Spirituality and Gardening, Mysticism and Gardens, Pantheism 
Nature Mysticism, Nature Spirits and Gardening 
Gardening as a Spiritual Practice, Devas
Spirituality and Gardening - Part I

Part I     Part II    Seasons     Gardening     Walking     Religion     Blog 

Simplicity     Interdependence     Animals     Flowers     Seeing     Devas

Trees     Water     Earth     Air     Taoism     Beauty     Druidry

Nature Spirits     Index     Nature Mysticism     Home      

Compiled by Mike Garofalo

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



"The many great gardens of the world, of literature and poetry, of painting and music, of religion and architecture, all make the point as clear as possible:  The soul cannot thrive in the absence of a garden.  If you don't want paradise, you are not human; and if you are not human, you don't have a soul."
-  Thomas Moore, The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life, 1996, p. 101 


"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. 


"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


"And oh if there be an Elysium on earth,
It is this, it is this!"
-  Thomas Moore. 1779-1852


"There is more pleasure in making a garden than in contemplating a paradise."
- Anne Scott-James


"I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to." 
-  Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings 


"A garden is the best alternative therapy." 
-  Germaine Greer  


"Without the body, the wisdom of the larger self cannot be known." 
-  John Conger 


"We belong to no cult.  We are not Nature Lovers.  We don't love nature any more than we love breathing.  Nature is simply something indispensable, like air and light and water, that we accept as necessary to living, and the nearer we can get to it the happier we are."  
-  Louise Dickenson Rich


"Nature poets can't walk across the backyard without tripping over an epiphany."
-  Christian Wiman 


"When a garden is used as a place to pause for thought, that is when a Zen garden comes to life.  When you contemplate a garden like this it will form as lasting impression on your heart."
-  Muso Soseki in The Temple in the House by Anthony Lawlor


"So we'll live, and pray and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh
At gilded butterflies ...
And take upon us the mystery of things
As if we were Gods' spies."
-  Shakespeare, King Lear, V 3 


"I did however used to think, you know, in the woods walking, and as a kid playing the the woods, that there was a kind of immanence there - that woods, a places of that order, had a sense, a kind of presence, that you could feel; that there was something peculiarly, physically present, a feeling of place almost conscious ... like God.  It evoked that."
-  Robert Creely, Robert Creely and the Genius of the American Common Place, p. 40


"God is the experience of looking at a tree and saying, "Ah!""
-  Joseph Campbell


"When you touch a body, you touch the whole person, the intellect, the spirit, and the emotions."
-  Jane Harrington 


The Art of Happiness by the Dali Lama
Time and the Art of Living by Robert Grudin
Loving Kindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness by Sharon Salzberg 
The Druidry Handbook: Spiritual Practice Rooted in the Living Earth by John Michael Greer
Simple Taoism: A Guide to Living in Balance by Alexander Simkins
The Tao of Daily Life: The Mysteries of the Orient Revealed by Derek Lin
Everyday Tao: Living with Balance and Harmony by Ming-Dao Deng 
Ripening Peaches: Taoist Studies and Practices by Mike Garofalo
The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff 
Scholar Warrior: An Introduction to the Tao in Everyday Life by Ming-Dao Deng
Vitality, Energy, Spirit: A Taoist Sourcebook by Thomas Cleary





"Connection with gardens, even small ones, even potted plants, can become windows to the inner life.  The simple act of stopping and looking at the beauty around us can be prayer."  
-  Patricia R. Barrett, The Sacred Garden   


"Natural objects themselves, even when they make no claim to beauty, excite the feelings, and occupy the imagination.  Nature pleases, attracts, delights, merely because it is nature.  We recognize in it an Infinite Power." 
-  Karl Wilhelm Humboldt


"The first act of awe, when man was struck with the beauty or wonder of Nature, was the first spiritual experience."
-  Henryk Skolimowski 


“A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful implanted in the human soul.”
-  Johann Wolfgang Goethe   


"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


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


"It is only when you start a garden - probably after age fifty - that you realize something important happens every day." 
-  Geoffrey B. Charlesworth  


"A little too abstract, a little too wise,
It is time for us to kiss the earth again,
It is time to let the leaves rain from the skies,
Let the rich life run to the roots again."
-  Robinson Jeffers  


"When we touch this domain, we are filled with the cosmic force of life itself, we sink our roots deep into the black soil and draw power and being up into ourselves.  We know the energy of the numen and are saturated with power and being.  We feel grounded, centered, in touch with the ancient and eternal rhythms of life.  Power and passion well up like an artesian spring and creativity dances in celebration of life."  
-  David N. Elkins  


"It is forbidden to live in a town that does not have a green garden."
Talmud, Yerushalmi, Kiddushin 4:12


"Here in this body are the sacred rivers: here are the sun and moon, as well as all the pilgrimage places.  I have not encountered another temple as blissful as my own body." 
-  Saraha  


"Your garden will reveal yourself."
-  Henry Mitchell


"If we had a keen vision of all ordinary life, it would be like hearing the grass grow or the squirrel's heart beat, and we should die of the roar which lies on the other side of silence. As it is, the quickest of us walk about well-wadded with stupidity."
-  George Eliot  


"Work without contemplation is never enough." 
-  Douglas Steere


"A person who cares about the earth will resonate with its purity."
-  Sally Fox  


"Spirituality is meant to take us beyond our tribal identity into a domain of awareness that is more universal."
-  Deepak Chopra


"If you want to reach the infinite, then explore every aspect of the finite."
-  Goethe  


"In the assemblies of the enlightened ones there have been many cases of mastering the Way bringing forth the heart of plants and trees; this is what awakening the mind for enlightenment is like.  The fifth patriarch of Zen was once a pine-planting wayfarer; Rinzai worked on planting cedars and pines on Mount Obaku.   ...  Working with plants, trees, fences and walls, if they practice sincerely they will attain enlightenment." 
-  Dogen Zenji, Japanese Zen Buddhist Grand Master , Awakening the Unsurpassed Mind, #31 


"You never enjoy the world aright, till the sea itself floweth in your veins, 'till you are clothed with the heavens and crowned with the stars."
-  Thomas Traherne


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


"Spirituality is like a bird:
If you hold it too closely, it chokes,
And if you hold it too loosely, it escapes." 
-  Israel Salanter Lipkin 


"Your mind is a garden, your thoughts are the seeds, the harvest can be either flowers or weeds." 
-  Author Unknown 


"Enlightenment is just another word for feeling comfortable with being a completely ordinary person." 
-  Veronique Vienne   


"There is a little plant called reverence in the corner of my soul's garden, which I love to have watered once a week."
-  Oliver Wendell Holmes


"When the healthy nature of man acts as a whole, when he feels himself to be in the world as in a great, beautiful, noble, and valued whole, when harmonious ease affords him a pure and free delight, then the universe, if it could experience itself, would exult, as having attained its goal, and admire the climax of its own becoming and essence."
-  Goethe


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





"Nature holds the key to our aesthetic, intellectual, cognitive and even spiritual satisfaction."
-  Edward O. Wilson


"Speaking of today, I do not consider it intellectually respectable to be a partisan in matters of religion.  I see religion as I see other basic fascinations as art and science, in which there is room for many different approaches, styles, techniques, and opinions.  Thus I am not formally a committed member of any creed or sect and hold no particular religious view or doctrine as absolute.  I deplore missionary zeal, and consider exclusive dedication to and advocacy of any particular religion, as either the best or the only true way, as almost irreligious arrogance.  Yet my work and life are fully concerned with religion, and the mystery of being is my supreme fascination, though, as a shameless mystic, I am more interested in religion as feeling and experience that as conception and theory."
-  Alan Watts, In My Own Way, p. 61, 1972


"Gardening helps us realize somatically, viscerally, the laws of growth and gradual unfolding.  We can't pull the plants up to make them grow, but we can help facilitate and midwife their blooming, each in his own way, time, and proper season.  I have learned a little about patience and humility from my gardens.  It's so obviously not something I'm doing that creates this miracle!  I also like to reflect upon and appreciate the exquisitely, evanescent, transitory, and poignant nature of things in the garden.  If you love the Dharma, you have to farm it. Go to a garden.  Just stand in it.  Breathe in the air, the fragrances, the light, the temperature, the music of the different plants, insects, birds, worms, caterpillars, grasshoppers, and butterflies.  Inhale the prana (cosmic energy) of all the abundantly growing things.  Recharge your inner batteries.  This is the joy of natural meditation."
-  Lama Surya Das, Awakening to the Sacred, 1999


"Modern man no longer regards Nature as in any sense divine and feels perfectly free to behave toward her as an overweening conqueror and tyrant."
-  Aldous Huxley


"A person who undertakes to grow a garden at home, by practices that will preserve rather than exploit the economy of the soil, has his mind precisely against what is wrong with us....   What I am saying is that if we apply our minds directly and competently to the needs of the earth, then we will have begun to make fundamental and necessary changes in our minds.  We will begin to understand and to mistrust and to change our wasteful economy, which markets not just the produce of the earth, but also the earth's ability to produce."
-  Wendell Berry, 1970


"In a field I am the absence of field.   That is always the case.  Wherever I am, I am what is missing.  When I walk I part the air and always the air moves in to fill the space where my body has been.  We all have reasons for moving.  I move to keep things whole."
-  Mark Strand


"Do not, I beg you, look for anything behind phenomena.  They are themselves their own lesson."
-  Goethe


"The comfortable and comforting people are those who look upon the bright side of life; gathering its roses and sunshine, and making the most that happens seem the best."
-  Dorothy Dix


"What is divinity if it can come
Only in silent shadows and in dreams?
Shall she not find in comforts of the sun,
In pungent fruit and bright, green wings, or else
In any balm or beauty of the earth,
Things to be cherished like the thought of heaven?
Divinity must live within herself:
Passions of rain, or moods in falling snow;
Grievings in loneliness, or unsubdued
Elations when the forest blooms; gusty
Emotions on wet roads on autumn nights;
All pleasures and all pains, remembering
The bough of summer and the winter branch,
These are the measures destined for her soul."   
-  Wallace Stevens, Sunday Morning, 1915


"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


"We are here and it is now.   Further than that all human knowledge is moonshine."
-  Henry L. Mencken


"In this light, my spirit saw through all things and into all creatures, and I recognized God in grass and plants."
-  Jacob Boehme


"I am the dust in the sunlight, I am the ball of the sun . . .  
I am the mist of morning,  the breath of evening . . . .
I am the spark in the stone, the gleam of gold in the metal . . . .
The rose and the nightingale drunk with its fragrance.
I am the chain of being, the circle of the spheres,
The scale of creation, the rise and the fall.
I am what is and is not . . .
I am the soul in all."
-  Rumi


"A little group of thatched cottages in the middle of the village had an orchard attached; and I remember well the peculiar purity of the blue sky seen through the white clusters of apple blossom in spring.  I remember being moonstruck looking at it one morning early on my way to school.  It meant something for me; what, I couldn't say.  It gave me such an unease at heart, some reaching out towards perfection such as impels men into religion, some sense of the transcendence of things, of the fragility of our hold on life."
-  A. L. Rowse


"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


"What if our religion was each other
If our practice was our life
If prayer, our words.
What if the temple was the earth
If forests were our church
If holy water - the rivers, lakes, and oceans.
What if meditation was our relationships
If the Teacher was life
If wisdom was self-knowledge
If love was the center of our being."
-  Ganga White, for the Rainforest Benefit, New York City, April 1998


"Methinks my own soul must be a bright invisible green."
-  Henry David Thoreau


"A garden is so much like a church.  So much care and feeding.  Such competitiveness among the plants — some of them literally choke each other to death if you don't get out there and put a stop to it.  The big gorgeous ones get lots of attention, but then one comes along that looks almost dead all season and suddenly, almost overnight, blooms splendidly forth.  Never write anybody off completely. You just don't know."
-  Barbara Cawthorne Crafton in Let Us Bless the Lord, Year One


"There are points of time, of distant memory, when the soul unites within the pattern of the universe.  That union brings forth the understanding of life's harmony.  So it should be within the garden ..."
-  Author Unknown


"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


"Wisdom is oftentimes nearer when we stoop than when we soar."
-  William Wordsworth, 1798


"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


"Gardens will be the peaceful haven we all need."
-  Paul Tukey


"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


"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.  It is the source of all true art and science."
-  Albert Einstein


"I've read all the books but one
Only remains sacred: this
Volume of wonders, open
Always before my eyes."
-  Kathleen Raine


"When I see
Heaven and earth as
My own garden,
I live that moment
Outside the Universe."
A Zen Harvest: Japanese Folk Zen Sayings, p. 53


"The point in life is to know what's enough - why envy those otherwold immortals?  With the happiness held in one inch-square heart you can fill the whole space between heaven and earth."
-   Gensei (1623-1668), Poem Without a Category
    The Enlightened Heart,
Edited by Stephen Mitchell, p. 86


"Attachment to spiritual things is ... just as much an attachment as inordinate love of anything else."
-  Thomas Merton


".... all blades of grass, wood, and stone, all things are One."
-  Meister Eckhart


"The trees reflected in the river -- they are unconscious of a spiritual world so near to them.  So are we."
-  Nathaniel Hawthorne


"Mental sunshine will cause the flowers of peace, happiness and prosperity to grow upon the face of the earth.  Be a creator of mental sunshine."
-  Kathi's Garden


"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


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 





"The secret of beginning a life of deep awareness and sensitivity lies in our willingness to pay attention. Our growth as conscious, awake human beings is marked not so much by grand gestures and visible renunciations as by extending loving attention to the minutest particulars of our lives. Every relationship, every thought, every gesture is blessed with meaning through the wholehearted attention we bring to it. In the complexities of our minds and lives we easily forget the power of attention, yet without attention we live only on the surface of existence. It is just simple attention that allows us truly to listen to the song of a bird, to see deeply the glory of an autumn leaf, to touch the heart of another and be touched. We need to be fully present in order to love a single thing wholeheartedly. We need to be fully awake in this moment if we are to receive and respond to the learning inherent in it."
-  Christina Feldman and Jack Kornfield, Stories of the Spirit, Stories of the Heart


"The atmosphere of our time is fast being cleared of the fumes and deadly gases that arose during the carboniferous age of theology."
-  John Burroughs, The Light of Day, 1900 


"There may be fairies at the bottom of the garden.  There is no evidence for it, but you can't prove that there aren't any, so shouldn't we be agnostic with respect to fairies?"
-   Richard Dawkins


"All finite things reveal infinitude:
The mountain with its singular bright shade
Like the blue shine on freshly frozen snow,
The after-light upon ice-burdened pines;
Odor of basswood upon a mountain slope,
A scene beloved of bees;
Silence of water above a sunken tree:
The pure serene of memory of one man,--
A ripple widening from a single stone
Winding around the waters of the world."
-  Theodore Roethke


"The first time it happened, I was in a forest in the north of France.  I must have been twenty-five or twenty-six.  I had just been hired to teach high school philosophy in a town on the edge of a canal, up in the fields near the Belgian border.  That particular evening, some friends and I had gone out for a walk in the forest we liked so much.  Night had fallen.  We were walking.  Gradually our laughter faded, and the conversation died down.  Nothing remained but our friendship, our mutual trust and shared presence, the mildness of the night air and of everything around us ....  My mind empty of thought, I was simply registering the world around me―the darkness of the underbrush, the incredible luminosity of the sky, the fair sounds of the forest (branches snapping, an occasional animal call, our own muffled steps) only making the silence more palpable.  And, then, all of sudden.... What"  Nothing: Everything!  No words, no meanings, no questions, only―a surprise.  Only―this.  A seemingly infinite happiness.  A seemingly eternal sense of peace.  Above me, the starry sky was immense, luminous and unfathomable, and within me there was nothing but the sky, of which I was a part, and the silence, and the light, like a warm hum, and a sense of joy with neither subject or object (no object other than everything, no subject other than itself).  Yes, in the darkness of that night, I contained only the dazzling presence of the All.  Peace.  Infinite peace!  Simplicity, serenity, delight."
-  André Compte-Spoonville, The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality, p.155


"Acts of creation are ordinarily reserved for gods and poets.  To plant a pine, one need only own a shovel."
-  Aldo Leopold


"Enlightenment is just another word for feeling comfortable with being a completely ordinary person."
-  Veronique Vienne


"There is no language of the holy.  The sacred lies in the ordinary."
-  Deng Ming-Dao


"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 (1905-1961)


"O most honored Greening Force,

You who roots in the Sun;
You who lights up, in shining serenity, within a wheel
that earthly excellence fails to comprehend.

You are enfolded
in the weaving of divine mysteries.

You redden like the dawn
and You burn: flame of the Sun."
Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179), Viriditas


"I live so much in my habitual thoughts that I forget there is any outside to the globe, and am surprised when I behold it as now--yonder hills and river in the moonlight, the monsters. Yet it is salutary to deal with the surface of things. What are these rivers and hills, these hieroglyphics which my eyes behold? There is something invigorating in this air, which I am peculiarly sensible is a real wind, blowing from over the surface of a planet. I look out at my eyes. I come to my window, and I feel and breathe the fresh air. It is a fact equally glorious with the most inward experience. Why have we ever slandered the outward?"
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), Journal Vol. 4, 1852


"For thirty years I have been in search of the swordsman;
Many a time have I watched the leaves decay
and the branches shoot!
Ever since I saw for once the peaches in bloom,
Not a shadow of doubt do I cherish."
-  Ling-Yün and the Peach Blossoms
   D.T. Suzuki,  Essays in Zen Buddhism, 1953, 2nd Series, p. 145



Months and Seasons
Quotes, Poems, Sayings, Verses, Lore, Myths, Holidays
Celebrations, Folklore, Reading, Links, Quotations
Information, Weather, Gardening Chores



















"In our everyday garden grow the rosemary, juniper, ferns and plane trees, perfectly tangible and visible.  For these plants that have an illusory relationship with us, which in no way alters their existentiality, we are merely an event, an accident, and our presence, which seems so solid, laden with gravity, is to them no more than a momentary void in motion through the air.  Reality is a quality that belongs to them, and we can exercise no rights over it."
-  Leo Lionni


"For optimal health, we need body and spirit, exercise (ming) and meditation, awareness of the inner world and the outer.  In other words, health requires balance and moderation.  The goal of qigong may be summarized as xing ming shuang xiu, "spirit and body equally refined and cultivated."  Cultivate your whole being, as you would cultivate a garden - with attention, care, and even love."
-  Ken Cohen, Essential Qigong, 2005, p. 2


"Then all at once in late August's heat, tall leafless stalks crowned with iridescent pink and purple blossoms burst from the purgatory in the earth.  This arcane act of nature, though perceived by us as ordinary, is a manifestation of Maya's phantom play, the great immensity expressed in every way.  My garden is the universe.  I am the universe.  I am my garden.  All things are the same."
-  Duane Michals, The Vanishing Act, speaking about the Lycoris,  Resurrection lily


Lifestyle Advice for Wise Persons compiled by Mike Garofalo
Loving Kindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness by Sharon Salzberg
Original Blessing: A Primer in Creation Spirituality by Matthew Fox
A Path with Heart: A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life by Jack Kornfield
The Solitary Druid: A Practitioner's Guide by Robert Lee Skip Ellison
Sweeping Changes: Discovering the Joy of Zen in Everyday Tasks by Gary Thorp
Time and the Art of Living by Robert Grudin
The Tao of Daily Life by Derek Lin
Walkers Between the Worlds:  The Western Mysteries from Shaman to Magus by Caitlin and John Matthews  





"Gardens are not created or made, they unfold, spiraling open like the silk petals of an evening primrose flower to reveal the ground plot of the mind and heart of the gardener and the good earth."
-  Wendy Johnson


"Re-earthing is the process of re-connecting ourselves with the earth.  Practically, we learn to nurture the soil and grow the things we need; psychologically we become 'grounded' and more balanced as we develop our awareness of how the earth under our feet supports and connects us; emotionally we gain a sense of well-being, when we connect with it as our home; intellectually we learn more about it at every opportunity; metaphysically we honour it as one of the four elements; and, on the spiritual plane, we learn to respect and reverence the Earth, as a manifestation, or, if you so believe, the divine creation, of life energy, whose evolutionary history from the beginning of the universe all beings share."
Urban Permaculture and Urban Ecology: Re-Earthing the Cities


"The human tendency to regard little things as important has produced very many great things."
-  Georg Chistoph Lichtenberg


"In our bodies, in this moment, there live the seed impulses of the change and spiritual growth we seek, and to awaken them we must bring our awareness into the body, into the here and now."
-  Pat Ogden


"Heed ye Flower, Bush and Tree,
By the Lady, Blessed Be.
Where the rippling waters go,
Cast a stone and truth you'll know."
Dragon Willow

"An it harm none, do what thou wilt."


"Our bodies are our gardens, to which our wills are gardeners."
-  William Shakespeare


"The gardens of Islam also embody a religious ideal.  The name 'Paradise' comes from 'pairdaeza,' Old Persian for a park or enclosure, and wherever Islam held sway can be found enclosed, paradisiacal gardens.  These ideal oases of a dessert people have trees for shade, and water, revered as an elemental force, for music and entrancement, and its ability to open the mind to inspiration."
-  Jennifer Westwood in Sacred Journeys


"God is a pure no-thing,
concealed in now and here;
the less you reach for him,
the more he will appear."
-  Angelus Silesius  (1624-1677)


"The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common."
-  Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Gardening often straightens the body and aligns the spirit.  
It is more about You and Now, rather than Them and Back Then. 
There is not much to say about the "Unknown."  
To dig is to discover. 
The Ten Thousand Things are more enchanting than the Silent One. 
Rather than "love mankind," it'd rather admire a few good people. 
A callused palm and dirty fingernails precede a Green Thumb.
Complexity is closer to the Truth. 
Sitting in a garden and doing nothing is high art everywhere.
Does a plum tree with no fruit have Buddha Nature?   Whack!!   
The only Zen you'll find flowering in the garden is the Zen you bring there each day. 
A garden is quite ordinary, yet still sacred.  
Dogmatists are less useful than dogs. 
This cabbage, these carrots, these potatoes, these onions .. will soon become me.  Such a tasty fact!
It is best to shut one's mouth when facing the sacred. 
Time creeps, wals, runs and flies - it is all about moving things. 
Inside the gardener is the spirit of the garden outside.
Dearly respect the lifestyle of worms.   
All enlightened beings are enchanted by water.
Becoming invisible to oneself is one pure act of gardening.
Priapus, lively and naughty, aroused and outlandish, is the Duende de el Jardin.
Inside the gardener is the spirit of the garden outside.
Gardening is a kind of deadheading - keeping us from going to seed.   
The joyful gardener is evidence of an incarnation. 
One purpose of a garden is to stop time.
Leafing is the practice of seeds.
Remember that the River of Forgetfulness flows by the Elysian Fields.
People who speak loudly about the "One True Religion" scare the ship out of most of us. 
No body then no mind; no mind then a useless body. 
When the Divine knocks, don't send a prophet to the door.
Most Laws of Gardening are merely local ordinances. "
-  Michael P. Garofalo, Pulling Onions


"The source of nature is spirit."
-  Larry Gates


"The beauty of the trees,
the softness of the air,
the fragrance of the grass,
speaks to me.
The summit of the mountain,
the thunder of the sky,
speaks to me.
The faintness of the stars,
the trail of the sun,
the strength of fire,
and the life that never goes away,
they speak to me.
And my heart soars."
-  Chief Dan George 



"This is the realm of true reality where you forget what is on your mind and stop looking.  In a wild field, not choosing, picking up whatever comes to hand, the obvious meaning of Zen is clear in the hundred grasses.  Indeed, the green bamboo, the clusters of yellow flowers, fences, walls, tiles, and pebble us the teaching of the inanimate; rivers, birds, trees, and groves expound suffering, emptiness, and selflessness.  This is based on the one true reality, producing unconditional compassion, manifesting uncontrived, supremely wondrous power in the great jewel light of nirvana.

An ancient master said, "Meeting a companion on the Way, spending a life together, the whole task of study is done."  Another master said, "If I pick up a single leaf and go into the city, I move the whole of the mountain."  That is why one ancient adept was enlightened on hearing the sound of pebbles striking bamboo, while another was awakened on seeing peach trees in bloom.  An ancient worthy, working in the fields in his youth , was breaking up clumps of earth when he saw a big clod, which he playfully smashed with a fierce blow; as it shattered, he was suddenly greatly enlightened.  One Zen master attained enlightenment on seeing the flagpole of a teaching center from the other side of a river.  Another spoke of the staff of the spirit.  One adept illustrated Zen realization by planting a hoe in the ground; another master spoke of Zen in term of sowing the fields.  All of these instances were bringing out this indestructible true being, allowing people to visit a greatly liberated true teacher without moving a step.

Carrying out the unspoken teaching, attaining unhindered eloquence, thus they forever studied all over from all things, embracing the all-inclusive universe, detaching from both abstract and concrete definitions of buddhahood, and transcendentally realizing universal, all pervasive Zen in the midst of all activities.  Why necessarily consider holy places, teachers' abodes, or religious organizations and forms prerequisite to personal familiarity and attainment of realization?"

-  Yuan-Wu, The House of Lin-Chi, "The Five Houses of Zen," translated by Thomas Cleary, Shambhala Press, 1997, p. 58.  



"There is a twofold meaning in every creature, a literal and a mystical, and the one is but the ground of the other."  
-  John Smith


"To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour."
-  William Blake, Auguries of Innocence, 1863

How to Support this Website


"And this, our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything."
-  William Shakespeare


"Paradise is exactly like where you are right now ... only much, much better."
-  Laurie Anderson


"And every stone and every star a tongue,
And every gale of wind a curious song.
The Heavens were an oracle, and spoke
Divinity: the Earth did undertake
The office of a priest; and I being dumb
(Nothing besides was dumb) all things did come
With voices and instructions..."
-  Thomas Traherne, Dumbness, 17th Century


"The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature.  To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body, but the soul.  Share the botanical bliss of gardeners through the ages, who have cultivated philosophies to apply to their own - and our own - lives: Show me your garden and I shall tell you what you are.
-  Alfred Austin, 1835-1913


"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


"When one Buddha who perfected the Way
beholds the Dharma world,
all those in the plant-and-tree realms,
without exception,
attain Buddhahood."
-  Keami, Nue (a No libretto), circa 1440 


"I think this is what hooks one to gardening: it is the closest one can come to being present at creation."
-  Phyllis Theroux


"The more contemplative gardener, seeing the garden as a whole, the design of it, and its nature as a still place of delight and refreshment, will wait and hope for the moment when it seems to achieve perfection.  Awareness of when such moments are most likely helps to make them happen; they will not be entirely accidental but anticipated; everything will be planned to encourage them."
-  Susan Hill and Rory Stuart, Reflections from a Garden, 1995


"There are sacred moments in life when we experience in rational and very direct ways that separation, the boundary between ourselves and other people and between ourselves and Nature, is illusion.  Oneness is reality. We can experience that stasis is illusory and that reality is continual flux and change on very subtle and also on gross levels of perception . ."
-  Charlene Spretnak


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  





"There exists an abundance of evidence to indicate that mind-changing drugs have been used since remotest antiquity by many of the peoples of the earth, and have importantly affected the course of human history.  The plant sources of these drugs--the visionary vegetables--have been worshiped as gods in many times and places, and the persons employing the drugs as a means of acquiring "super-natural powers'' have been the priests, prophets, visionaries, and other leaders of their respective societies.  East and West, civilized and primitive, religious thought and all that flows from it almost certainly has been importantly influenced by the psychedelic drugs..."  
-   R.E.L. Masters and Jean Houston,
    The Varieties of Psychedelic Experience, 1966, p. 36.


"I prefer to their dogma my excursions into the natural gardens where the voice of the Great Spirit is heard in the twittering of birds, the rippling of might waters, the sweet breathing of flowers, and a wee child toddling in a wonder world.  If this is Paganism, then at present, at least, I am a Pagan."
-  Gertrude Simmons Bonnin, "Zitkala-Sa"


"The Great Way has no gate.
Clear water has no taste.
The tongue has no bone.
In complete stillness, a stone girl is dancing."
-  Seung Sahn


"Japanese gardens ask that you go beyond the garden spiritually, that you look at the garden not merely as an object but also as a path into the realms of spirit."
-  Makoto Ooka in The Temple in the House by Anthony Lawlor


"Eden is that old-fashioned House
We dwell in every day
Without suspecting our abode
Until we drive away."
-  Emily Dickinson





"Interconnectedness.  Spirit and body chemistry.  Loving intention.  Living with awareness of oneness with all aspects of life - including each other and food - lies at the heart of enlightened eating and the mystery of food's ability to nourish both body and soul.  By approaching food meditatively and with loving intention, we may go beyond the level of thought and intuit the sacred connection between Mother Earth, food, and humankind."
-  Deborah Kesten, Feeding the Body, Nourishing the Soul, p. 217


The Findhorn Garden: Pioneering a New Vision of Man and Nature in Cooperation   
The Inward Garden: Creating a Place of Beauty and Meaning by Julie Messervy  
Landscape as Spirit: Creating a Contemplative Garden by Martin Hakubai Mosko 
Chop Wood Carry Water: A Guide to Finding Spiritual Fulfillment in Everyday Life edited by Rick Fields
Dharmapada Sutra by the Buddha
The Druidry Handbook: Spiritual Practice Rooted in the Living Earth by John Michael Greer
Heart of Yoga: The Sacred Marriage of Yoga and Mysticism by Karuna Erickson and Andrew Harvey
Tao Te Ching by Lao Tsu, 500 BCE. 
Mind-Body Movement Arts by Mike Garofalo





"If not ignored, nature will cultivate in the gardener a sense of well-being and peace.  The gardener may find deeper meaning in life by paying attention to the parables of the garden.  Nature teaches quiet lessons to the gardener who chooses to live within the paradigm of the garden."
-  Norman H. Hansen 


"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


"I am the dust in the sunlight, I am the ball of the sun . . .
I am the mist of morning, the breath of evening . . . .
I am the spark in the stone, the gleam of gold in the metal . . . .
The rose and the nightingale drunk with its fragrance.
I am the chain of being, the circle of the spheres,
The scale of creation, the rise and the fall.
I am what is and is not . . .
I am the soul in all."
-  Rumi


"There is no need to go to India or anywhere else to find peace. You will find that deep place of silence right in your room, your garden or even your bathtub."
-  Elisabeth Kubler-Ross


"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


"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


"Gardens bring us into contact with the cycles and irrefutable laws of nature, teaching us indelible lessons about ourselves and about the messy, difficult, and beautiful processes of living."
-  Cait Johnson in Earth, Water, Fire, and Air


If thy heart were right, then every creature would be a mirror of life and a book of holy doctrine.  There is no creature so small and abject, but it reflects the goodness of God."
-  Thomas 'A Kempis, Imitation of Christ


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  





"I believe that the universe is one being, all its parts are different expressions of the same energy, and they are all in communication with each other, therefore parts of one organic whole.  (This is physics, I believe, as well as religion.)  The parts change and pass, or die, people and races and rocks and stars; none of them seems to me important it itself, but only the whole.  The whole is in all its parts so beautiful, and is felt by me to be so intensely in earnest, that I am compelled to love it, and to think of it as divine.  It seems to me that this whole alone is worthy of the deeper sort of love; and that there is peace, freedom, I might say a kind of salvation, in turning one's affections outward toward this one God, rather than inwards on one's self, or on humanity, or on human imaginations and abstractions - the world of the spirits."
-  Robinson Jeffers, 1934


"This morning outside I stood
I saw a little red-winged bird
Shining like a burning bush
Singing like a scripture verse
It made me want to bow my head
I remember when church let out
How things have changed since then
Everything is Holy Now
It used to be a world half there
Heaven's second rate hand me down
But I walk it with a reverent air
'Cause everything is Holy Now"
Everything, Everything, Everything is Holy Now"
Holy Now by Peter Mayer


" 'There is no state or condition more holy than the Earth.'
      - R. J. Stewart, Power Within the Land

    The British write R. J. Stewart makes this firm and startling claim to counter the ways in which the physical world has been disregarded and disrespected for so many centuries.  He does not state that there is nothing but the earth, only that we should regard it as equally holy with every other realm.
    This is quite a difficult thing for may people to do, especially those raised in the belief that the earth and all its works are somehow spoiled from the outset and that the only holy condition is the heavenly one.  This concept and others like it have soured our relationship with the earth, causing us to abuse it as a commodity, a provider of resources, and a place to live our mundane lives as we wish.
    What is holiness, and how can the earth e said to be holy?  Holiness is nothing less that a condition of wholeness, completing, and attunement.  The earth is holy in that it is the womb of manifest life, the partner in holiness with the otherworld, which is the originative fructifier of life.  Both sides of this alchemical partnership are equally important, we cannot leave one of them out of the equation. 
    Awareness of the earth holiness and partnership with the otherworld is still possible, especially when we stand at a place on the earth where the veil between the worlds is thinner.  In such a place we can still intuit earthly holiness.  Even though the earth's survace has been abused, it is nonetheless a living womb of holy life, and we are its children.
    Meditate upon the earth as a holy place, and your own human state as a holy condition."
-  Caitlin Matthews, The Celtic Spirit: Daily Meditations for the Turning Year, 1999, p. 217


"When you enter a grove peopled with ancient trees, higher than the ordinary, and shutting out the sky with their thickly inter-twined branches, do not the stately shadows of the wood, the stillness of the place then strike you with the presence of a deity?"
-  Seneca


Spirituality and Gardening, Part II



flow2.gif (27433 bytes)  

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 21 Million Webpages (excluding graphics) Served to Readers Around the World
       From January 1, 1999 through March 1, 2011
This webpage has been online since May 2000
Compiled by Karen Garofalo and Mike Garofalo from Red Bluff, California

How can you help Karen and Mike improve and maintain this webpage? 
Information for Advertisers and Affiliate Marketers 

Last Updated: November 19, 2014 

Green Way Research

Our Path in the Valley Blog