"A drop of water has the tastes of the water
of the seven seas: there is no need
to experience all the ways of worldly life. The reflections of the moon on one
thousand rivers are from the same moon: the mind must be full of light."
- Hung Tzu-ch'eng
"The garden is a metaphor for life,
and gardening is a symbol of the spiritual path."
- Larry Dossey
"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."
- Henry David Thoreau, Walking , 1851
"We need quiet time to examine our
lives openly and honestly. . . spending quiet time
alone gives your mind an opportunity to renew itself and create order."
- Susan L. Taylor
"A stranger here
Strange things doth meet, strange glories see;
Strange treasures lodged in this fair world appear,
Strange all, and new to me.
But that they mine should be, who nothing was,
That strangest is of all, yet brought to pass."
- Thomas Traherne (1637-1674), The Salutation
"Every natural fact is a symbol of some spiritual
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
"Follow the wisdom provided by nature. Everything
in moderation - sunlight, water, nutrients.
Too much of a good thing will topple your structure.
You can't harvest what you don't sow. So plant your desires, gently nurture them,
and they will be rewarded with abundance."
- Vivian Elisabeth Glyck, 1997
"The tree which moves some to tears of
joy is in the eyes of others
only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all
ridicule and deformity . . . and some scarce see nature at all.
But to the eyes of the man of imagination,
nature is imagination itself."
- William Blake
"Sure as the most certain sure
.... plumb in the uprights,
well entreated, braced in the beams,
Stout as a horse, affectionate, haughty, electrical,
I and this mystery we stand.
Clear and sweet is my soul .... and clear and sweet is all
that is not my soul,
Lack one lacks both .... and the unseen is proved by the seen
Till that becomes unseen and receives proof in its turn.
To elaborate is no avail .... Learned and unlearned feel that it is so."
- Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass, Line 40-
"The highest human purpose is always
to reinvent and celebrate the sacred."
- N. Scott Momaday
"After a few hours of
sweating with dirt all over me and insects buzzing around the upper half of my body, I may begin to get a sense of being in tune
with nature. It's at these moments where I take note of a worm that is
its way out of the dirt or a butterfly that silently lands on a bush next to
subtlety and a total lack of self consciousness, I come out of myself, look
around, marvel at the majesty of what I am experiencing and begin to take note that
I have entered some type of altered state of consciousness."
- Fran Sorin
"Rather, go away, Flee into concealment. And have your masks and
subtlety, that you may be mistaken for what you are not, or feared a little.
And don't forget the garden, the garden with golden trelliswork. And have
people around you who are as a garden──or as music on the
waters in the evening, when the day is turning into memories. Choose the
good solitude, the free, playful, light solitude that gives you, too, the right
to remain good in some sense."
- Frederick Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, #25, 1886
"As you sit on the
hillside, or lie prone under the trees of the forest, or sprawl wet-legged
by a mountain stream, the great door, that does not look like a door, opens."
- Stephen Graham
"Each one has his own
most real thing. Mine is the garden."
- Louisa Yeomans King
"Of course the Dharma-body of the
Buddha was the hedge
at the bottom of the garden. At the same time, and no less
obviously, it was these flowers, it was anything that I - or
rather the blessed Not-I - cared to look at."
- Aldous Huxley
"People who take the time to be alone
usually have depth,
originality, and quiet reserve."
- John Miller
"The secret of happiness lies in
taking a genuine interest in all
the details of daily life, and in elevating them to art."
- John Ruskin
"We think in generalities, but we live
- W.H. Auden
"People say "I want
peace." If you remove I (ego), and your
want (desire), you are left with peace."
- Satya Sai Baba
“A certain day became a presence
to me; there it was, confronting me — a sky, air, light:
a being. And before it started to descend
from the height of noon, it leaned over
and struck my shoulder as if with
the flat of a sword, granting me
honor and a task. The day’s blow
rang out, metallic — or it was I, a bell awakened,
and what I heard was my whole self
saying and singing what it knew: I can.”
- Denise Levertov, Variation on a Theme by Rilke
"There are sacred moments in life when
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
"Wherever you are is
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
"What I know of the divine sciences
and Holy Scriptures,
I learned in woods and fields. I have no other masters than the beeches and the oaks."
- Saint Bernard of Clairvaux
Months and Seasons
Quotes, Poems, Sayings, Verses, Lore, Myths, Holidays
Celebrations, Folklore, Reading, Links, Quotations
Information, Weather, Gardening Chores
"As once the winged energy of delight
carried you over childhood's dark abysses,
now beyond your own life build the great
arch of unimagined bridges.
Wonders happen if we can succeed
in passing through the harshest danger;
but only in a bright and purely granted
achievement can we realize the wonder.
To work with Things in the indescribable
relationship is not too hard for us;
the pattern grows more intricate and subtle,
and being swept along is not enough.
Take your practiced powers and stretch them out
until they span the chasm between two
contradictions...For the god
wants to know himself in you."
- Rainer Maria Rilke, Once the Winged Energy of Delight
"I believe in God, only I spell it
- Frank Lloyd Wright
"Tantra's body-positive approach is the direct outcome of its
integrative metaphysics according to which this world is not mere illusion but a
manifestation of the supreme Reality. If the world is real, the body must
be real as well. If the world is in essence divine, so must be the body.
If we must honor the world as a creation or an aspect of the divine Power (shakti),
we must likewise honor the body. The body is a piece of the world and, as
we shall see, the world is a piece of the body. Or, rather, when we truly
understand the body, we discover that it is the world, which in essence is
- Georg Feuerstein, Tantra: The Path of Ecstasy, p. 53
"One cannot but be in awe when one
contemplates the mysteries of
eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough
if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery each day.
Never lose a holy curiosity."
- Albert Einstein
cutting back, and transplanting are activities that may seem repetitive and never-ending, when seen as a necessary and integral part of the overall unfolding of the garden scheme, they become
rather than boring. In fact, what may appear on the surface to be tedious physical work may, in the actual doing, be spiritually liberating. In taking time to contemplate the small — in observing
the details of our gardens — we can experience life on a manageable scale."
- Marilyn Barrett, Creating Eden: The Garden as a Healthy Space
"Life is a mystery until you
touch the reality beyond the veil. When the mind is still and the search is intense, we have the vision to see reality all around us. Every person you meet is in a world you could know. Nature waits for our entrance, whether it is a forest or a
rose. All around us is the Spirit Presence waiting for a quiet mind and an
open heart. Walking through the markets and riding in the subway, we can be close to the reality. We are moving through various states of reality during the day.
- Herman Rednick
"A monk asked Joshu, "What is the
meaning of Bodidharma's coming to China?" Joshu said,
"The oak tree in the garden.""
"A monk asked Zhaozhou, "What is the living meaning of Zen?." Zhaozhou said,
"The cypress tree in the yard."
- Case 37 from the Mumonkan (Wumenguan) Collection of Zen Koans
The Oak Tree in the Courtyard
"What could be more
ordinary than the cypress tree which the monk passes each day as he meditates? Is it this everyday, ordinary thing which is to be for him the embodiment of enlightenment? But then that’s exactly the point: it is the everyday thing, the paradox of everyday life, which becomes the magic window, as it were, into What Is."
- Whitney Roberson
"Nature holds the key to our aesthetic, intellectual, cognitive, and even
- Edward O. Wilson
"The first western gardens were those in
the Mediterranean basin. There in the desert areas stretching from
North Africa to the valleys of the Euphrates, the so-called cradle of civilization, where
plants were first
grown for crops by settled communities, garden enclosures were also
constructed. ... Gardens
emphasized the contrast between two separate worlds: the outer one where nature
awe-inspiringly in control and an inner artificially created sanctuary, a refuge for man
plants from the burning desert, where shade trees and cool canals refreshed
the spirit and ensured growth."
- Penelope Hobhouse, Gardening Through the Ages, 1992, p. 11.
"I see humanity now as one vast plant,
needing for its highest fulfillment only love, the natural blessings
of the great outdoors, and intelligent crossing and selection. In the span of my
own lifetime I have
observed such wondrous progress in plant evolution that I look forward optimistically to a
happy world as soon as its children are taught the principles of simple and rational
We must return to nature and nature's god.
- Luther Burbank, 1849-1926
Luther Burbank was a plant breeder, botanist, and free thinker. He lived in Santa Rosa, California.
"Inside each one of us is a beautiful
This is the garden of the soul. With each lesson
we learn, the garden grows. As we learn together,
our individual gardens form a tranquil paradise."
- Sri Chinmoy
the places that call me out, I know I'll recover my wordless childhood
trust in the largeness of life and its willingness to take me in."
- Barbara Kingsolver
"The great need of our time is for people to
be connected to spirit; for people to be connected to a core of feeling in themselves that makes their lives vital and full of meaning, that makes life a mystery evermore to be uncovered.
- Harold Stone, Sandplay
"Life is like an onion: you peel off layer after layer and then you find there is nothing in it."
- James Gibbons Huneker
"My own experience of śaktipāta
occurred at the age of 16 through meeting a powerful and loving meditation
master. It was not the product of wishful thinking, because I didn't even
want to be there, at least on the level of the conscious mind. My mother
had persuaded me to take a two-day meditation retreat and I had acceded because
I wanted the reward she was offering me; I had neither expectation nor hope that
anything particularly magical would happen. And indeed, the whole thing
was fairly boring, though in the final meditation of the weekend, I did make a
grudging effort to be fully present in the warm, dark stillness of the
meditation room. It was nice, but nothing special, until I opened my eyes
and walked outside. I was astonished to discover that the whole world had
apparently changed. Everything was more vivid and real, and almost
sparkling. Not only that, I was feeling an incredible energy in my heart,
and it was flowing palpably between my heart and the hearts of everyone else I
could see. I call it "energy" for lack of a better word; it was a tangible
power or force, not a passive feeling, and it had the nature of exquisitely pure
love. It was connecting the hearts of all the people around me, coursing
freely in a kind of web or grid of power, entirely independent of whether the
people liked each other or not. Then I noticed it was really everywhere;
the very air around me seemed thick with it; it was undoubtedly the most "real"
thing in reality, though not perceptible with any of the five senses! It
was astonishing, and I was never the same, now that I knew this power, this love
beyond anything I had ever imagined, was a real possibility in human life."
- Christopher D. Wallis, Tantra Illuminated, 2012, p.323
"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
"There is a theology to gardening that few
of us consider, but to understand this theology means
relinquishing much control - our arsenal of books, techniques, tools, chemicals,
hybrids, and expectations. Yet, that is exactly what we must do if we are to fully
embrace a more
spiritual form of gardening. As a part of Nature we must learn to enter our garden
it were truly sacred, we must learn to enter with humility.
- Christopher and Tricia McDowell, The Sanctuary Garden, 1998, p. 17. Cortesia Sanctuary and Center
"Respect the old and cherish the
Even insects, grass and trees you must not hurt."
- Ko Hung
"Gardening is an active participation
in the deepest mysteries of the universe."
- Thomas Berry
"Mountains and rivers at this very moment
are the actualization of the world of the ancient Buddhas.
Each, abiding in its phenomenal expression, realizes completeness."
- Zen Master Dogen
"The secret of the Tao Te Ching is its idea of Tao, modeled
on the life of a plant. Just as a living plant is tender and yielding (Chapter
76), so is Tao weak and yielding (Chapter
40). With plants the hidden roots support the visible leaves and
flowers, which return to the roots upon perishing (Chapter
16). Likewise, Tao is the hidden root (Chapter
6), the non-being from which all beings spring (Chapter
40 and Chapter 21)
and to which all beings return (Chapter
34). The life of a plant is conditioned by seasonal rotation. So
is the movement of Tao in four stages: great (summer), disappearing (fall), far
away (winter), and return (spring) (Chapter
25). In the same way does the Taoist model spiritual life after a
plant. A living plant is tender and pliant, whole a dead plant is stiff
and hard (Chapter 76);
one who is with the Tao is also tender and pliant, while one who departs from
the Tao is stiff and hard. The plant kingdom is a quiet kingdom (Chapter
16) that sleeps in beauty; Taoist quietude is the spiritual condition for
regeneration. A plant grows at its own pace. One must not, like the
farmer in the Mencius (2A.2), help the growth of the corn stalks by
pulling them up. In the same way the Taoist allows events to unfold
according to their inner rhythms; he acts by non-action (wu-wei), which
is acting with, not against, the inner rhythms of things. A plant is
always renewing itself; the Taoist celebrates perpetual childhood (Chapter
- Ellen M. Chen, The Tao Te Ching: A New Translation with Commentary, 1989, p. 41
Spirituality and Gardening
Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
A typical webpage created by Mike Garofalo on a Chapter of the Tao Te Ching (Daodejing) by Lao Tzu (Laozi) includes at least 16 different translations or interpolations of the Chapter in English, two Spanish translations, the Chinese characters for the Chapter, a Wade-Giles and Hanyu Pinyin Romanization of the Mandarin Chinese words for the Chapter, recommended reading lists, a detailed bibliography; indexing by key words and terms for the Chapter in English, Spanish, and the Wade-Giles Romanization; some commentary, and other resources for the Chapter.
"Those who are willing to be
move among mysteries."
- Theodore Roethke
"The most beautiful emotion is the mystical. It is the power of all true art
and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder
and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead. To know that which is impenetrable
to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most
radiant beauty, which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their most
primitive forms - this knowledge, this feeling, is at the center of true
religiousness. In this sense, and in this sense only, I belong to the rank of a
devoutly religious man."
- Albert Einstein
"Everything that slows us down and forces
patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of
nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace."
- May Sarton
"Kiss of the sun for pardon.
Song of the birds for mirth.
You're closer to God's heart in a garden
than any place else on earth."
- Dorothy Frances Gurney
"We have learned that more of the
solve our social problems, remove many isms from our
vocabulary, and purify our art. And so we often wish that
those who interpret life for us by pen or brush would
buy a trowel and pack of seeds."
- Ruth R. Blodgett (1883-), The House Beautiful (March 1918)
"Image consciousness and gardening
don't mix. Image consciousness
and any enterprise where the soul is involved don't mix. But isn't that
the beginning of understanding spirituality. To be image conscious
keeps our guard up. It keeps our judgments - about ourselves, others,
and God - sharply defined, for we want to make sure we play the right
notes. Thus, we are unable to hear the music, which is another way
of saying we are unable to receive, to welcome, to embrace."
- Terry Hershey, Soul Gardening , p. 99
"Hildegaard of Bingen was a twelfth-century
mystic, composer, and author of a theology that knitted together nature and spirit, cosmos
and soul. She described the Holy Spirit as the Greening Power
of God. Just as plants are greened, so we are as well. As we grow up,
our spark of life continually shines forth. If we ignore this spark, this
greening power, we become thirsty and shriveled. And if we respond to the spark, we flower. Our task is to flower, to come into full blossom before our time comes to an end."
- Lauren Artress, Walking a Sacred Path
"He who cultivates a garden, and
brings to perfection flowers and fruits
cultivates and advances at the same time his own nature."
- Ezra Weston, 1845
"It is one of the first days
of Spring, and I sit once more in the old garden
where I hear no faintest echo of the obscene rumbling of London streets
which are yet so little away. Here the only movement I am conscious of
is that of the trees shooting forth their first sprays of bright green, and
of the tulips expanding the radiant beauty of their flaming globes, and the
only sound I hear is the blackbird's song -- the liquid softly gurgling notes
that seem to well up spontaneously from an infinite joy, an infinite peace,
at the heart of nature and bring a message not from some remote Heaven of the Sky or Future, but the Heaven that is Here, beneath our feet, even
beneath the exquisite texture of our own skins, the joy, the peace, at
the Heart of the Mystery which is Man. For man alone can hear the Revelation that lies in the blackbird's song.
- Havelock Ellis, Impressions and Comments, 1918
"The natural world is subject as well as
object. The natural world is the maternal source of our being as earthlings and life-giving nourishment of our physical, emotional, aesthetic, moral and religious existence. The natural world is the larger sacred community to which we belong. To be alienated from this community is to become destitute of all that makes us human. To damage this community is to diminish our own existence."
- Thomas Berry
"Almost any garden, if you see it at just the right moment, can
be confused with paradise."
- Henry Mitchell
"Thinking the deed, and not the creed,
Would help us in our utmost need."
- Henry W. Longfellow, 1807-1882
"So will I build my
altar in the fields,
And the blue sky my fretted dome shall be,
And the sweet fragrance that the wild flower yields
Shall be the incense I will yield to thee."
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge
"In her book called Ecstasy, Laski reports research
findings indicating that the most frequent trigger for mystical experiences is
nature, with nature art being the second most frequent trigger. Another national
survey found that almost half of all the people who have had mystical
experiences consider the beauties of nature to be the primary inspiration.
Rudolf Otto defined nature mysticism as "the sense of being immersed in the
oneness of nature, so that man feels all the individuality, all the
peculiarities of natural things in himself. He dances with the motes of
dust and radiates with the sun; he rises with the dawn, surges with the wave, is
fragrant with the rose, rapt with the nightingale: he knows and is all being,
all strength, all joy, all desire, all pain in all things inseparably." Aldous
Huxley called mystical oneness with nature "the perennial philosophy".
Stace suggested that mystical experiences can be classified as either
extraverted or introverted. In introverted mysticism, the environment is lost.
This occurs to those who, like St. Augustine, reject the sensuousness of natural
phenomena and enter into a world of pure spirit. Augustine believed we should abandon the world and its beauty. The beauties of nature, he believed, are vain
and transitory. To love nature is to become a slave to nature and to turn away
from spiritual abstractions which are embedded in the eternal. It is the
second type, extraverted mysticism, which is a nature experience. In extraverted
mysticism, the surroundings are "lit up" and the world appears to us as it did
in all its numinous glory to Adam on the day of creation."
- Nature Mysticism
"Live with intention. Walk to the
edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness.
Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn.
Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there
- Mary Anne Hershey
"Man’s heart away
from nature becomes hard."
- Standing Bear
"Before beginning this journey
inward, we must clarify its nature. There is a frequent misunderstanding of the
journey inward or the spiritual path, which suggests to most people a rejection
of the natural world, the mundane, the practical, the pleasurable. On the
contrary, to a yogi (or indeed a Taoist master or Zen monk) the path toward
spirit lies entirely in the domain of nature. It is the exploration of nature
from the world of appearances, or surface, into the subtlest heart of living
matter. Spirituality is not some external goal that one must seek be a part of
the divine core of each of us, which we must reveal. For the yogi, spirit is
not separate from the body. Spirituality, as I have tried to make clear, is not
ethereal and outside nature but accessible and palpable in our very own bodies."
- B.K.S. Iyengar, Light on Life, 2005, p. 18
"The abode of God, too, is wherever is
earth and sea and air, and sky and virtue.
Why further do we seek the Gods of heaven?
Whatever thou dost behold and whatever thou dost touch, that is Jupiter."
- Lucan, 39-65 A.D.
"We may have to learn again the mystery of
the garden: how its external
characteristics model the heart itself,
and how the soul is a garden enclosed, our own perpetual paradise where we can be refreshed and restored."
- Thomas Moore, The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life
Cultivate the garden within.
"What was Paradise? but a garden, an
orchard of trees and herbs,
full of pleasure and nothing there but delights."
- William Lawson
Crape myrtle, brilliant red, bursting forth;
Hiding the garden.
Some days, only the Garden, entire, serene;
Yet, hiding from sight, shy, single plants.
Seeing Both, seldom, but as One:
Sweat poured from my startled brow,
Dripping on the dry earth,
And all became Sunshine
And shadows of surprise unraveling."
- Michael P. Garofalo, Above the Fog
"Then I was standing on
the highest mountain of them all, and round
about beneath me was the whole hoop of the world. And while I stood
there I saw more than I can tell and I understood more than I saw; for
I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of all things in the spirit,
and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being.
An I saw that the sacred hoop of my people was one of many hoops
that made one circle, wide as daylight and as starlight, and in the
center grew one mighty flowering tree to shelter all the children of
one mother and one father. And I saw that it was holy."
- Black Elk Speaks, The Great Vision, 1932, p. 36
"The garden reconciles human art and wild nature, hard work and deep
pleasure, spiritual practice and the material world. It is a magical place
because it is not divided."
- Thomas Moore in The Re-enchantment of Everyday Life
"Beyond its practical aspects, gardening -
be it of the soil or soul - can lead us on a
philosophical and spiritual exploration that is nothing less than a journey into the
depths of our own sacredness and the sacredness of all beings. After all, there must
be something more mystical beyond the garden gate, something that
satisfies the soul's attraction to beauty, peace, solace, and celebration."
- Christopher and Tricia McDowell, The Sanctuary Garden , 1998, p.13
"By a garden is meant mystically a place of
spiritual repose, stillness, peace, refreshment, delight."
- John Henry Cardinal Newman
"Something unknown is doing we
don't know what."
- Arthur Eddington
"All spiritual experiences
are sensations in the body. They are
simply a graded series of sensations, beginning with the solidity of earth and passing gradually, in full consciousness, through liquidness and the emanation of heat to that of a total vibration before reaching the Void."
- Sri Anirvan
"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-
"The garden must first be prepared in
the soul first
or else it will not flourish."
- Proverb from England
"If we analyze the operations of scenes of
beauty upon the mind, and consider the intimate relation of the mind
upon the nervous system and the whole physical economy, the action and reaction which constantly occur
between bodily and mental conditions, the reinvigoration which results from such scenes is
comprehended .... The enjoyment of scenery employs the mind without fatigue and yet exercises it;
tranquilizes it and yet enlivens it; and thus, through the influence of the mind over the
gives the effect of refreshing rest and reinvigoration to the whole system."
- Frederick Law Olmstead, The Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Big Trees, 1865
"How true it is that, if we are
cheerful and contented, all nature smiles,
the air seems more balmy, the sky clearer, the earth has a brighter green,
the flowers are more fragrant and the sun, moon, and stars all appear
more beautiful, and seem to rejoice with us."
- Orison Swett Marden
"When men do not love their hearth,
nor reverence their thresholds,
it is a sign that they have dishonoured both ... Our God is a house-hold God,
as well as a heavenly one; He has an altar in every man's dwelling."
- John Ruskin (1819-1900), The Seven Lamps of Architecture, 1908
"For I have learned
To look on nature, not as in the hour
Of thoughtless youth; but hearing oftentimes
The still, sad music of humanity,
Nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power
To chasten and subdue.
And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man;
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things.
Therefore am I still
A lover of the meadows and the woods,
And mountains; and of all that we behold
From this green earth; of all the mighty world
Of eye, and ear,--both what they half create,
And what perceive; well pleased to recognise
In nature and the language of the sense,
The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse,
The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul
Of all my moral being."
- William Wordsworth, Tintern Abbey, 1798
"Blinding heat divides day from night,
Brands short shadows into fecund soil.
Green tendrils, heavy with beans,
Coil around rustic bamboo racks.
Violet flowers gape erotically among velvet leaves:
A single gourd contains the entire world's dream.
There is a great comfort in growing your own food. You are close to the soil. You use the basic elements -- water, sunlight, earth, air, and plants -- for your work, your sustenance, and your pleasure. You nurture your garden from seedlings to mature plants, tending, pruning, weeding. Year after year, you see cycles come and go, from sprouting to harvest to withering, to seeding again. You eat your plants to live. You don't mind and they don't mind. Some day, you will fall back to this earth, back into the sun-baked dirt, and you will become food for the plants. It's the way of all life, and it's all very agreeable.
Those who follow Tao say that all reality is like a series of nesting circles: microcosms within macrocosms. What is close at hand is a microcosm of what is far away. Why search all over for Tao? It is all contained in the seeds of the gourd growing in your garden."
- Deng Ming-Dao, 365 Tao: Daily Meditations, Day 245, September 2nd
"Who loves a garden
Finds within his soul
He hears the anthem of the soil
While ingrates toil;
And sees beyond his little sphere
The waving fronds of heaven, clear."
- Lousie Seymour Jones, Who Loves a Garden
"We are not human beings trying to be
We are spiritual beings trying to be human."
- Jacquelyn Small
"Oh, Adam was a gardener, and God who
made him sees
That half a proper gardener's work is done upon his knees,
So when your work is finished, you can wash your hands and pray
For the Glory of the Garden, that it may not pass away!"
- Rudyard Kipling, The Glory of the Garden
"The World is a great mirror. It
reflects back to you what you are.
If you are loving, if you are friendly, if you are helpful, the World will
prove loving and friendly and helpful to you.
The World is what you are."
- Thomas Dreier
"Learning how to operate a soul
figures to take time."
- Timothy Leary
"Spirituality points, always, beyond:
beyond the ordinary,
beyond possession, beyond the narrow confines of the self,
and - above all - beyond expectations. Because "the
is beyond our control, it is never exactly what we expect."
- Ermest Kurtz and Katherine Ketchman, The Spirituality of Imperfection
"It would never occur to most of us that 'plants' say anything at
all, except in terms of what we read into them, or try to use them for.
Yet in their responses to this wonderfully rhythmic and varying earth they are
the most expressive of all forms of life."
- John Hay in A Beginner's Faith in Things Unseen
"The best place to find God is in a garden.
You can dig for him there."
- George Bernard Shaw
"Bamboo shadows sweep the stairs
but no dust is stirred;
moonlight reaches to the bottom of the pond
but no trace is left in the water."
"Are we to look at cherry blossoms
only in full bloom, the moon only when it is
cloudless? To long for the moon while looking on the rain, to lower the blinds
and be unaware of the passing of the spring - these are even more deeply
moving. Branches about to blossom or gardens strewn with flowers are
worthier of our admiration."
- Yoshida Kenko
"Each one has his own most real thing.
Mine is the garden."
- Louisa Yeomans King
"It must be this rhapsody or none,
The rhapsody of things as they are."
- Wallace Stevens, The Man With the Blue Guitar
"Gardening is such a highly individual
are that it is irresistible
to egocentrics ... The word is used in its broadest, most
correct sense and is not to be confused with egoist. It includes
not only those who are normally, naturally self-centered, but
also those who have been rendered self-centered by
circumstances - those who are lonely, timid, shy; those who have
a compulsion to express themselves in some art or other; and,
especially, those who are ostriches, who are only truly happy
when they escape from the bewilderment of daily life by
burying their heads in an interesting, well-ordered, and preferably
- Francis H. Cabot, Chairman of The Garden Conservancy, 1999
Paraphrasing the theories of Taylor Whittle, The Avant Gardener 2/2000
"We will endeavour to shew how the
aire and genious of Gardens operat upon
humane spirits towards virtue and sancitie, I meane in a remote, preparatory
and instrumentall working. How Caves, Grotts, Mounts, and irregular
ornaments of Gardens do contribute to contemplative and philosophicall
Enthusiasms; how Elysium, Antrum, Nemus, Paradysus, Hortus, Lucus , &c.,
signifie all of them rem sacram et divinam; for these expedients do
the soule and spirits of man, and prepare them for converse with good
Angells; besides which, they contribute to the lesse abstracted pleasures,
phylosophy naturall and longevitie."
- John Evelyn in a letter to Sir Thomas Browne, 1657
"There's nothing much, really, to say.
- James McManus, Great America
"As a plant produces its flower,
so the psyche creates its symbols."
- Carl G. Jung
"The Tao exists in the crickets ... in
the grasses ...
in tiles and bricks ... and in shit and piss."
- Chuang-tzu, The Roaring Stream: A New Zen Reader , p. 117
"My task is really not to change
but to become familiar with who I am."
- Maureen Cook
"On the first of May, with my comrades
of the catechism class,
I laid lilac, chamomile and rose before the altar of the Virgin,
and returned full of pride to show my "blessed posy." My
mother laughed her irreverent laugh and, looking at my bunch
of flowers, which was bringing the may-bug into the sitting-room
right under the lamp, she said: "Do you suppose it wasn't
already blessed before?"
- Colette, Sido , 1922
"Belief in the supernatural
reflects a failure of the imagination."
- Edward Abbey
bones and soul -
weeding new cuttings.
- Mike Garofalo, Cuttings
"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
"Pure logic is the ruin of the spirit."
- Antoine de Saint-Exupery
"For behold, the kingdom of God is
- Luke 17:21
"It began in mystery, and it will end in mystery, but what a savage and beautiful country lies in between."
- Diane Ackerman
"Everything in the world has a hidden
Men, animals, trees, stars, they are all hieroglyphics.
When you see them you do not understand them.
You think they are really men, animals, trees, stars.
It is only years later that you understand."
- Nikos Kazantzakis
"Sitting in a room staring at a
pressed plant is not always the full
story. There is a garden out there where the plant lives. The
intellectual pursuit is coming full circle to what resides at the
center. Life is not one or the other, but both. That which makes
us a whole by uniting all parts is the same, whatever the naming
of the unnameable. Gardeners have always known the
spiritual connection that resides in the center."
- Gene Bush, Munchkin Nursery and Gardens
The cosmos is divine.
The earth is sacred.
"In our gardens, Lord Ganesha sends
His power through fruits
and vegetables, the ones that grow above the ground, to permeate
our nerve system with wisdom, clearing obstacles in our path
when eaten. The growers of them treat it like they would
care for Ganesha in His physical form."
- Hindu Deva Shastra, verse 438, Nature Devas
"To affect the quality of the day,
that is the highest of arts."
- Henry David Thoreau
"A garden is a private world or it is
- Eleanor Perenyi
"Crouchers move through a garden at a
stoop: naming, gasping, horraying,
admiring or coveting plants; Gapers saunter, smiling or sighing at what they find,
succumbing to an intangible beatitude that takes them for a brief escape into another
dimension. Both sorts of gardener are besotted; both get their hands dirty; think
talk gardening; but on the threshold of another's garden,
each use a different set of whiskers."
- Mirabel Osler, Gapers and Crouchers
"Contemplate the workings of this world,
listen to the words of the
wise, and take all that is good as your own. With this as your base,
open your own door to truth. Do not overlook the truth that is right
before you. Study how water flows in a valley stream, smoothly
and freely between the rocks. Also learn from holy books and
wise people. Everything - even mountains, rivers, plants,
and trees - should be your teacher."
- Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969), founder of Aikido
"Expect your every need to be met,
expect the answer to every problem,
expect abundance on every level, expect to grow spiritually."
- Eileen Caddy
"When I dance, I dance, when I sleep,
I sleep; yes, and when I walk
alone in a beautiful orchard, if my thoughts drift to far-off matters
for some part of the time, for some other part I lead them back
again to the walk, the orchard, to the sweetness of this solitude,
"When Lawrence first found a gentian, a big
single blue one, I remember feeling
as if he had a strange communion with it, as if the gentian yielded up its blueness,
its very essence, to him. Everything he met had the newness of a creation
just that moment come into being."
- Frieda Lawrence writing about her 1912 honeymoon with D. H. Lawrence
"Bad gardens copy, good gardens create, great
What all great gardens have in common are their ability to pull the
sensitive viewer out of him or herself and into the garden, so
completely that the separate self-sense disappears entirely, and at
least for a brief moment one is ushered into a nondual and timeless
awareness. A great garden, in other words, is mystical
no matter what its actual content."
- Ken Wilbur, Grace and Grit
"Learn to get in touch with the
silence within yourself
and know that everything in this life has a purpose.
There are no mistakes, no coincidences. All events
are blessings given to us to learn from."
- Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
"He who experiences the unity of life
sees his own Self
in all beings, and all beings in his own Self, and looks
on everything with an impartial eye."
- Bhagavad Gita
"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"
"One cannot but be in awe when one contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of
life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely
to comprehend a little of this mystery each day. Never lose a holy curiosity."
- Albert Einstein
"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
"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."
"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
"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
If thy heart were right, then every creature would be a mirror of
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
"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
- Robinson Jeffers, 1934
"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?"
Spirituality and Gardening, Part I
The Spirit of Gardening
Over 3,800 Quotations, Poems, Sayings, Quips, One-Liners, Clichés, Quotes, and Insights
Arranged by Over 250 Topics
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From January 1, 1999 through March 1, 2011
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