Flower Sayings

The Spirit of Gardening

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A flower's fragrance declares to all the world that it is fertile,
available, and desirable, its sex organs oozing with nectar.  
Its smell reminds us in vestigial ways of fertility, vigor, life-force,
all the optimism, expectancy, and passionate bloom of youth. 
We inhale its ardent aroma and, no matter what our ages,
we feel young and nubile in a world aflame with desire.
-   Diane Ackerman,  A Natural History of the Senses, 1990, p. 13





flow2.gif (27433 bytes)






I'd rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck.
-   Emma Goldman






I know of no other genus whose plants flower out-of-doors
every day of the year.  I know of no other genus with one
or more species coming into bloom or growth,
peaking or going dormant at every season.
-   Nancy Goodwin, Cyclamen






I do not think I have ever seen anything more beautiful
than the bluebell I have been looking at.  
I know the beauty of our Lord by it.
-  Gerald Manley Hopkins






Where flowers bloom so does hope.
-  Lady Bird Johnson, Public Roads: Where Flowers Bloom






Trees - Quotes, Poetry, Maxims and Sayings for Gardeners






Each flower is a soul opening out to nature.
-   Gerald De Nerval






Perfumes are the feelings of flowers.
- Heinrich Heine






The world is a rose; smell it and pass it to your friends.
- Persian Proverb





Flowers II - Quotes and Poems





When bright flowers bloom
Parchment crumbles, my words fade
The pen has dropped ...
-   Morpheus





Are we, finally, speaking of nature or culture when
we speak of a rose (nature), that has been bred (culture)
so that its blossoms (nature) make men
imagine (culture) the sex of women (nature)?
It may be this sort of confusion that we need more of.
-   Michael Pollan, Second Nature, 1991






Flowers are love's truest language.
-   Park Benjamin




The Earth Laughs in Flowers
-  Ralph Waldo Emerson





To pick a flower is so much more satisfying than just observing it,
or photographing it ...  So in later years, I have grown in my
garden as many flowers as possible for children to pick.
-   Anne Scott-James





I will be the gladdest thing under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers
And not pick one.
-  Edna St. Vincent Millay





flower arrangement:
just two yellow daffodils,
the first to bloom
-  L.A. Davidson, The Shape of the Tree
Haiku is What?





Belladonna: In Italian, a beautiful lady; in English a deadly poison.
-Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary





They are not long, the days of wine and roses:
Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
Within a dream.
-   Ernest Dowson, 1867 - 1900





There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud
was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
-   Anais Nin




Flowers II - Quotes for Gardeners

Quotes, Links, References




Flowers are the sweetest things God
ever made and forgot to put a soul into.
-   Henry Ward Beecher, Life Thoughts





What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.
-   Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet





What grows in the garden, so lovely and rare?
Roses and Dahlias and people grow there.
-   From the TV show A Gardener's Diary





Work - Quotes, Poetry, Maxims and Sayings for Gardeners





And if you voz to see my roziz
As is a boon to all men's noziz, -
You'd fall upon your back and scream -
'O Lawk!  O criky!  it's a dream!'
-  Edward Lear, 1885





It is at the edge of a petal that love waits.
- William Carlos Williams




If you pass by the color purple in a field and
don't notice it, God gets real pissed off.
-   Alice Walker





I didn't know what narcissism was
until I beheld my own naricssus.
-   Charles Kuralt





Lone and erect, beneath light's primal flood,
A lily!  and pure as any one of you.
-   Mallarme






Who can estimate the elevating and refining influences and moral value 
of flowers with all their graceful forms, bewitching shades and combinations
of colors and exquisitely varied perfumes?  These silent influences are
unconsciously felt even by those who do not appreciate them consciously
and thus with better and still better fruits, nuts, grains, vegetables and
flowers, will the earth be transformed, man's thought refined, and turned
from the base destructive forces into nobler production.  One which will
lift him to high planes of action toward the happy day when the Creator
of all this beautiful work is more acknowledged and loved, and where man
shall offer his brother man, not bullets and bayonets, but richer grains, 
better fruit and fairer flowers from the bounty of this earth.

-   Father George Schoener (1864 -1941),
    The Importance and Fundamental Principles of Plant Breeding





Take time to smell the roses.
Gardening Cliches






For myself I hold no preferences among flowers,
so long as they are wild, free, spontaneous.
Bricks to all greenhouses! 

Black thumb and cutworm to the potted plant!
-   Edward Abbey






Observe this dew-drenched rose of Tyrian gardens
A rose today.  But you will ask in vain
Tomorrow what it is; and yesterday
It was the dust, the sunshine, and the rains.
-  Christina Rosetti




There are philosophies as varied as the flowers of the field,
and some of them weeds and a few of them poisonous weeds.
But they none of them create the psychological conditions
in which I first saw, or desired to see, the flower.
-   G. K. Chesterton





Since Iris is the Greek goddess for the Messenger of Love, her sacred
flower is considered the symbol of communication and messages.
Greek men would often plant an iris on the graves of their beloved
women as a tribute to the goddess Iris, whose duty it was to
take the souls of women to the Elysian fields.
-   Hana No Monogatari: The Stories of Flowers





The actual flower is the plant's highest fulfilment, and are not
here exclusively for herbaria, county floras and plant
geography: they are here first of all for delight.
-   John Ruskin




In the dooryard fronting an old farm-house near the white-wash'd
Stands the lilac-bush tall-growing with heart-shaped leaves of rich
with many a pointed blossom rising delicate, with the perfume strong I
With every leaf a miracle - and from this bush in the dooryard,
With delicate-color'd blossoms and heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
A sprig with its flower I break.
-   Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass, 1865





If there were nothing else to trouble us, the fate of the flowers would make us sad.
-   John Lancaster Spalding, Aphorisms and Reflections





Forsythia is pure joy.   There is not an ounce, not a
glimmer of sadness or  even knowledge in forsythia. 
Pure, undiluted, untouched joy.
-  Anne Morrow Lindbergh





With a few flowers in my garden, half a dozen pictures
and some books, I live without envy.
-   Lope de Vega





If seeds in the black earth can turn into such beautiful
roses, what might not the heart of man become in its
long journey toward the stars?
-  G.K. Chesterton





I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.
-  Claude Monet





In the cherry blossom's shade
there's no such thing
as a stranger.
-   Issa





Flowers are not made by singing "Oh, how beautiful,"
and siting in the shade.
-   Rudyard Kipling




`Uo `ia i ka manai ho`okahi.
Strung like flowers on the same lei needle.

Hawaiian Proverbs





Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes -
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.
-  Elizabeth Barrett Brownbing





Different flowers look good to different people
Pick the flower when it is ready to be picked.
The flower that you spent time to care for does not grow while the willow
that your accidentally planted flourishes and gives shade. 
Chinese Proverbs





Little flower, but if I could understand, what you are, root
and all in all, I should know what God and man is.
-  Tennyson





He who is born with a silver spoon in his mouth is generally
considered a fortunate person, but his good fortune is small
compared to that of the happy mortal who enters this world
with a passion for flowers in his soul.
-   Celia Thaxter





True friendship is like a rose: we don't realize its beauty until it fades.
-  Evelyn Loeb




If of thy mortal goods thou art bereft,
And of thy meager store
Two loaves alone to thee are left,
Sell one, and with the dole
Buy hyacinths to feed thy soul.
-   Sheikh Muslih-uddin Saadi Shirazi, The Gulistan of Saadi,   1270




As well as any bloom upon a flower
I like the dust on the nettles, never lost
Except to prove the sweetness of a shower.
-  Edward Thomas, 1878-1917





In my garden there is a large place for sentiment.  My garden of flowers
is also my garden of thoughts and dreams.  The thoughts grow as freely
as the flowers, and the dreams are as beautiful.
-   Abram L. Urban






In friendship's fragrant garden,
There are flowers of every hue.
Each with its own fair beauty
And its gift of joy for you.
Friendship's Garden





The flower is the poetry of reproduction. 
It is an example of the eternal seductiveness of life.
-   Jean Giraudoux





None can have a healthy love for flowers
unless he loves the wild ones.
-   Forbes Watson





The old tree is shook
White blossoms slowly float down
Dancers in the wind
-   Alexandra Kim




Seasons - Quotes, Poetry, Maxims and Sayings for Gardeners





From a thorn comes a rose, and from a rose comes a thorn.
Greek Proverb

He who wants a rose must respect the thorn.
Persian Proverb

The rose has thorns only for those who would gather it.
-   Chinese proverb

But ne'er the rose without the thorn.
-  Robert Herrick

We can complain because rose bushes have thorns,
or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.
-  Abraham Lincoln


                  This old world that we're livin' in
Is might hard to beat.
                 You get a thorn with every Rose
         But - ain't the roses sweet?
-  Frank Stanton


Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns.
I am thankful that thorns have roses.
-   Alphonse Karr (1808-1890)

Often the prickly thorn produces tender roses
-  Ovid


Nullum est iam dictum quod non dictum sit prius.
Nothing is said that hasn't been said before.
-   Terence, Eunuchus
[Actually, plenty remains to the said about what
has not been said before and what has been said before.]

Everything has been thought of before, but the difficulty is to think of it again.
-  Goethe





In the hope of reaching the moon
men fail to see the flowers
that blossom at their feet.
-   Albert Schweitzer





When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, 
it's your world for the moment. I want to give that world to 
someone else.  Most people in the city rush around so, 
they have no time to look at a flower.  I want them to see
it whether they want to or not.
-   Georgia O'Keeffe





Simplicity - Quotes for Gardeners




Let us open our leaves like a flower,
and be passive and receptive.
-   John Keats





If, I can someday see M. Claude Monet's garden, I feel sure that I shall see something that
is not so much a garden of flowers as of colours and tones, less an old-fashioned flower
garden than a colour garden, so to speak, one that achieves an effect not entirely nature's,
because it was planted so that only the flowers with matching colours will bloom at the
same time, harmonized in an infinite stretch of blue or pink.
-   Marcel Proust, "Splendours". Le Figaro, June 15, 1907





It will never rain roses.  When we want to have more roses, 
we must plant more roses.
-   George Eliot




At dawn I asked the lotus,
'What is the meaning of life?'
Slowly she opened her hand
with nothing in it.
-   Debra Woolard Bender, Paper Lanterns





Science, or para-science, tells us that geraniums bloom better if they
are spoken to.  But a kind word every now and then is really quite
enough.  Too much attention, like too much feeding, and weeding
and hoeing, inhibits and embarrasses them.
-   Victoria Glendinning






Flowers bring to a liberall and gentlemanly minde 
the remembrance of honestie, comelinesse and 
all kindes of virtues.  

-   John Gerard






Who would have thought it possible that a tiny little flower
could preoccupy a person so completely that there simply
wasn't room for any other thought....
-   Sophie Scholl





Today as in the time of Pliny and Columella, the hyacinth
flourishes in Wales, the periwinkle in Illyria, the daisy on
the ruins of Numantia; while around them cities have
changed their masters and their names, collided and
smashed, disappeared into nothingness, their peaceful
generations have crossed down the ages as fresh and
smiling as on the days of battle.
-   Edgar Quinet, Philosophy of Human History, 1825







Let me show you
Sweet smell of a delicate whisper
Behind the vision of gardens
Go and read of your life
Tiny ripping at the heart
Drunk from a rose

-   Erica Caitlin Lee




And 't is my faith, that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes.
-  William Wordsworth




Flowers II - Quotes and Poems





The garden should be adorned with roses and lilies, the turnsole, violets, and mandrake;
there you should have parsley, cost, fennel, southern-wood, coriander, sage, savory,
hyssop, mint, rue, dittany, smallage, pellitory, lettuces, garden-cress, and peonies.   There
should also be beds planted with onions, leeks, garlic, pumpkins and shallots.   The
cucumber growing in its lap, the drowsy poppy, the daffodil and brank-ursine ennoble
a garden.  Nor are there wanting, if occasion further thee, pottage-herbs: beets,
herb-mercury, orache, sorrel and mallows, anise, mustard, white pepper and
wormwood do good service to the gardener.
-  Alexander of Neckham, Of the Nature of Things, 1187





One of the most attractive things about
  the flowers is their beautiful reserve.
-  Henry David Thoreau





Flowers leave some of their fragrance in the hand that bestows them.
-  Chinese proverb





I don't know whether nice people tend to grow roses
or growing roses makes people nice.
-   Roland A Beowne




We gathered the wild-flowers.
Yes, life there seem'd one pure delight;
As thro' the field we rov'd.
Yes, life there seem'd one pure delight.
-   George Linley





Silently a flower blooms,
In silence it falls away;
Yet here now, at this moment, at this place,
The world of the flower, the whole of
the world is blooming.
This is the talk of the flower, the truth
of the blossom:
The glory of eternal life is fully shining here.
-  Zenkei Shibayama..






Flowers construct the most charming geometries: circles like the sun,
ovals, cones, curlicues and a variety of triangular eccentricities, which
when viewed with the eye of a magnifying glass seem a Lilliputian
frieze of psychedelic silhouettes.
-   Duane Michals, The Vanishing Act





A rose is a rose is a rose.
- Gertrude Stein






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I have a garden of my own,
But so with roses overgrown,
And lilies, that you would it guess
to be a little wilderness.
-  Andrew Marvell





Break open
A cherry tree
And there are no flowers,
But the spring breeze
Brings forth myriad blossoms.
-  Ikkyu Sojun, 1394-1481





A flowerless room is a soulless room, to my way of thinking; 
but even on solitary little vase of a living flower may redeem it.
-   Vita Sackville-West




If thou canst but thither,
There grows the flower of Peace,
The Rose that cannot wither,
Thy fortress and thy ease.
-   Henry Vaughn





Simply trust:
Do not the petals flutter down,
Just like this?
-  Issa






Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose garden.
-   T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets




All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today.
-  Indian Proverb





Every flower about a house certifies to the refinement of somebody.
Every vine climbing and blossoming tells of love and joy"
-   Robert G.  Ingersoll




Lowly, with a broken neck,
The crocus lays her cheek to mire.
-   George Meredith





Every child is born a naturalist. His eyes are, by nature, 
open to the glories of the stars, the beauty of the flowers, 
and the mystery of life.  

-  R. Search






The Amen! of Nature is always a flower.
-   Oliver Wendell Holmes




Spirituality - Quotes, Poetry, Maxims and Sayings for Gardeners




Eighty percent of the world's rose species come from Asia.





Don't try to force anything.   Let life be a deep let-go.
See [God/Spirit/All That Is] opening millions of flowers
every day without forcing the buds.
-  Bhagwan Shree Rayneesh




To analyze the charms of flowers is like dissecting music;
it is one of those things which it is far better to enjoy,
than to attempt to fully understand.
-  Henry T. Tuckerman






In joy or sadness, flowers are our constant friends.
-  Kozuko Okakura





                                                      I didn't know the names
                                                      of the flowers - now
                                                      my garden is gone.
                                                                             -    Allen Ginsberg





The gardens that make us happiest flourish because we have taken the time to make sure
they feed our souls and fill a special place in our lives. Sometimes you have to think about
what you really want from your garden ...
once the beds are laid out and the rose bushes planted.
-   Lindley Karstens






You love the roses - so do I.  I wish
The sky would rain down roses, as they rain
From off the shaken bush.  Why will it not?
Then all the valley would be pink and white
And soft to tread on.  They would fall as light
As feathers, smelling sweet; and it would be
Like sleeping and like waking, all at once!
-   George Eliot, Roses





In the 1600's, a language of flowers developed in Constantinople
and in the poetry of Persia.  Charles II introduced the Persian
poetry to Europe, and Lady Mary Wortley Montagu brought
the flower language from Turkey to England in 1716. It spread
to France and became a handbook of 800 floral messages
known as the Book Le Language des Fleurs. Lovers exchanged
messages as they gave each other selected flowers or bouquets. 
A full red rose meant beauty.  Red and white mean unity.  Crocus
said "abuse not", while a white rosebud warns that one is too
young for love.   Yellow roses were for jealousy, yellow iris for
passion, filbert for reconciliation and ivy for marriage.

Valentine's Day Love Traditions











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January 23, 2003