Quotes For Gardeners


Life, Birth, Rebirth, Growth

Compiled by Michael P. Garofalo

From the Spirit of Gardening Website







Still others make gardens because it is part of a full life.  To live happily they must invest their
hours and aspirations in the activities of another world.   And they draw the interest of delight and
refreshment according to the measure of their investment.  These are usually quaint folk, other-worldly
in their manner, but capable of comprehending the idiosyncrasies of Nature as she displays them in
a tree and bush and passing season, across the skyline and in the infinite zenith.   These, moreover,
are the successful gardeners.
-   Richardson Wright, Truly Rural, 1922



I suppose the pleasure of the country life lies really in the eternally
renewed evidences of the determination to live. That is a truism when
said, but anything but a truism when daily observed. Nothing shows
up the difference between the thing said or read,
so much as the daily experience of it.

- Vita Sackville-West, Country Notes, 1940




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If the garden of Eden really exits it does so moment by moment, fragmented and tough,
cropping up like a fan of buddleia high up in the gutter of a deserted warehouse, or in a heap
of frozen cabbages becoming luminous in the reflected light of roadside snow.
-  Helen Dumore, The Raw Garden




Life is a child playing around your feet, a tool you hold firmly in your grip,
a bench you sit down upon in the evening, in your garden.
-   Jean Anouilh





What you forget is that plants themselves want
to live as much as you want them to.  More.
-   Elizabeth Smart, Elizabeth's Garden, 1989





Affirmation of life is the spiritual act by which man ceases to live unreflectively and begins
to devote himself to his life with reverence in order to raise it to its true value.
To affirm life is to deepen, to make more inward, and to exalt the will to live.
-  Albert Schweitzer




"For a person who cultivates wisdom or true knowledge, the results are inner peace,
satisfaction, patience, respect for others, freedom from duplicity, compassion,
joyfulness, and remembrance of his spiritual identity..."
Chris Butler Speaks




Life is like an onion. You peel it off layer by layer and sometimes you cry.



Life isn't about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself.
-   George Bernard Shaw



If you would have a lovely garden,
you should live a lovely life.
-  Shaker saying




There is no clear distinction anywhere on the Earth's surface between
living and nonliving matter.  There is merely a hierarchy of intensity
going from the 'material' environment of the rocks and the
atmosphere to the living cells.
-   James Lovelock, What is Gaia?






A research project in Australia, entitled "The Congruent Garden: an
Investigation into the Role of the Domestic Garden in Satisfying
Fundamental Human Needs," interviewed  gardeners on the values of
gardening in their everyday lives.  The researcher, Mike Steven,
established that gardens have the potential to satisfy nine basic human
needs (subsistence, protection, affection, understanding, participation,
leisure, creation, identity, freedom) across four  existential states
(being, having, doing and interacting.)
-   Mike Steven, Lecturer in Landscape Studies,
    University of Westen Sydney, Australia





The bud is on the bough again,
The leaf is on the tree.
-   Charles Jefferys, 1807-1865, The Meeting of Spring and Summer.





What a miserable thing life is: you're living in clover,
only the clover isn't good enough.
-  Bertolt Brecht





I don't want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just
the length of it.  I want to have lived the width of it as well.
-   Diane Ackerman





The best things in life aren't things.
-   Art Buchwald





Why stay we on the earth except to grow?
        -   Robert Browning





For everything that lives is holy, life delights in life.
-William Blake



Fruits and Nuts





What I have been preparing to say is this, in wildness is the preservation of the
world ...  Life consists of wildness.  The most alive is the wildest.  Not yet subdued
by man, its presence refreshes him....  When I would re-create myself, I seek the
darkest wood, the thickest and most interminable and to the citizen, most dismal,
swamp.  I enter as a sacred place, a Sanctum sanctorum.  There is the strength,
the marrow, of Nature.  In short, all good things are wild and free.
-   Henry D. Thoreau, Walking, 1851





To create a garden is to search for a better world.  In our
effort to improve on nature, we are guided by a vision of
paradise.  Whether the result is a horticultural masterpiece
or only a modest vegetable patch, it is based on the
expectation of a glorious future.  This hope for the future is
at the heart of all gardening.
-   Marina Schinz





To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else.
-  Emily Dickinson





Don't go through life, grow through life.
-   Eric Butterworth





Life eludes logic.
-   Andre Gide





The healing power of being in a garden is now being documented by medical studies.
These studies show that patients in hospitals who look out on a garden take less
medication and go home quicker than those who look out on a parking lot or
on other buildings.  Alzheimer's patients are no longer violent when
placed in a garden.
-   Judith Handelsman, Growing Myself, 1997





Man at his birth is supple and tender,
but in death he is rigid and hard.
Plants when young are sinuous and moist,
but when old are brittle and dry.
Thus suppleness and tenderness are signs of life,
While rigidity and hardness are signs of death.
-   Lao-Tzu, Tao Te Ching





... we tend to forget that the body isn't just a hat rack for the mind, but the crucible
of development and the creator, monitor, and synthesizer of all our experience.
-   Winifred Gallagher,  The Power of Place, 1993, p. 102





In a strictly genetic sense, all organisms are unarguably
of one family.  Our numerous common features, especially
at the molecular level, indicate at least a close cousinhood,
a common descent from one or a few very similar ancestors.
-   Steven Vogel, Life's Devices, 1988





What are plants doing?    What are plants all about?  They serve human
beings by being decorative, but what is it from its own point of view?  
It's using up air; it's using up energy.  It's really not doing anything
except being ornamental.  And yet here's this whole vegetable world,
cactus plants, trees, roses, tulips, and edible vegetables, like cabbages,
celery, lettuce -- they're all doing this dance.
-   Alan Watts, Work as Play





In nature the life-death-rebirth cycle is clear as we watch flash fires
ignited by lightning level the prairies.  It may appear that all life is gone,
lost to the ravages of flame and smoke, but within days, tiny green shoots
begin to poke above the surface of the soil.  Mother Earth has cleared the
land for new life.  Even in my garden I sense the seasons and the cycle of
life-death-life.  Perennials planted in my yard years ago go through their
seasonal life span: a new green shoot, a blooming tulip, soon gone, but the
bulb below the soil holds all the necessary ingredients for
repeating the cycle again next spring.
-   Kathleen A. Brehony, Awakening at Midlife





Every luxury must be paid for, and everything is a luxury,
starting with being in the world.
-   Cesare Pavese





As the Garden Grows, so does the Gardener.





We can never have enough of nature.
We must be refreshed by the sight of inexhaustible vigor.
-  Henry David Thoreau,  Walden





Life is not lost by dying; life is lost minute by minute,
day by dragging day, in all the thousand small uncaring ways.
-  Stephen Vincent Benet





Working in the Garden - Quotes for Gardeners





Nature is, above all, profligate.   Don't believe them when they tell you how
economical and thrifty nature is, whose leaves return to the soil.  
Wouldn't it be cheaper to leave them on the tree in the first place?

-   Annie Dillard





Life is a dead-end street.
-   Henry L. Mencken




Mark how fleeting and paltry is the estate of man--yesterday in embryo,
tomorrow a mummy or ashes. So for the hairsbreadth of time assigned
to thee, live rationally, and part with life cheerfully, as drops the ripe
olive, extolling the season that bore it and the tree that matured it.
-   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations





Everything possessed the power to transform itself, or else,
and what meant more, to be transformed.
-  Wallace Stevens




The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees
Is my destroyer.
And I am dumb to tell the crooked rose
My youth is bend by the same wintry fever.
-  Dylan Thomas, 1914-1953




It's said that when we die, the four elements - earth, air, fire and water - dissolve one by one,
each into the other, and finally just dissolve into space.  But while we're living, we share
the energy that makes everything, from a blade of grass to an elephant, grow and
live and then inevitably wear out and die.  This energy, this life force,
creates the whole world.
-   Pema Chodron





Without waiting forever in vain for the preconceived,
to dig deep into the actual and get something out of that,
this doubtless is the right way to live.
-   Henry James





The same stream of life that runs through my veins night and day runs
through the world and dances in rhythmic measures.  It is the same life
that shoots in joy through the dust of the earth in numberless blades of
grass and breaks into tumultuous waves of leaves and flowers.  It is the
same life that is rocked in the ocean-cradle of birth and of death, in ebb
and in flow.  I feel my limbs are made glorious by the touch of this world
of life. And my pride is from the life-throb of ages dancing in
my blood this moment.
-   Rabindranath Tagore, Gitanjali





There are no gardening mistakes, only experiments.   
-   Janet Kilburn Phillips





Life is like a game of cards.
The hand that is dealt you represents determinism;
the way you play it is free will.
-   Jawaharlal Nehru





In all things of nature there is something marvelous.
- Aristotle




Trees - Quotes for Gardeners





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





Love-buds, put before you and within you, whoever you are,
Buds to be unfolded on the old terms;
If you bring the warmth of the sun to them, they will open, and bring
form, color, perfume, to you;
If you become the aliment and the wet, they will become flowers,
fruits, tall blanches and trees.
-  Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass





Breathless, we flung us on a windy hill, Laughed in the sun,
and kissed the lovely grass.
-  Rupert Brooke




Sex and Love in the Garden




The hen is an egg's way of producing another egg.
-  Samuel Butler





I promise to keep on living as though I expected to live forever.
Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years.  People
grow old by deserting their ideals.  Years may wrinkle the skin,
but to give up wrinkles the soul.
-  Douglas MacArthur





Plant on a whim.  Lay the footpath where your heart says it should be.
Change things because you feel like it.  Garden for the love of it.  
-   Lindley Karstens





It is amazing how many people want to live a long life,
and yet so few want to grow old.





It is not true that life is one damn thing after another.
It's one damn thing over and over.
-   Edna St. Vincent Millay





Farm like you'll live forever, and live like you'll die tomorrow.
-  Proverb from New England, U.S.





Life begins the day you start a garden.
-  Chinese Proverb




What is life?  It is the flash of a firefly in the night.  It is the
breath of a buffalo in the wintertime.  It is the little shadow
which runs across the grass and looses itself in the sunset.
-  Crowfoot




The best use of life is to spend it
for something that outlasts life.
-   William James





Only to a magician is the world forever fluid, infinitely mutable and
eternally new.  Only he knows the secret of change, only he knows
truly that all things are crouched in eagerness to become something
else, and it is from this universal tension that he draws his power.

-   Peter Beagle






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More Quotes




Spirituality and Concerns of the Soul


Weeds and Weeding


Pulling Onions
Quips, Maxims and Observations by Michael P. Garofalo

The Essence of Gardening

Working in the Garden

Garden Digest Links


Haiku Poetry  -  Links and Guides

Cliches for Gardeners and Farmers

The History of Gardening Timeline
From Ancient Times to the 20th Century

Short Poems and Haiku by Michael P. Garofalo

Seeing and Vision

Beauty in the Garden

Seasons and Time

Zen Poetry

Comments about this Web Site

Jokes, Riddles and Humor



Quotes for Gardeners

Quotes, Sayings, Proverbs, Poetry, Maxims, Quips, Cliches, Adages, Wisdom
A Collection Growing to Over 2,000 Quotes, Arranged by 105 Topics
Many of the Documents Include Recommended Readings and Internet Links.
Compiled by Michael P. Garofalo



The Spirit of Gardening






Distributed on the Internet by Michael P. Garofalo


I Welcome Your Comments, Ideas, Contributions, and Suggestions
E-mail Mike Garofalo in Red Bluff, California

A Short Biography of Mike Garofalo

Life -  Quotes for Gardeners.   Version 3.3.9

The Spirit of Gardening

Haiku and Zen Poetry

The History of Gardening Timeline

Quotes for Gardeners