Soil, Roots, Dirt, Place, Land
Digging, Ground, Stones, Rocks

Quotes     Seasons     Gardening     Walking     Fertilizer     Mountains           

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Compiled by Karen and Mike Garofalo

Quotations for Gardeners, Walkers, and Lovers of the Green Way
Green Way Research, Red Bluff, California




"If a healthy soil is full of death, it is also full of life:  worms, fungi, microorganisms of all kinds ...  Given only the health of the soil, nothing that dies is dead for very long."
-  Wendell Berry,  The Unsettling of America, 1977


"The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance, the wise grows it under his feet."
-  James Oppenheim


"If I wanted to have a happy garden, I must ally myself with my soil; study and help it to the utmost, untiringly. Always, the soil must come first."
-  Marion Cran, If I Where Beginning Again


"The field is a halfway house, halfway between the detail of those intimately known places and the ignorance of a landscape view.  The essence of a field is that the cultural accommodates the natural there.  The human being makes room for and makes use of those organisms that are not him. In that way the field is a poem to symbiosis, and a human contract with the natural."
-  Adam Nicolson


"Let me arise and open the gate, to breathe
the wild warm air of the heath,
And to let in Love, and to let out Hate,
And anger at living and scorn of Fate,
To let in Life, and to let out Death."
-  Violet Fane


"The violets in the mountains have broken the rocks."
-  Tennessee Williams


"On earth there is no heaven, but there are pieces of it."
-  Jules Renard


"The poetry of the earth is never dead."
-  John Keats


"I look back with gladness to the day when I found the path to the land of heart's desire, and thank Fate ceaselessly with a loud voice that she did not permit town to sap all the years away while the heart was turning to wind-voices and flower-faces and the hands of kindly earth."
-  Mrs. George Cran, The Garden of Ignorance, 1913


"A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself.  Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people."
-  Franklin D. Roosevelt


"Gardening is not a rational act.   What matters is the immersion of the hands in the earth, that ancient ceremony of which the Pope kissingthe tarmac is merely a pallid vestigial remnant."
-  Margaret Attwood


"I refuse to have an emotional attachment to a piece of ground.  At one end of the scale it's called patriotism, at the other end of the scale it's called gardening."
-  Bob Shaw


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  





"Mud is the most poetical thing in the world."
-  R. H. Blyth


"The mountain remains unmoved at seeming defeat by the mist."
-  Rabindranath Tagore


"Rocks pray to," said Grandad.  "Pebbles and boulders and old weathered hills.  They are still and silent, and
those are two important ways to pray."
-  Douglas Wood, Grandad's Prayers of the Earth.


"Earth, thou great footstool of our God, who reigns on high; thou fruitful source of all our raiment, life, and food; 
our house, our parent, and our nurse."
-  Isaac Watts


"So will I build my altar in the fields,
And the blue sky my fretted dome shall be,
And the sweet fragrance that the wild flower yields
Shall be the incense I will yield to thee."
-  Samuel Taylor Coleridge


"While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease."
-  Genesis 8:22


"This planet is not terra firma.
It is a delicate flower and it must be cared for.
It's lonely.
It's small.
It's isolated, and there is no resupply.
And we are mistreating it."
-  Scott Carpenter, astronaut


"Speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee."
-  Biblical proverb


"Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair."
-  Kahlil Gibran


"The earth laughs at him who calls a place his own."
-  Hindustani Saying


"An agricultural adage says the tiny animals that live below the surface of a healthy pasture weigh more than the cows grazing above it.   In a catalogue selling composting equipment I read that two handfuls of healthy soil contain more living organisms than there are people on the earth.  What these beings are and what they can be doing is difficult to even begin to comprehend, but it helps to realize that even thought they are many, they work as one."
-  Carol Williams, Bringing a Garden to Life, 1998


"To dig in one's own earth, with one's own spade, does life hold anything better?"
-  Beverly Nichols


"I am led to reflect how much more delightful to an undebauched mind, is the task of making improvements on the earth, than all the vain glory which can be acquired from ravaging it, by the most uninterrupted career of conquests."
-  George Washington


"All of earth is crammed with heaven
And every bush aflame with God
But only those who see take off their shoes."
-  Elizabeth Barrett Browning


"Some keep the Sabbath going to Church,
I keep it staying at Home -
With a bobolink for a Chorister,
And an Orchard, for a Dome."
-  Emily Dickinson, No. 324, St. 1, 1862   


"We men of Earth have here the stuff
Of Paradise - we have enough!
We need no other stones to build
The Temple of the Unfulfilled -
No other ivory for the doors -
No other marble for the floors -
No other cedar for the beam
And dome of man's immortal dream.

Here on the paths of every-day -
Here on the common human way
Is all the stuff the gods would take
To build a Heaven, to mold and make
New Edens. Ours is the stuff sublime
To build Eternity in time!" 
-  Edwin Markham, Earth is Enough


"It is apparent that no lifetime is long enough in which to explore the resources of a few square yards of ground."
-  Alice M. Coats


"It is only when we are aware of the earth and of the earth as poetry that we truly live."
-  Henry Beston, 1935, Herbs and the Earth


"The body repeats the landscape.  They are the source of each other and create each other."
-  Meridel Le Sueur


"Garden making, like gardening itself, concerns the relationship of the human being to his natural surroundings."   
-  Russell Page


"Nature is not a place to visit, it is home."   
-  Gary Snyder


"If a chieftain or a man leave his house, garden, and field and hires it out, and some one else takes possession of his house, garden, and field and uses it for three years; if the first owner return and claims his house, garden, and field, it shall not be given to him, but he who has taken possession of it and used it shall continue to use it."
Code of Hammurabi, 1792 B.C.


"Give me strength to walk the soft earth, a relative to all that is."   
-  Black Elk


"The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God.  Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature.  As long as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be.  And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles."
-  Anne Frank


"I conceive that the land belongs to a vast family of which many are dead, few are living, and countless numbers are still unborn."
-   A Chief from Nigeria


"There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not Man the less, but Nature more."
-  Lord Byron


"The essential ingredient in a temenos is the perimeter that marks out the space, whether by a wall, a fence, a hedge of flowers and bushes, or some rocks that only imply the full perimeter.  Having crossed the border, we find ourselves in a special place where certain things happen and other things do not."
-  Thomas Moore, The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life, p. 293


Growth of the Soil by Knut Hamsun 
Secrets to Great Soil (Gardening Skills Illustrated) by Elizabeth Stell 
Teaming with Microbes: The Organic Gardener's Guide to the Soil Food Web by Jeff Lowenfels 
Life in the Soil: A Guide for Naturalists and Gardeners by James Nardi 
Soil (True Books: Natural Resources) by Christin Ditchfield 
Soil Science Simplified by Helmut Kohnke 
Dirt: The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth by William Bryant Logan 





"All that we did, all that we said or sang
Must come from contact with the soil . . . ."
-  William Butler Yeats, The Municipal Gallery Revisited


"The love of wilderness is more than a hunger for what is always beyond reach; it is also an expression of loyalty to the earth, the earth which bore us and sustains us, the only paradise we shall ever know, the only paradise we ever need, if only we had the eyes to see ...  No, wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, as vital to our lives as water and good bread."
-  Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire


"There is no spot of ground, however arid, bare or ugly, that cannot be tamed into such a state as may give an
impression of beauty and delight."
-  Gertrude Jekyll


"O Goddess Earth, O all-enduring wide expanses!
Salutation to thee.
Now I am going to begin cultivation.
Be pleased, O virtuous One."
-  Ancient Sanskrit prayer


"The love of dirt is among the earliest of passions, as it is the latest.  Mud-pies gratify one of our first and best instincts.  So long as we are dirty, we are pure.  Fondness for the ground comes back to a man after he has run the round of pleasure and business, eaten dirt, and sown wild oats, drifted about the world, and taken the wind of all its moods.  The love of digging in the ground (or of looking on while he pays another to dig) is as sure to come back to him, as he is sure, at last, to go under the ground, and stay there."
-  Charles Dudley Warner, My Summer in a Garden, 1870 


"Fix'd like a plant on his peculiar spot,
To draw nutrition, propagate, and rot."
-  Alexander Pope, 1688-1744


"We could have saved the Earth but we were too damned cheap."
-  Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.


"The best stock a man can invest in, is the stock of a farm; the best shares are plow shares; and the best banks are the fertile banks of a rural stream; the more these are broken the better dividends they pay."
-  Henry Ward Beecher


"There are times when I cannot believe I am separate from this earth, when I could swear the wind blows through me as it does the woven needles of the pine tree by the creek, when I feel my feet planted deep in the earth with the roots of trees and wildflowers, drawing essence." 
-  Cathy Johnson


"Do the best that you can in the place where you are, and be kind."
-  Scott Nearing


"It always comes to the same necessity: go deep enough and there is a bedrock of truth, however hard."
-  May Sarton


"You cannot plough a field by turning it over in your mind."
-  Anonymous


"A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community.  It is wrong when it tends otherwise."
-  Aldo Leopold 


"The disciples are drawn to the high altars with magnetic certainty, knowing that a great Presence hovers over the ranges ... You were within the portals of the temple ...  to enter the wilderness and seek, in the primal patterns of nature, a magical union with beauty."
-  Ansel Adams, Sierra Club Bulletin, 1931


"I don't know.  Sometimes it would stop raining long enough for the stars to come out.  Then it was nice ... It's like just before the sun goes to bed down on the bay, those million sparkles on the water...  Like that mountain lake, it was so clear, Jenny, it looked like two skies, one on top of the other.  And then in the desert when the sun comes up, I couldn't tell where heaven started and the earth begun.  It's so beautiful ... Jenny, I may not be a smart man, but I know what love is."
-  Forrest Gump


"The ordinary man looking at a mountain is like an illiterate person confronted with a Greek manuscript."
-  Aleister Crowley


"Soil is a resource, a living, breathing entity that, if treated properly, will maintain itself.  It's our lifeline for survival.   When it has finally been depleted, the human population will disappear.  ....   Project you imagination into the soil below you next time you go into the garden.   Think with compassion of the life that exists there.  Think, the drama, the sexuality, the harvesting, the work that carries on ceaselessly.  Think about the meaning of being a steward for the earth."
-  Marjorie Harris,  In the Garden, 1995


"If we do not permit the Earth to produce beauty and joy, it will in the end not produce food either."
-  Joseph Wood Krutch


"US House Speaker Tip O'Neill used to say all politics is local, and the same must be said of gardening, where regional climate and soil patterns determine what will thrive and what will die.  Besides, gardening is about developing a relationship with where you live, right down to the unique quality of the light, the acid in the rain, the rocks in the soil."
-  Carol Stocker


"Earth, is not this what you will: in us to rise up invisible?
Is it, O Earth, not your dream once to be wholly invisible?
Earth! Invisible!
What, if not change, is your desperate mission?"
-  R. M. Rilke, Duino Elegy - Ninth


"The green earth sends her incense up.
From many a mountain shrine;
From folded leaf and dewey cup
She pours her sacred wine."
-  John Greenleaf Whittier


"In order for something to become clean, something else must become dirty."
-  Imbesi's Conservation of Filth Law


"Mountains are the beginning and the end of all natural scenery."
-  John Ruskin


"Maybe if I listen closely to the rocks
Next time, I'll hear something, if not
A word, perhaps the faint beginning
of a syllable."
-  Phoebe Hanson


Seeds and Cuttings
Hydrofarm Hot House Seed Starter 11-by-22-Inch    
Secrets of Plant Propagation: Starting Your Own Flowers, Vegetables, Fruits, Shrubs, and Trees  
Hydrofarm Jump Start Indoor Grow Light System  
Plant Propagation A to Z: Growing Plants for Free   
Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners   
Hydrofarm Germination Station with Heat Mat   
American Horticultural Society Plant Propagation: The Fully Illustrated Plant-by-Plant Manual     
Burpee Seed Starter: A Guide to Growing Flower, Vegetable, and Herb Seeds Indoors and Outdoors
Plant Propagator's Bible
The New Seed Starter's Handbook
RION MLT3 Mini Lean-To Greenhouse
Seed Sowing and Saving: Step-by-Step Techniques for Collecting and Growing  
Saving Seeds: The Gardener's Guide to Growing and Storing Vegetable and Flower Seeds
Seed Sowing and Saving: Step-by-Step Techniques for Collecting and Growing More Than 100 Vegetables, Flowers, and Herbs




"I find that a real gardener is not a man who cultivates flowers; he is a man who cultivates the soil.  He is a creature who digs himself into the earth and leaves the sight of what is on it to us gaping good-for-nothings.  He lives buried in the ground.  He builds his monument in a heap of compost.  If he came into the Garden of Eden, he would sniff excitedly and say: "Good Lord, what humus!"
-  Karel Capek, The Gardener's Year, 1931


"All clays are pretty well unworkable with ordinary implements.  For the melted toffee consistency of winter, you might prefer a large soup-ladle; for light working over summer, a hammer and cold chisel.  Is the soil always too wet or too dry?   No, there's a period - usually a day or two in May - when you can actually use a fork."
-  John Lucas, Backs to the Garden Wall


"There are fairies at the bottom of our garden."
-  Rose Fyleman


"The earth neither grows old or wears out if it is dunged."
-  Columella, circa 45 A.D.


"Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children.  We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."
-  Ancient Indian Proverb


"Touch the earth, love the earth, honour the earth, her plains, her valleys, her hills, and her seas; rest your spirit in her solitary places."
-  Henry Beston


"To reach a great height a person needs to have great depth."
-  Anonymous


"I conjure you, my brethren, to remain faithful to earth, and do not believe those who speak unto you of superterrestrial hopes!  Poisoners they are, whether they know it or not."
-  Friedrich Nietzsche


"Remain true to the earth."
-  Friedrich Nietzsche


"Nature does have manure and she does have roots as well as blossoms, and you can't hate the manure and blame the roots for not being blossoms."
-  Buckminster Fuller


"When the land is cultivated entirely by the spade and no horses are kept, a cow is kept for every three acres of land."
-  John Stuart Mill, 1806 - 1873


"In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock."
-  Thomas Jefferson


"When you throw dirt, you lose ground."
-  Texan proverb


"Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads."
-  Thoreau


"No sooner did I bend over and scratch the soil with the hoe that I began to unearth bits and pieces ... of my past.  Memories forever rooted in time were clustered in my garden consciousness like potatoes, waiting, crying to be dug up.  ...  I plant flowers and vegetables.  I harvest memories - and life."
-  Nancy H. Jordan


"I have a rock garden.   Last week three of them died."
-  Richard Diran


"Nature abhors a vacuity
Especially in perpetuity
She finds her felicity
In asymmetricity
And notices no incongruity."
Jim Clatfelter


"Nothing can be created out of nothing.
"Nil posse creari De nilo."
-  Lucretius,  99 -  55 B.C.


"Man - despite his artistic pretensions, his sophistication, and his many accomplishments - owes his existence to
a six inch layer of topsoil and the fact that it rains."
-   Author Unknown


"Seldom do we realize that the world is practically no thicker to us than the print of our footsteps on the path.  Upon that surface we walk and act our comedy of life, and what is beneath is nothing to us.   But it is out from that under-world, from the dead and the unknown, from the cold moist ground, that these green blades have sprung.
-  Richard Jefferies


Gardening at the Dragon's Gate: At Work in the Wild and Cultivated Worlds by Wendy Johnson
The Findhorn Garden: Pioneering a New Vision of Man and Nature in Cooperation by the Findhorn Community
The Inward Garden: Creating a Place of Beauty and Meaning by Julie Messervy 
A Garden's Promise: Spiritual Reflections on Growing from the Heart by Judith Couchman 
The Soul Garden: Creating Garden Spaces for Inner Growth and Spiritual Renewal by Donald Norfork 
The Druidry Handbook: Spiritual Practice Rooted in the Living Earth by John Michael Greer
Landscape as Spirit: Creating a Contemplative Garden by Martin Hakubai Mosko
Sacred Circle Garden by Karen and Mike Garofalo
Sacred Gardens by Michel and Judy Marcellot
Spiritual Gardening: Creating Sacred Space Outdoors by Peg Streep
Gardens for the Soul: Designing Outdoor Spaces Using Ancient Symbols and Healing Plants by Pamela Woods 





"I thought how utterly we have forsaken the Earth, in the sense of excluding it from our thoughts.  There are but few who consider its physical hugeness, its rough enormity.  It is still a disparate monstrosity, full of solitudes, barrens, wilds.  It still dwarfs, terrifies, crushes.  The rivers still roar, the mountains still crash, the winds still shatter.   Man is an affair of cities.  His gardens, orchards and fields are mere scrapings.  Somehow, however, he has managed to shut out the face of the giant from his windows.  But the giant is there, nevertheless.
-   Wallace Stevens, Letters, p. 73


"There is nothing pleasanter than spading when the ground is soft and damp."  
-  John Steinbeck


"To study the self is to forget the self.  To forget the self is to be enlightened by the ten thousand things."
-  Zen Master Dogen


"The more we understand individual things, the more we understand God."
-  Benedict De Spinoza,  1632 - 1677

"God is in the details."
-  Mies Van Der Rohe


"Details are all there are."
-  Maezumi


"You can bury a lot of troubles digging in the dirt."
-  Author Unknown


"There are two lasting bequests we can give our children: one is roots. The other is wings."
-  Hodding Carter, Jr.


"The earth is not a mere fragment of dead history, stratum upon stratum like the leaves of a book, to be studied by geologists and antiquaries chiefly, but living poetry like the leaves of a tree, which precede flowers and fruit - not a fossil earth, but a living earth; compared with whose great central life all animal and vegetable life is merely parasitic."
-  Henry David Thoreau, Walden


"There is a great pleasure in working in the soil, apart from the ownership of it.  The man who has planted a garden feels that he has done something for the good of the world."
-  Charles Dudley Warner, 1870


"Gardens were before gardeners, and but some hours after the earth."
-  Sir Thomas Browne 


"You are always picking up odd-shaped stones, pebbles and fossils, saying that you do this because it pleases you, but I know better.  Deep inside you there must be an awareness of the rock power, of the spirits in them, otherwise you would not pick them up and fondle them as you do."
-  Lame Deer,  Lame Deer: Seeker of Visions


"Soil . . . scoop up a handful of the magic stuff.   Look at it closely. What wonders it holds as it lies there in your palm.  Tiny sharp grains of sand, little faggots of wood and leaf fiber, infinitely small round pieces of marble, fragments of shell, specks of black carbon, a section of vertebrae from some minute creature.  And mingling with it all the dust of countless generations of plants and flowers, trees, animals and – yes – our own, age-long forgotten forebears, gardeners of long ago.  Can this incredible composition be the common soil?"
-  Stuart Maddox Masters, The Seasons Through 


"An acre in Middlesex is better than a principality in Utopia."
-  Baron Thomas B. Macaulay,  1800 - 1859


"Winter is the season dominated by bare soil: the whole gardening cycle begins with the care and preparation of the earth during winter so that it will feed plants the following year.  One of the things I enjoy about digging (and there are lots of things I enjoy about it) is the smell of the earth that is released by the spade cutting in and lifting clods that have been buried for a year.  Not only does the soil itself have a real scent, but the roots of the crop or plant - even weed - that has been growing there will also contribute to the mix, creating something new out of the vague remnants of last season's garden."
-  Monty Don, The Sensuous Garden, 1997


"Most of all one discovers that the soil does not stay the same, but, like anything alive, is always changing and telling its own story.   Soil is the substance of transformation."
-   Carol Williams


"Since the history's first epic poem recorded the visit of the Sumerian hero Gilgamesh to a special grove of cedars, certain natural spots scattered around the world - Ayers Rock, Mount Fuji, Canyon de Chelly, the springs at Lourdes, the Ganges River, and hundreds of others - have drawn people seeking insight, inspiration, healing or proximity to the divine."
-  Winifred Gallagher, The Power of Place, 1993


"Gardeners Know All The Dirt."
Popular Garden Sayings


"All you under the heaven!  Regard heaven as your father, earth as your mother, and all things as your brothers and sisters."
-  Shinto saying


"And all the times I was picking up potatoes, I did have conversations with them.  Too, I did have thinks of all their growing days there in the ground, and all the things they did hear.  Earth-voices are glad voices, and earth-songs come up from the ground through the plants; and in their flowering, and in the days before these days are come, they do tell the earth-songs to the wind ... I have thinks these potatoes growing here did have knowings of star-songs." 
-  Opel Whiteley, 8 years of age, The Singing Creek where the Willows Grow - The Mystical Nature Diary of Opal Whiteley, Penguin, 1994. 



"If we do not permit the Earth to produce beauty and joy, it will in the end not produce food either."
-  Joseph Wood Krutch

How to Support this Website


"To me a lush carpet of pine needles or spongy grass is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug."
-  Helen Keller


"There is something frank and joyous and young in the open face of the country.  It gives itself ungrudgingly to the moods of the season, holding nothing back."
-  Willa Cather


"from wet clay
where no seed will grow
the worm"
-  Elizabeth St. Jacques


"We're electrical beings living in a magnetic environment.  ...  Because we're finely tuned to subtle energy fields, when they vary, as they would on top of a mountain, we change biologically and psychologically too."
-  Louis Slesin


"Just as a prism of glass miters light and casts a colored braid, a garden sings sweet incantations the human heart strains to hear.  Hiding in every flower, in every leaf, in every twig and bough, are reflections of the God who once walked with us in Eden."
-  Tonia Triebwasser, The Color of Grace 


"Earth teach me to forget myself
as melted snow forgets its life.
Earth teach me resignation
as the leaves which die in the fall.
Earth teach me courage
as the tree which stands all alone.
Earth teach me regeneration
as the seed which rises in the spring."
-  William Alexander, A Father's Book, 1997

"Thus you can throw yourself flat on the ground, stretched out upon Mother Earth, with the certain conviction that you are one with her and she with you.   You are as firmly established, as invulnerable as she, indeed a thousand times firmer and more invulnerable.  As surely as she will engulf you tomorrow, so surely will she bring you forth anew to the new striving and suffering.  And not merely "some day."   Now, today, every day she is bringing you forth, not once but thousands upon thousands of times, just as every day she engulfs you a thousand times over."
-  Erwin Schroedinger, My View of the World, 1964, p.21


"No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, no culture comparable to that of the garden ...
But though an old man, I am but a young gardener."
-  Thomas Jefferson, Garden Book, 1811


"The real lowdown on gardening is ... dirt."   
-  Texas Bix Bender


"Talk of mysteries!  Think of our life in Nature - daily to be shown matter, to come in contact with it - rocks, trees, wind on our cheeks.  The solid earth!"
-  Henry David Thoreau


"Go where he will, the wise man is at home,
His hearth the earth, his hall the azure dome."
-  Ralph W. Emerson 


"To dig deep into the actual and get something out of that; this doubtless is the right way to live."
-  Henry James


"Now I see the secret of the making of the best persons. 
It is to grow in the open air, and to eat and sleep with the earth."
-  Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass


"In this broad earth of ours,
Amid the measureless grossness and the slag,
Enclosed and safe within its central heart,
Nestles the seed of perfection."
-  Walt Whitman, Song of the Universal


"The farther we get away from the land, the greater our insecurity."
-  Henry Ford


"Tread softly!  A signpost in one garden reads: Your feet are killing me!"


"There is always something rough and tumble about planting - because with our clumsy implements we must
reach from our atmospheric element down into another, down into the darkness of the soil."
-  Stanley Crawford


The earth is the very quintessence of the human condition.
- Hannah Arendt


"Consult the Genius of the Place in all."
-  Alexander Pope

"Things don't turn up in this world until somebody turns them up."
-  James A. Garfield


"The sacred tree, the sacred stone are not adored as stone or tree; they are worshipped precisely because they are hierophanies, because they show something that is no longer stone or tree but sacred, the  ganz andere or 'wholly other.'"
-  Mircea Eliade, Myths, Dreams and Mysteries


"The golden rule of gardening is to pay attention to local conditions of weather and soil." 
-  Carol Williams


"I am open to the accusation that I see compost as an end it itself.  But we do grow some real red damn tomatoes such as you can't get in the stores.  And potatoes, beans, lettuce, collards, onions, squash, cauliflower, eggplant, carrots, peppers.  Dirt in you own backyard, producing things you eat.  Makes you wonder."
-  Roy Blount, Jr. 


"To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves."
-  Mahatma Gandhi


"Mountains and rivers at this very moment are the actualization of the world of the ancient Buddhas.  Each, abiding in its phenomenal expression, realizes completeness."
-  Zen Master Dogen


"At the time Gothic cathedrals were designed, most people lived in dark huts, so just walking into a space vastly larger than what they were habituated to, lit by stained glass windows, was literally awe-inspiring.  Today, we're not as impressed by big buildings, so we have to go to very large mountains to experience that 'diminutive effect.'"
-  M. A. Persinger


"Sitting in my garden at midnight staring at the stars can also produce that 'diminutive effect.'"
-  Mike Garofalo


"By the deficiency or absence of one necessary constituent, all the others being present, the soil is rendered barren for all those crops to the life of which that one constituent is indispensable. 
-   Julius von Liebig, German physical soil chemist, Law of the Minimum, 1840


"A man's feet should be planted in his country, but his eyes should survey the world."
-  George Santayana


"Holy Mother Earth, the trees and all nature, are witnesses of your thoughts and deeds."
-  Winnebago Native American saying


"Spade!  Thou art a tool of honor in my hands.
I press thee, through a yielding soil, with pride."   
-  William Wordsworth


"I swear the earth shall surely be complete to him or her who shall be complete, 
The earth remains jagged and broken only to him or her who remains jagged and broken."
-  Walt Whitman, A Song of the Rolling Earth


"When I go into the garden with a spade, and dig a bed, I feel such an exhilaration and health that I discover that
I have been defrauding myself all this time in letting others do for me what I should have done with my own hands."
-  Ralph Waldo Emerson


Complexity: The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos by M. Mitchell Waldrop  
Complexity: A Guided Tour by Melanie Mitchell 
Sync: How Order Emerges From Chaos In the Universe, Nature, and Daily Life by Steven Strogatz 
Simply Complexity: A Clear Guide to Complexity Theory by Neil Johnson  
Linked: How Everything Is Connected to Everything Else and What It Means by Albert L. Barabasi 





"God gives all men all earth to love,
But, since man's hear is small,
Ordains for each one spot shall prove
Beloved over all."
-  Rudyard Kipling, 1865 - 1936


"The Country is both the Philosopher's Garden and his Library, in which he Reads and Contemplates the Power, Wisdom and Goodness of God."
-  William Penn, Some Fruits of Solitude In Reflections And Maxims, 1682


"The problem with property is that it takes so much of your time."
-  Willem de Kooning


"No man but feels more of a man in the world if he have a bit of ground that he can call his own.  However small it is on the surface, it is four thousand miles deep; and that is a very handsome property."
-  Charles Dudley Warner


"In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt." 
-  Margaret Atwood


"It was not until we saw the picture of the earth, from the moon, that we realized how small and how helpless this planet is - something that we must hold in our arms and care for."
-  Margaret Mead


"As we begin to comprehend that the earth itself is a kind of manned spaceship hurtling through the infinity of space - it will seem increasingly absurd that we have not better organized the life of the human family."
-  Hubert H. Humphrey


"And what a congress of stinks!-
Roots ripe as old bait,
Pulpy stems, rank, silo-rich,
Leaf mold, manure, lime, piled against slippery planks,
Nothing would give up life:
Even the dirt kept breathing a small breath."
-  Theodore Roethke, Root Cellar, 1948


"Remember that the faith that moves mountains always carries a pick."
-  Anonymous


"Smile O voluptuous coolbreathed earth!
Earth of the slumbering and liquid trees!
Earth of departed sunset!  Earth of the mountains misty-topt!
Earth of the vitreous pour of the full moon just tinged with blue!
Earth of shine and dark mottling the tide of the river!
Earth of the limpid gray of clouds brighter and clearer for my sake!
Far-swooping elbowed earth!  Rich apple-blossomed earth!
Smile, for your lover comes!"
-  Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass, 1855, I Celebrate Myself, Line 439


"God owns heaven, but He craves the earth."
-  Anne Sexton


"A spark in the sun,
this tiny flower has roots
deep in the cool earth."
-  Harry Behn


"It is always a great pleasure, and surprise, when you happen on just the perfect place in which to plant some special treasure." 
-  Margery Fish


"I am interested in the way that we look at a given landscape and take possession of it in our blood and brain.  None of us lives apart from the land entirely; such an isolation is unimaginable.  If we are to realize and maintain our humanity, we must come to a moral comprehension of earth and air as it is perceived in the long turn of seasons and of years."
-  N. Scott Momaday


"We go, in winter's biting wind,
On many a short-lived winter day,
With aching back but willing mind
To dig and double dig the clay."
-  Ruth Pitter, 1897-1992, The Diehards, 1941


"Nature comes home to one most when he is at home; the stranger and traveler finds her a stranger and traveler also.  One's own landscape comes in time to be a sort of outlying part of himself; he has sowed himself broadcast upon it, and it reflects his own moods and feelings; he is sensitive to the verge of the horizon: cut those trees, and he bleeds; mar those hills, and he suffers.  How has the farmer planted himself in his fields; builded himself into his
stone walls, and evoked the sympathy of the hills by his struggle!  This home feeling, this domestication of nature, is important to the observer.  This is the birdlime with which he catches the bird; this is the private door that admits him behind the scenes."
-  John Burroughs, 1837-1921


"The land now desolate will be tilled, instead of lying waste for every passer-by to see.  Everyone will say that this land which was waste has now become like a Garden of Eden."
-  Ezekiel 36:34-35


"The old people came literally to love the soil and they sat or reclined on the ground with a feeling of being close to a mothering power.  It was good for the skin to touch the earth and the old people liked to remove their moccasins
and walk with bare feet on the sacred earth.  Their tipis were built upon the earth and their altars were made of earth.  The birds that flew into the air came to rest upon the earth and it was the final abiding place of all things that lived and grew.  The soil was soothing, strengthening, cleansing and healing."
-  Chief Luther Standing Bear


"Mountains are to the rest of the body of the earth, what violent muscular action is to the body of man.  The muscles and tendons of its anatomy are, in the mountain, brought out with force and convulsive energy, full of expression, passion, and strength."
-  John Ruskin


"What will I do when I can no longer dig?"
-   Knute Hamson, Growth of the Soil


"Is it possible that I am not alone in believing that in the dispute between Galileo and the Church, the Church was right and the centre of man's universe is the earth?"
-  Stephen Vizinczey


"Perhaps some deep-rooted atavism urges the wanderer back to lands which his ancestors left in the dim beginnings of history.  Sometimes a man hits upon a place to which he mysteriously feels that he belongs.  Here is the home he sought, and he will settle amid scenes that he has never seen before, among men he has never known, as though they were familiar to him from his birth.  Here at last he finds rest."
-  W. Somerset Maugham, The Moon and Sixpence, 1919


"A hole is nothing at all, but you can still break your neck in it."
-  Author Unknown


"Keep your eyes on the stars, keep your feet on the ground."
-  Theodore Roosevelt


"A man who does not ask to much
become the promise of his land.
His marriage married
to his place, he waits
and does not stray."
-  Wendell Berry, The Clearing


"It is a sacred house that I have come to,
It is a sacred house that I have come to, Holaghei.
Now I have come to the House of the Earth."
-  Navajo song


"To see the earth as we now see it, small and beautiful in that eternal silence where it floats, is to see ourselves
as riders on the earth together, brothers on that bright loveliness in the unending night - brothers who see now
they are truly brothers."
-  Archibald MacLeish


"We have nowhere else to go ... this is all we have."
-  Margaret Mead


"When I am in the country, I wish to vegetate like the country."
-  William Hazlitt


"Thus this Earth resembles a great animall or rather an inanimate vegetable, draws in aethereal breath for its dayly refreshment and vitall ferment and transpires again grosses exhalations.  And, according to the condition of all other things living, ought to have its time of beginning, youth, old age and perishing."
-  Isaac Newton, 1705



Months and Seasons
Quotes, Poems, Sayings, Verses, Lore, Myths, Holidays
Celebrations, Folklore, Reading, Links, Quotations
Information, Weather, Gardening Chores
Compiled by Mike Garofalo
Winter Spring Summer Fall
January April July October
February May August November
March June September December  



"For here the religion that languishes in crowded cities or steals shame-faced to hide itself in dim churches, flourishes greatly, filling the soul with a solemn joy.  Face to face with Nature on the vast hills at eventide, who does not feel himself near to the Unseen?"
-  W. H. Hudson, The Purple Land


"Wherever you are is home
And the earth is paradise
Wherever you set your feet is holy land . . .
You don't live off it like a parasite.
You live in it, and it in you,
Or you don't survive.
And that is the only worship of God there is."
-  Wilfred Pelletier and Ted Poole


"I have sat here happy in the gardens,
Watching the still pool and the reeds
And the dark clouds....
But though I greatly delight
In these and the water lilies,
That which sets me nighest to weeping
Is the rose and white colour of the smooth flag-stones,
And the pale yellow grasses
Among them."
-  Richard Aldington, 1892-1962, Au Vieux Jardin


has happened

the world.
on the edge,

-  Robert Creeley,  Here


"The word humility (also human) is derived from the Latin humus, meaning "the soil."  Perhaps this is not simply because it entails stooping and returning to earthly origins, but also because, as we are rooted in this earth of everyday life, we find in it all the vitality and fertility unnoticed by people who merely tramp on across the surface,
drawn by distant landscapes."
-  Piero Ferrucci, Inevitable Grace


"Earth, my dearest, I will.  Oh believe me, you no longer need your springtimes to win me over - one of them,
ah, even one, is already too much for my blood.  Unspeakably, I have belonged to you, from the first."
-  Rainer Maria Rilke, Duino Elegies, 9th, 1923


"Going deeper
And deeper still -
Green Mountains"
-  Santoka


"The Earth Is Our Mother The Earth is our mother, we must take care of her
The Earth is our mother, we must take care of her.
Hey yana, ho yana, hey yan yan,
Hey yana, ho yana, hey yan yan.
Her sacred ground we walk upon, with every step we take
Her sacred ground we walk upon, with every step we take.
Hey yana, ho yana, hey yan yan,
Hey yana, ho yana, hey yan yan.
The Sky is our father, we must take care of him
The Sky is our father, we must take care of him
Hey yana, ho yana, hey yan yan,
Hey yana, ho yana, hey yan yan.
The Rivers are our sisters, we must take care of them
The Rivers are our sisters, we must take care of them.
Hey yana, ho yana, hey yan yan,
Hey yana, ho yana, hey yan yan.
The Trees are our brothers, we must take care of them
The Trees are our brothers, we must take care of them.
Hey yana, ho yana, hey yan yan,
Hey yana, ho yana, hey yan yan.  
-  Hopi (Native American, Arizona) Chant  Pagan Chant Library


Chaos: Making a New Science by James Gleick  
Simply Complexity: A Clear Guide to Complexity Theory by Neil Johnson   
The Essence Of Chaos by Edward Lorenz 
Dancing Wu Li Masters: An Overview of the New Physics by Gary Zukav  
Deep Simplicity: Bringing Order to Chaos and Complexity by John Gribbin 
Sync: How Order Emerges From Chaos In the Universe, Nature, and Daily Life by Steven Strogatz 
The Tao of Physics: An Exploration of the Parallels between Modern Physics and Eastern Mysticism by Fritjof Capra 





"A piece of the sky and a chunk of the earth lie lodged in the heart of every human being."
-  Thomas Moore


"Even before I could speak, I remember crawling through blueberry patches in the wild meadows on our hillsides.  I quickly discovered Nature was filled with Spirit; I never saw any separation between Spirit and Nature.  Much later I discovered our culture taught there was supposed to be some kind of separation - that God, Spirit and Nature were supposed to be divided and different.  However, at my early age it seemed absolutely obvious that the church of the Earth was the greatest church of all; that the temple of the forest was the supreme temple.  When I went to the sanctuary of the mountain, I found Earth's natural altar - Great Spirit's real shrine.  Years later I discovered that this path of going into Nature, bonding deeply with it, and seeing Spirit within Nature - God, Goddess, and Great Spirit - was humanity's most ancient, most primordial path of spiritual cultivation and realization."
-  John P. Milton, Sky Above, Earth Below


"You must teach your children that the ground beneath their feet is the ashes of your grandfathers.  So that they will respect the land, tell your children that the earth is rich with the lives of our kin.  Teach your children what we have taught our children, that the earth is our mother.  Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth.   If men spit upon the ground, they spit upon themselves."
-  Native American Wisdom


"he land is a mother that never dies." 
-  Maori Proverb


"God does not die on that day when we cease to believe in a personal deity, but we die when our lives cease to be illuminated by the steady radiance, renewed daily, of a wonder, the source of which is beyond all reasoning. ... When the sense of the earth unites with the sense of one's body, one becomes earth of the earth, a plant among plants, an animal born from the soil and fertilizing it. In this union, the body is confirmed in its pantheism."
-  Dag Hammarskjold


"I pledge devotion to the earth, our one and only home, and to the life this earth sustains; one nation, one spirit indivisible, with freedom and fulfillment for all."
-  Bruce Hagen, New Pledge of Allegiance, 1983


Freedom of Simplicity: Finding Harmony in a Complex World by Richard Foster  
Simplicity: The Freedom of Letting Go by Richard Rohr
Enough: Discovering Joy through Simplicity and Generosity by Adam Hamilton 
Voluntary Simplicity: Toward a Way of Life That Is Outwardly Simple, Inwardly Rich by Duane Elgin





"Land is the place where lessons are taught, where Wisdom abides; where we learn lessons about life and death from the seed broken open in darkness, dying in order to come to life in a different form, and from the compost which teaches us that decay is needed for life's richness. Land is the place where we are healed when no words can comfort or explain.  It is the place where we are taught about and find community; where everything is connected to everything else, and nothing exists independently; the place where everything feeds on and depends on the other."
-  Jeanne Clark




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The Spirit of Gardening Website

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       From January 1, 1999 through March 1, 2011
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