Advice for Old Gardeners

Quotes for Those that Love
Gardens, Gardening and the Green Way


Compiled by Michael P. Garofalo





Old men ought to be explorers
Here and there does not matter
We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity
For a further union, a deeper communion
-   T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets - East Coker # 200, 1943





I want Death to find me planting my cabbages.
-   Michel De Montaigne






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Live each day as if it were your last,
and garden as though you will live forever.
-  Author Unknown






Planting is one of my great amusements, and even of those things
which can only be for posterity, for a Septuagenary has no right
to count on any thing but annuals.
-   Thomas Jefferson







Now the gardener is the one who has seen everything ruined so many times
that (even as his pain increases with each loss) he comprehends - truly
knows - that where there was a garden once, it can be again, or where
there never was, there yet can be a garden.
-  Henry Mitchell








You find a flower half-buried in leaves,
And in your eye its very fate resides.
Loving beauty, you caress the bloom;
Soon enough, you'll sweep petals from the floor.

Terrible to love the lovely so,
To count your own years, to say "I'm old,"
To see a flower half-buried in leaves
And come face to face with what you are.

-    Han Shan, circa 630 CE
              Translated by Peter Stambler
     Cold Mountain Buddhas






Death and Dying - Quotes for Gardeners






A man shall ever see, that, when age grows to civility and elegancy,
men come to build stately sooner than to garden finely;
as if gardening were the greater perfection.

-   Frances Bacon






Drive your cart and plow over the bones of the dead.
-  William Blake, Proverbs of Hell







Then here's a hail to each flaming dawn
And here's a cheer to the night that's gone
And may I go a roaming on - until the day I die!
-   Gravestone in the Adirondacks






Apprentice yourself to nature.   Not a day will pass
without her opening a new and wondrous world of
experience to learn from and enjoy.
-   Richard W. Langer






The Education of a Gardener




As one grows older one should grow more expert at finding beauty
in unexpected places, in deserts and even in towns, 
in ordinary human faces and among wild weeds. 
-   C.C.Vyvyan




Man's mind, once stretched by a new idea, 
never regains its original dimensions.
-  Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.






To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent
persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of
honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; to
appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one's self;
to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a
garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and
laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even
one life has breathed easier because you have lived -
this is to have succeeded.
-  Ralph Waldo Emerson







Worry does not change the future,
It saps the strength from the present.






We come from the earth, we return to the earth, 
and in between we garden.







When planning for a year, plant corn. 
When planning for a decade,plant trees. 
When planning for life, train and educate people.
-  Chinese Proverb






Just as the bee takes the nectar and leaves without damaging the color
or scent of the flowers, so should the sage act in a village.

-    Dhammapada, Sayings of the Buddha, Pali Cannon







Quotes for Gardeners

Quotes, Sayings, Proverbs, Poetry, Maxims, Quips, Clichés, Adages, Wisdom
A Collection Growing to Over 2,700 Quotes Arranged by Over 130 Topics
Many of the Documents Include Recommended Readings and Internet Links.
Compiled by Michael P. Garofalo







Love this Earth as if you won't be here tomorrow;
show reverence for your Garden as if you will be here forever.
-  Scottish proverb







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How astonishingly does the chance of leaving the world improve a sense of
its natural beauties upon us.  Like poor Falstaff, although I do not 'babble,'
I think of green fields; I muse with the greatest affection on every flower I
have know from my infancy - their shapes and colours are as new to me
as if I had just created them with superhuman fancy.
-  John Keats, 1820






For the sake of goodness and love,
Man shall let Death have
No sovereignty over his thoughts.
-  Thomas Mann, Magic Mountain







The more one gardens, the more one learns;  
And the more one learns, the more one realizes 
how little one knows.
- Vita Sackville-West






Spirituality - Quotes for Gardeners







Old gardeners never die. 
They just spade away and then throw in the trowel.
-   Herbert V. Prochnow


Old gardeners never die, they just go to seed.

Old gardeners never die, they are just pruned back hard and repotted.








           I do not wish to die -
          There is such contingent beauty in life:
          The open window on summer mornings
           Looking out on gardens and green things growing,
          The shadowy cups of rose flowering to themselves-
           Images of time and eternity-
          Silence in the garden and felt along the walls.
          The room is suddenly filled with sun, 
           Like a sacrament one can never be
          Sufficiently thankful for.  Door ajar,
          The eye reaches across from one
          Open window to another, eye to eye,
          And then the healing spaces of the sky ......
-   Alfred Leslie Rowse, 1903-






Death is more universal than life - everyone dies but not everyone lives.
-  Author Unknown






The true gentleman does not preach what he practices
till he has practiced what he preaches.
-  Confucius









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I will garden on the double run,
my rhythm obvious in the ringing rakes,
and trust in fate to keep me poor and kind
and work until my heart is short,
then go out slowly with a feeble grin,
my fingers flexing but my eyes gone gray
from cramps and the lack of oxygen.
-   Richard Hugo, The Way a Ghost Dissolves







Cold Mountain Buddhas

Han Shan and Han Shan Te'-Ch'ing







I am spending delightful afternoons in my garden, watching
everything living around me.  As I grow older, I feel everything
departing, and I love everything with more passion.
-   Emile Zola







                             My robe hangs in the garden,
          dripping like a tree.
    One day I'll step
  out of my body
    exactly like this.
   It's easy to die.
             Just give your breath
     back to the trees
and the wind.
                                      -    Peter Levitt, 100 Butterflies







Practically speaking, a life that is vowed to simplicity, appropriate
boldness, good humor, gratitude, unstinting work and play, and
lots of walking brings us close to the actual existing world
and its wholeness.
-  Gary Snyder








I have come to terms with the future.   From this day onward
I will walk easy on the earth.  Plant trees.  Kill no living things.
Live in harmony with all creatures.  I will restore the earth
where I am.  Use no more of its resources than I need. 
And listen, listen to what it is telling me.

-   M.J. Slim Hooey







The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures;
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul;
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;
Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.
Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
-  King David (circa 950 B.C.) Bible, Psalm 23







"I have done my best."
That is about all the philosophy of living one needs.
-   Lin Yutang







Gardening for food is one of the most important ways in which we
can encourage positive health.  I would also suggest that this links
directly to our conceptions of death as a society.  By attempting to
create boundaries between death as life and distance ourselves
from processes of decay,  I feel that we cut ourselves off from
process of life, such as the process of growing food, of touching
the earth (literally), making compost and the realization that
rotting is the precursor of fertility and growth.
-   Joanne Tippett, Death, Sex and Gardening.





The Good Life






Basically, there can only be two answers.  One is to overcome separateness
and find unity by regression to the state of unity which existed before
awareness ever arose, that is, before man was born.  The other answer is
to be fully born, to develop one’s awareness, one’s reason, one’s capacity
to love to such a point that one transcends one’s own egocentric involvement,
and arrives at a new harmony, at a new oneness with the world.
-  Erich Fromm






Four rules of life:  Show up, Pay attention,
Tell the truth, Don't be attached to the results.
-  Angeles Arrien







Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. 
Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and
rumored by many.  Do not believe in anything simply because
it is found written in your religious books.  Do not believe in
anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders.
Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed
down for many generations.  But after observation and
analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason
and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all,
then accept it and live up to it.






Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like
a sunless garden when the flowers are dead.
-  Oscar Wilde






Among gardeners, enthusiasm and experience rarely exist
in equal measures.  The beginner dreams of home-grown bouquets
and baskets of ripe fruit, the veteran of many seasons has learned
to expect slugs, mildew, and frost.
-  Roger Swain






I think the true gardener is a lover of his flowers, not a 
critic of them.  I think the true gardener is the reverent 
servant of Nature, not her truculent, wife-beating master.  
I think the true gardener, the older he grows, should more
and more develop a humble, grateful and uncertain spirit.
-   Reginald Farrer, In a Yorkshire Garden, 1909







To be able to practice five things everywhere under heaven 
constitutes perfect virtue: gravity, generosity of soul, 
sincerity, earnestness, and kindness.
-  Confucius, 500 BC







I find the love of garden grows upon me as I grow older more and more.  Shrubs and
flowers and such small gay things, that bloom and please and fade and wither and are
gone and we care not for them, are refreshing interests, in life, and if we cannot say
never fading pleasures, we may say unreproved pleasures and never grieving losses.
-   Maria Edgeworth, 1832






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 the 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 callused palm and dirty fingernails precede a Green Thumb.
Wishes are like seeds, few ever develop into something.
Sitting in a garden and doing nothing is high art everywhere.
Beauty is the Mistress, the gardener Her slave. 
When all the chores are done, the avid gardener will invent some new ones.
Where are the fig blossoms?  Exceptions to every rule.
Only two percent of all insects are harmful.  Why are they all in my garden?
The joyful gardener is evidence of an incarnation.  
To dig is to discover. 
-   Michael P. Garofalo, Pulling Onions







My Grandmother standing wordless
fifteen minutes                    

Between rows of loganberries,        
    clippers poised in her hand.
-   Gary Snyder, The Old Dutch Woman





There are no green thumbs or black thumbs. There are only gardeners
and non-gardeners.   Gardeners are the ones who ruin after ruin get on
with the high defiance of nature herself, creating, in the very face of her
chaos and tornado, the bower of roses and the pride of irises. It sounds
very well to garden a 'natural way'.  You may see the natural way in any
desert, any swamp, any leech-filled laurel hell.  Defiance, on the other
hand, is what makes gardeners.
-   Henry Mitchell

















Links and Suggested Readings



Cheerfulness - Quotes for Gardeners

Thematic Index to Quotes and Poems for Gardeners








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More Quotes





Spirituality and Concerns of the Soul


Weeds and Weeding

Simplicity and the Simple Life

Pulling Onions
Quips and Observations by Michael P. Garofalo

The Essence of Gardening

Working in the Garden

Garden Digest Links


Haiku Poetry  -  Links and References

Clichés for Gardeners and Farmers

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

Short Poems by Mike Garofalo

Seeing and Vision

Beauty in the Garden

Seasons and Time

Comments about this Web Site

Jokes, Riddles and Humor




Quotes for Gardeners

Quotes, Sayings, Proverbs, Poetry, Maxims, Quips, Clichés, Adages, Wisdom
A Collection Growing to Over 2,700 Quotes, Arranged by 130 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



Death, Old Age - Quotes for Gardeners.:  Version 1
This document was first distributed on the Internet on January 12, 2003.






The Spirit of Gardening

Haiku and Zen Poetry

The History of Gardening Timeline

Quotes for Gardeners