Instruments, Machines, Shovel, Hoe, Hose, Mower
Shears, Walls, Spade, Post-Hole Digger
Knife, Trowel, Sprayer, Tiller

Quotes     Seasons     Gardening     Earth     Work     Seeing     Touch     Blog      

Complexity     Interdependence     Ecology     Flowers     Trees     Home      

Compiled by Karen and Mike Garofalo

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


"He that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools."
-  Confucius


"You'll never have a garden - a garden needs walls and you have no walls."
-  Russell Page


"There is a lovable quality about the actual tools.   One feels so kindly to the thing that enables the hand to obey the brain.   Moreover, one feels a good deal of respect for it; without it the brain and the hand would be helpless."
-  Gertrude Jekyll


"Toward seven o'clock every morning, I leave my study and step
Out on the bright terrace; the sun already burns resplendent
Between the shadows of the fig tree, makes the low wall of coarse
Granite warm to the touch.  Here my tools lie ready and waiting,
Each one an intimate, an ally: the round basket for weeds:
The zappetta, the small hoe with a short haft ...
There's a rake here as well, at at times a mattock and spade,
Or two watering cans filled with water warmed by the sun.
With my basket and small hoe in hand, facing the sun, I
Go out for my morning walk."
-  Herman Hesse, Hours in the Garden, An Idyll, 1952


Touching - Thoughts and Quotations for Gardeners

Tools - Thoughts and Quotations for Gardeners

Pulling Onions: Thoughts of a Gardener

Hands and Touching: Reflections, Studies, Bibliography, Quotations


"The piece of equipment I'm most found off is my telescope.  The other night I had a superb view of the moon."
-  Arthur C. Clarke, 1998


"The mind has exactly the same power as the hands: not merely to grasp the world, but to change it."
-  Colin Wilson


"Everything passes, everything wears out, everything breaks.
tout passe, tout lasse, tout casse."
-  French Proverb


"It is only necessary that man should start a fence that Nature should carry it on and complete it.  The farmer cannot plow quite up to the rails or wall which he himself has placed, and hence it often becomes a hedgerow and sometimes a coppice."
-  Henry D. Thoreau, Journal, February 12, 1851


"It is only in the microscope that our life looks so big."
-  Arthur Schopenhauer 


"Spade!  with which Wilkinson hath tilled his lands,
And shaped these pleasant walks by Emont's side,
Thou art a tool of honor in my hands,
I press thee, through a yielding soil, with pride."
-  William Wordsworth


"Men have become the tools of their tools."
-  Henry David Thoreau


"Your first job is to prepare the soil.  The best tool for this is your neighbor's motorized garden tiller.  If your neighbor does not own a garden tiller, suggest that he buy one."
-  Dave Barry


"The technologies which have had the most profound effects on human life are usually simple.  A good example of a simple technology with profound historical consequences is hay.  Nobody knows who invented hay, the idea of cutting grass in the autumn and storing it in large enough quantities to keep horses and cows alive through the winter.  All we know is that the technology of hay was unknown to the Roman Empire but was known to every village of medieval Europe.  Like many other crucially important technologies, hay emerged anonymously during the so-called Dark Ages."
-  Freeman Dyson, Infinite in All Directions, 1988


"If it breaks, it needed replacing anyway."
-  Lowery's Law


"If nobody uses it, there's a reason."
-  Rule of Reason


"No other farm machine of this century has had such a profound effect on American agriculture as the farm tractor.
-  C. H. Wendel, Encyclopedia of American Farm Tractors, 1979


"Knee: a device for finding rocks in your garden.
Always leave time for unraveling the hose.
If you need five tools to solve a problem in the garden, four of them will be easy to find. 
The end of the garden is at the end of the hose.
When the sun hat fits, it's ugly. 
If God gave us technology, why did he wait so long to give us a box of matches or solar power panels. 
Lawnmower: a magic wand for making teenagers disappear.
-  Michael Garofalo, Pulling Onions


"When the planes still swoop down and aerial spray a field in order to kill a predator insect with pesticides, we are in the Dark Ages of commerce."
-  Paul Hawken


"The HMS Beagle was superbly equipped as a surveying vessel.  On board were sextants and reflecting circles, bearing compasses, theodolites, micrometers, artifical horizons and “boards” for calculating latitude and triangulating distance, leads for sounding depths, mechanical logs for measuring current speed, and no less than 24 chronometers for fixing longitude by comparing local time with Greenwich, England.  The reason for so many time pieces was their potential unreliability.  To compensate for “irregularities and errors of individual watches” accurate chronological measurements were calculated from “the mean of the whole.”  Most were permanent fixtures on board the Beagle , suspended in gimbals, cushioned in sawdust and housed in a special room in the center of the ship to minimize vibration.  Others were pocket timepieces to be taken on shore after being calibrated to the best of the clocks on board the Beagle.  Of all the instruments, the chronometers were the most important for the expedition’s success.  They were tended to religiously by one specialist, George James Stebbing, who wound them precisely at 9 a.m. every day.” 
-  Thalia Grant and Gregory Estes, Darwin in Galapagos: Footsteps to a New World,  p. 77


"I'm struck by the insidious, computer-driven tendency to take things out of the domain of muscular activity and put them into the domain of mental activity.  The transfer is not paying off.  Sure, muscles are unreliable, but they represent several million years of accumulated finesse."
-  Brian Eno, musician and composer, Wired 1/99, p. 176


"Technology, in short, cannot teach me how to do without technology."
-  Pico Iyer


"We must never be to busy to take time to sharpen the saw."
-  Stephen R. Covey


"Men can't be trusted with pruning shears any more than they can be trusted with the grocery money in a delicatessen ...  They are like boys with new pocket knives who will not stop whittling."
-  Phyllis McGinley


"It is only when they go wrong that machines remind you how powerful they are."
-  Clive James


"Learning how to operate a soul figures to take time."
-  Timothy Leary


"Why are husbands like lawn mowers? 
They are difficult to get started, emit foul smells, and don't work half the time."
-  Unknown female humorist


"A powerful hand lens [Eschenback Leutchlupe] with a focused beam of light opens up an entire world below the threshold of the ordinary experience of seeing."
-  Allen Lacy, The Gardener's Eye, 1992, p. 23


Growth of the Soil by Knut Hamsun 
Secrets to Great Soil (Gardening Skills Illustrated) by Elizabeth Stell 
Teaming with Microbes: The Organic Gardener's Guide to the Soil Food Web by Jeff Lowenfels 
Life in the Soil: A Guide for Naturalists and Gardeners by James Nardi 
Soil (True Books: Natural Resources) by Christin Ditchfield 
Soil Science Simplified by Helmut Kohnke 
Dirt: The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth by William Bryant Logan 





"A beautiful blossom is a fleeting thing
It stays for a moment and then takes wing:
With special rays we catch it ere flight
So all may enjoy the beautiful sight."
-  Albert Richards,  Floral Radiographs: The Secret Garden 


"Technology is the knack of so arranging the world so that we don't have to experience it."
-  Max Frisch


"By the help of microscopes, there is nothing so small, as to escape our inquiry; hence there is a new visible world discovered to the understanding."
-   Robert Hooke  


"Tickle it with a hoe and it will laugh into a harvest."
-  English saying


"Don't force it; get a larger hammer."
-  Anthony's Law of Force


"Inanimate objects are classified scientifically into three categories: those that don't work, those that break down, and those that get lost."
-  Russell Baker


"My good hoe as it bites the ground revenges my wrongs, and I have less lust to bite my enemies.  In the smoothing the rough hillocks, I smooth my temper."
-  Ralph Waldo Emerson


"The Buddha, the Godhead, resides quite as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain or in the petals of a flower.  To think otherwise is to demean the Buddha-- which is to demean oneself."
-  Robert M. Pirsig


"As for garden photographers, how differently they see things.   With what ease the camera seems to compose a picture of great beauty with its discriminating lens.  The naked eye can't censor some ugly sight on the periphery of vision; the photographer takes the perfect shot and picks for us just what we need to see."
-  Mirabel Osler  


"People, like nails, lose their effectiveness when they lose direction and begin to bend."
-  Walter S. Landor


If all else fails, read the directions.


"The difference between heaven and hell is which side of the pitchfork you're on."
-  Rev. Sheldon de Wehr



Months and Seasons
Quotes, Poems, Sayings, Verses, Lore, Myths, Holidays
Celebrations, Folklore, Reading, Links, Quotations
Information, Weather, Gardening Chores
Winter Spring Summer Fall
January April July October
February May August November
March June September December 



"Walls are so necessary for gardens, that even to multiply them, I make as many little gardens as I can in the neighborhood of the great one, whereby I have not only all-fruits or espaliers and shelter, which is very considerable; but am also thereby enabled to correct some defects and irregularities which render the garden disagreeable."
-  De La Quintinye


"It is easier to pull down than to build up."
-  Latin proverb


"Technology is a gift of God.   After the gift of life it is perhaps the greatest of God's gifts.  It is the mother of civilizations, of arts and of sciences."
-  Freeman Dyson, Infinite in All Directions


"The gifts of microscopes to our understanding of cells and organisms is so profound that one has to ask:  What are the gifts of the microscopist?  Here is my opinion.  The gift of the great microscopist is the ability to "Think with the eyes and see with the brain."  Deep revelations into the nature of living things continue to travel on beams of light."
-  Daniel Mazia  


"So deeply is the gardener's instinct implanted in my soul, I really love the tools with which I work -  the iron fork, the spade, the hoe, the rake, the trowel, and the watering pot are pleasant objects in my eyes."
-  Celia Thaxter


"A razor may be sharper than an ax, but it cannot cut wood."
-  African, Annang, proverb


"All of us are watchers – of television, of time clocks, of traffic on the freeway – but few are observers. Everyone is looking, not many are seeing."
-  Peter M. Leschak  


"Nothing tends so much to the advancement of knowledge as the application of a new instrument. The native intellectual powers of men in different times are not so much the causes of the different success of their labours, as the peculiar nature of the means and artificial resources in their possession."
-  Sir Humphrey Davy


How to Support this Website


"Enough shovels of earth - a mountain.  Enough pails of water - a river."
-  Chinese proverb


"Duct tape is like "The Force."  It has a light side, a dark side, and it holds the universe together."
-  Carl Zwanzig


"Hide not your talents. They for use were made. What's a sundial in the shade."
-  Ben Franklin


"Never worry about theory as long as the machinery does what it's supposed to do."
-  Robert A. Heinlein


"Naturam expelles furca, tamen usque recurret.
You can drive out nature with a pitchfork but she always returns."
-  Horace


"Nature does not complete things.  She is chaotic.  Man must finish, and he does so by making a garden and building a wall."
-  Robert Frost


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





"The nail that sticks out is hammered down."
-  Japanese proverb 


"The microscope is man's noblest, supreme, and most far-reaching tool."
-  Adrianus Pijper 


Touching - Thoughts and Quotations for Gardeners

Tools - Thoughts and Quotations for Gardeners

Pulling Onions: Thoughts of a Gardener

Hands and Touching: Reflections, Studies, Bibliography, Quotations



More about the need for conformity than about tools, although conformity is a tool of society.

If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.


"We have to understand that the world can only be grasped by action not by contemplation.  The hand is more important than the eye...  The hand is the cutting edge of the mind."
-  Jacob Bronowski


“Where the telescope ends the microscope begins. Which of the two has the grander view?”
-  Victor Hugo 


"At one point consciousness-altering devices like the microscope and telescope were criminalized for exactly the same reasons that psychedelic plants were banned in later years. They allow us to peer into bits and zones of Chaos."
-  Timothy Leary  


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 January 1999
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: April 30, 2011 

Green Way Research

Paths in the Valley Blog