty." 
-   Edouard André  

 

 

 

Art brings out the grand lines of nature.
-  Antoine Bourdelle

 

 

 

To some, gardening is therapy for the mind. 
Art is therapy for my soul. 
-  Reno

 

 

 

If light is the medium and space is the medium, then, in a sense,
the universe is a medium.  I know the impracticality of it right
now but when I say that the medium is the universe, that maybe
the world is an art form, then the gardening of our universe or
our consciousness would be the level of our art participation.
Robert Irwin

 

 

 

 

Art attempts to find in the universe, in matter as well as in the
facts of life, what is fundamental, enduring, essential.
-   Saul Bellow

 

 

 

In a rock garden we foster a little patch of the wilderness
that stands to us for freedom.
-  Jason Hill

 

 

 

 

"Rhythm, symmetry, and a happy combination of elegance and utility - a blend often desired in later days of  hope and struggle - these have been fully attained, and with them a delight in quiet communion with Nature, expressing as she does the sense of beauty in orderliness."
-  Marie Luise Gothein, History of Garden Art, 1928
   Commenting on the Egyptian tomb pictures of the home and gardens of the official Meten, circa 1440 BCE
   "Right on to the New Period vineyard arbors were the centre and chief ornament of all gardens."

 

 

 

Romanticism may not inaccurately be described as a conviction that
the world is an englischer Garten on a grand scale.  The God of the
seventeenth century, like its gardeners, always geometrized; the God
of Romanticism was one in whose universe things grew wild and
without trimming and in all the rich diversity of their natural shapes.
The preference for irregularity, the aversion from that which is wholly
intellectualized   ...  which were eventually to invade the intellectual life
of Europe at all points, made their first modern appearance on a grand
scale in the eighteenth century in the form of the new fashion in
pleasure gardens.
-   Arthur O. Lovejoy, The Great Chain of Being, 1936

 

 

 

 

Gardening is always more or less a warfare against nature.  It is true we go over
to the "other side" for a few hints, but we might as well abandon our spades
and pitchforks as pretend that nature is everything and art nothing.
-  James Shirley Hibberd

 

 

 

In garden arrangement, as in all other kinds of decorative work, one has not
only to acquire a knowledge of what to do, but also to gain some wisdom in
perceiving what it is well to let alone.
-  Gertrude Jekyll

 

 

 

 

 

 

For most of us who are intimidated by theories of garden design, 
the cottage garden provides immediate appeal, since it is a 
horticultural rather than an architectural solution to a limited area.   

-   Patricia Thorpe

 

 

Art and science have their meeting point in method.
-   Edward Bulwer-Lytton

 

 

Laying out grounds may be considered a liberal art,
in some sort like poetry and painting.
-   William Wordsworth

 

 

Gardening is the slowest of the performing arts.
-   Anonymous

 

 

What a dead thing is a clock, with its ponderous embowelments of lead and brass,
its pert or solemn dullness of communication, compared with the simple altar-like
structure and silent heart-language of the old sundials!  It stood as the garden god
of Christian gardens.  Why is it almost everywhere vanished?  If its business-use
be superseded by more elaborate inventions, its moral uses, its beauty, might have
pleaded for its continuance.  It spoke of moderate labours, of pleasures not
protracted after sunset, of temperance, and good hours.  It was the
primitive clock, the horologue of the first world. 
Adam could scare have missed it in Paradise.
-   Charles Lamb, Essays, 1823

 

 

 

From the intimate union of art and nature, of architecture and landscape,
will be born the best gardening compositions which Time, purifying

public taste, now promises to bring us.

-   Edouard André

 

 

 

A fine garden being no less difficult to contrive and order well than a good building.
-   A. J. Dezallier D'Argenville, The Theory and Practice of Gardening, 1712

 

 

 

But who can paint Like Nature? Can imagination boast,
Amid its gay creation, hues like hers?
James Thomson, 1700-1748, Spring

 

 

 

Like music and art, love of nature is a common language
that can transcend political or social boundaries.
-  Jimmy Carter

 

 

 

For we must bear in mind that the greater number of garden pictures
known to us are taken from tombs.
-  Marie Luise Gothein, A History of Garden Art, 1928

 

 

 

Should it not be remembered that in setting a garden we are painting - a picture 
of hundreds of feet or yards instead of so many inches, painted with living flowers 
and seen by open daylight - so that to paint it rightly is a debt that we owe to the 
beauty of flowers and to the light of the sun.
-   William Robinson, The English Flower Garden and Home Grounds, 1883

 

 

 

A flower without a stem, is beauty waiting to die.
A heart without love, is a tear waiting to cry.

 

 

 

All art is the expression of one and the same thing--
the relation of the spirit of man to the spirit of other men
and to the world.
-   Ansel Adams

 

 

 

Perhaps, the highest pleasure in art is identical with the highest 
pleasure in scientific theory.  The emotion which accompanies 
the clear recognition of unity in a complex seems so similar in 
art and in science that it is difficult not to suppose that they are
psychologically the same.  It is, as it were, the final stage of both 
processes.  This unity-emotion in science supervenes upon a 
process of pure mechanical reasoning; in art it supervenes 
upon a process of which emotion has all along been an 
essential concomitant.
-   Roger Fry (1866-1934), "Art and Science," Vision and Design (1920).

 

 

 

You will find that my compositions in gardening are altogether
after the Pindaric manner, and run into the beautiful wildness
of Nature without affecting the nicer elegancies of art.
-   Addison

 

 

 

Here is one spot where each
may experience "the romance of possibility."
-   Louise Beebe Wilder

 

 

 

Poet: gardener of epitaphs.
-   Octavio Paz, Return, 1975

 

 

 

We use our gardens as a refuge, much as a painter uses canvas, as an area
to be created according to our own suitably reassuring, aesthetic taste.
Henry H. Cabot, Chairman of the Garden Conservancy, 1999

 

 

 


"Gardens unite artificial and natural beauty, embracing all the natural elements - water, light, air, growth - and making them elements of art.  Every effort devoted to garden design becomes a mirror of the longing for happiness in harmony with nature."  
-   Carl F. Schroer

 

 

I choose a block of marble and chop off whatever I don't need.
- Francois-Auguste Rodin (1840-1917), sculptor

 

 

 

I have left almost to the last the magic of water, an element which owing to
its changefulness of form and mood and colour and to the vast range of its
effects is ever the principal source of landscape beauty, and has like music
a mysterious influence over the mind.
-   Sir George Sitwell, On the Making of Gardens, 1909

 

 

Art is frozen Zen
R.H. Blyth

 

 

 

In all places where there is a Summer and a Winter, and where your Gardens of
pleasure are sometimes clothed with their verdant garments, and bespangled with
variety of Flowers, and at other times wholly dismantled of all these; here to
recompense the loss of past pleasures, and to buoy up their hopes of another
Spring, many have placed in their Gardens, Statues, and Figures of several
Animals, and great variety of other curious pieces of Workmanship, that their
walks might be pleasant at any time in those places of never dying pleasures.
-   John Worlidge, Systema Horticulturae, 1677

 

 

 

I need not print a line, nor conjure with the painter's
tools to prove myself an artist ... Whilst in other spheres
of labor the greater part of our life's toil and moil will of a
surety end, as the wise man predicted, in vanity and
vexation of spirit, here is instant physical refreshment
in the work the garden entails, and, in the end,
our labor will be crowned with flowers.
-   John Sedding, 1893

 

 

Nature is painting for us, day after day, pictures of infinite beauty.
-  James Russell Lowell

 

 

Today the art of gardening is practised much more often than 
any other, in ignorant, impulsive ways, by people who never 
stop to think that it is an art at all.   

-  M.G. Van Rensselaer

 

 

To conquer a piece of earth and make it as beautiful as one can
dream of it being: That is art, too.  A man cannot be separated
from the earth.  I come out of the garden every day feeling, oh,
inspired in a way that one needs in order to convert the daily-ness
of the life into something greater than that little life itself.
-   Stanley Kunitz

 

 

Form follows function.
-  Louis Henri Sullivan

 

 

The richness I achieve comes from Nature, 
the source of my inspiration. 
-   Claude Monet

 

 

 

"There is something in us that loves symmetry, selection, arrangement, as well as wildness and irregularity. 
A small garden, accordingly, gives its owner a far greater opportunity to express himself than a small lawn.  The usual lawn expresses nothing so much a vacancy of mind or an impious waste of good material; whereas in a garden any man may be an artist, may experiment with all the subtleties or simplicities of line, mass, color, and composition, and taste the god-like joys of the creator."

-   H. G. Dwight,
Gardens and Gardening, Atlantic Monthly, 1912

 

 

 

Surely green is the color of Pan, god of Life ...
It is all around, so omnipotent that it is no longer
recognized as a coulour in its own right.
-   Nori and Sandra Pope, Colour by Design

 

 

 

Months and Seasons
Quotes, Poems, Sayings, Lore,
Myths, Holidays, Celebrations,
Links, Celebrations, Facts,
Resources, Gardening Chores
 
Winter Spring Summer Autumn
January April July October
February May August November
March June September December 

 

 

 

 

 

The garden reconciles human art and wild nature, hard work and
deep pleasure, spiritual practice and the material world.  It is a
magical place because it is not divided.  The many divisions and
polarizations that terrorize a disenchanted world find peaceful

accord among mossy rock walls, rough stone paths, and trimmed
bushes.  Maybe a garden sometimes seems fragile, for all its earth
and labor, because it achieves such an extraordinary delicate balance
of nature and human life, naturalness and artificiality.  It has its own
liminality, its point of balance between great extremes.
-   Thomas Moore, The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life

 

 

 

To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.
-  Henry David Thoreau

 

 

 

But where only a free play of our presentational powers is to be
sustained as in the case of pleasure gardens, room decoration,
all sorts of useful utensils, and so on, any regularity that has an
air of constraint is to be avoided as much as possible.  That is why
the English taste in gardens, or the baroque taste in furniture,
carries the imagination's freedom very far, even to the verge of
the grotesque, because it is precisely this divorce from any
constraint of a rule that the case is posited where taste can show
its greatest perfection in designs made by the imagination.

-  Immanuel Kant, Critique of Aesthetic Judgment, 1790, Part I, 22

 

 

 

There is little doubt that Impressionist landscape paintings
are the most widely known and appreciated works of art ever produced. 
-   A Day in the County: Impressionism and the French Landscape, Los Angeles County Museum of Art

 

 

Form is never more than an extension of content.
-   Robert Creeley, 1974

 

 

There is nothing more difficult for a truly creative painter 
than to paint a rose, because before he can do so he has 
first to forget all the roses that were ever painted.
-   Henri Matisse

 

 

When nations grow old, the arts grow cold
and commerce settles on every tree.
-  William Blake

 

 

 

If the world were clear, art would not exist.
-   Albert Camus

 

 

 

"It seemed to my friend that the creation of a landscape-garden offered to the proper muse the most magnificent of opportunities.  Here indeed was the fairest field for the display of the imagination, in the endless combining of forms of novel beauty."
-   Poe

 

 

 

Painting is closely related to gardening
but closer still is poetry.
-   Robert Dash

 

 

 

If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist,
will answer you: I am here to live out loud.
-   Emile Zola

 

 

 

I am writing in the garden. To write as one should of a garden one must 
write not outside it or merely somewhere near it, but in the garden. 
-   Frances Hodgson Burnett 

 

 

 

In the end, color combinations come down to our personal preferences, 
which we must discover through observation and experiment. 
-   Montagu Don

 

 

 

 

 

Recommended Reading

 

Art & Crafts   The Best Source on the Net!! 


Beauty - Quotes for Gardeners


Clearwater Landscapes
   


Color by Design:  Planting Effects for the Contemporary Gardener      By Penelope Hobhouse.


Feng Shui Ultimate Resource


Feng Shui Society


Flowers - Quotes for Gardeners


Garden Art Man - Rusty Metal Garden Art
   Ken Shearer.


Garden Designer


Garden Design Web Sites
   By Kirk Johnson


Garden of Metaphor: Recent Paintings by Chong Keun Chu


Landscape USA.Com


Links to Japanese Gardens


Claude Monet's Garden Paintings


The Tea Cult of Japan    By Yasunoke Fukukita


3D Garden Composer
 


Zen in the Art of Flower Arrangement by Gustie L. Herrigel, 1958. 

 

 

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The Spirit of Gardening Website

Over 3,800 Quotations, Poems, Sayings, Quips, One-Liners, Clichés, Quotes, and Insights
Arranged by Over 250 Topics
Over 15 Megabytes of Text
Over 20 Million Webpages (excluding graphics) Served to Readers Around the World
       From January 1, 1999 through December 31, 2010
This webpage has been online since January 1999. 
Compiled by Karen Garofalo and Mike Garofalo
E-Mail

February 21, 2011

Green Way Research

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