Quotes For Gardeners



The Natural World

Quotes  ...  Links  ... References


Compiled by Michael P. Garofalo

From the Spirit of Gardening Website







Only to the white man was nature a wilderness.
- Luther Standing Bear




It may be quite possible to live happily and healthfully on a garden-earth.   Rapids could
be (in fact, are being), constructed for river runners, walls build for rock climbers, and
mazes developed for people who liked to get lost.  Wilderness travel, like the horse and
buggy, might become a quaint historical artifact - charming but unimportant to a society
whose needs and perceptions have changed.  In that case, the movement for the appreciation
and then the preservation of wilderness may have succeeded in accomplishing something
posterity will find irrelevant.  But, on the other side, there is the argument to keep the
options of the future open with regard to something that, by definition,
mankind can never create.
-   Roderick Nash, Wilderness and the American Mind, 1982




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The idea of wilderness needs no defense.  It only needs more defenders. 
Remaining silent about the destruction of nature is an endorsement of that destruction.
-  Edward Abbey




Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.  Nature's peace will flow
into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own
freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop
off like autumn leaves.
-  John Muir





Stay out of the bush.  It is already in good order.
-   Bill Mollisson





Without enough wilderness America will change. 
Democracy, with its myriad personalities and increasing
sophistication, must be fibred and vitalized by the regular
contact with outdoor growths -- animals, trees, sun
warmth, and free skies -- or it
will dwindle and pale.

--Walt Whitman





The wilderness and the idea of wilderness is one of the
permanent homes of the human spirit.
-   Joseph Wood Krutch




There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely
shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and
music in its roar; I love not Man the less, but Nature more.
-  Lord Byron





Mountains and deserts, with their sparse life at the limit
of existence, make one restless and disconsolate; one
becomes an explorer in an intellectual realm
as well as in a physical one.
-   George Schaller





We could have saved the Earth but we were too damned cheap.
-  Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.





Hope and the future for me are not in the lawns
and cultivated fields, not in the towns and cities, but
in the impervious and  quaking swamps.
-  Henry David Thoreau, Walking





In wildness is the preservation of the world.
-  Henry David Thoreau




Earth - Quotes for Gardeners





It was not that the jagged precipices were lofty, that the encircling woods were
the dimmest shade, or that the waters were profoundly deep; but that over all,
rocks, wood, and water, brooded the spirit of repose, and the silent energy of
nature stirred the soul to its inmost depths.
-  Thomas Cole





Society is like a lawn, where every roughness is smoothed, every
bramble eradicated, and where the eye is delighted by the smiling
verdure of a velvet surface.  He, however, who would study nature in
its wildness and variety, must plunge into the forest, must explore the
glen, must stem the torrent, and dare the precipice.
-   Washington Irving





Splendid wildlife sights are a reminder that, while the gardens
derives much of its beauty through our own endeavor and
creativity, nature is still the world's most abundant and
talented artist.

-  Jane Camp





Water - Quotes for Gardeners





Degged with dew, dappled with dew
Are the groins of the braes that the brook treads through,
Wiry heathpacks, flitches of fern,
And the headbonny ash that sits over the burn.

What would the world be, once bereft
Of wet and of wildness? Let them be left,
O Let them be left, wildness and wet:
Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.
- Gerard Manley Hopkins, 1844-1889, Inversnaid






In wilderness I sense the miracle of life, and behind it 
our scientific accomplishments fade to trivia.  
-   Charles A. Lindbergh






We simply need to see ... wild country available to us, even if
we never do more than drive to its edge and look in.  It can
be a means of reassuring ourselves of our sanity as
creatures, a part of the geography of hope.
-   Wallace Stegner





You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.
-  Antoine De Saint-Exupery, Little Prince





It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon
men's hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that
emanates from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews
a weary spirit.
-   Robert Louis Stevenson





Some men there are who find in nature all
Their inspiration, hers the sympathy
Which spurs them on to any great endeavor,
To them the fields and woods are closest friends,
And they hold dear communion with the hills;
The voice of waters soothes them with its fall,
And the great winds bring healing in their sound.
To them a city is a prison house.
-   Amy Lowell  (1874-1925)





We need wilderness whether or not we ever set foot in it.
We need a refuge even though we may never need to go there.
-   Edward Abbey





Because they didn't want to make a garden
out of the grandeur of God's desert
or an oasis out of the sand.
People are not the only owners of the land,
nor trees the only expression of God --
so are devil's claw and the tumbleweed,
the creatures of night and the big-horned sheep.
The whip-tailed lizard sticks out his tongue
at our presumption to garnish the land.
-  Jan Haag, Arizona Desert





A school of perch darted in and out of the rocks.  They were green
and gold and black, and I was fascinated by their beauty.  Seagulls
wheeled and cried above me.  Waves crashed against the pier.   I
was alone in a wild and lovely place, part of the dark forest through

which I had come, and of all the wild sounds and colors and feelings
of the place I had found.  That day I entered into a life of
indescribable beauty and delight.  There I believe I heard
the singing wilderness for the first time.
-   Sigurd F. Olson, The Singing Wilderness, 1956




Ecology - Quotes for Gardeners




When a man wantonly destroys one of the works of man
we call him a vandal. When he destroys one of the
works of god we call him a sportsman.
-   Joseph Wood Krutch





A garden is a place where these two whilom foes, Nature and
Man, patch up a peace for the nonce.  Outside the garden
precincts - in the furrowed field, in the forest, the quarry, the
mine, out upon the broad seas - the feud still prevails that began
when our first parents found themselves on the wrong side of
the gate of Paradise.
-   John D. Sedding, Garden-Craft, 1893






The disciples are drawn to the high altars with magnetic certainty,
knowing that a great Presence hovers over the ranges ... You were
within the portals of the temple ...  to enter the wilderness and seek,
in the primal patterns of nature, a magical union with beauty.
-   Ansel Adams, Sierra Club Bulletin, 1931






Will urban sprawl spread so far that most people lose all touch
with nature?  Will the day come when the only bird a typical
American child ever sees is a canary in a pet shop window?
When the only wild animal he knows is a rat - glimpsed on a
night drive through some city slum?  When the only tree he
touches is the cleverly fabricated plastic evergreen that
shades his gifts on Christmas morning?

-   Frank N. Ikard, 1968




I went to the woods because I wished to live
deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life,
and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and
not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.
-  Henry David Thoreau, Walden Pond





When standing on top of a mountain or precipice, when walking through a
field in bloom or watching the night sky, it is more difficult to keep
up pretensions, either with others or with ourselves. When we turn to
nature, greed and fear vanish; our defenses drop and we discover the
sincerity we so easily lose in our everyday struggles and compromises.
And through an unfathomable resonance, the spontaneity of nature
reawakens the spontaneity of our innermost being.
Piero Ferrucci, Inevitable Grace




I settled at Cold Mountain long ago,
Already it seems like years and years.
Freely drifting, I prowl the woods and streams
And linger watching things themselves.
Men don't get this far into the mountains,
White clouds gather and billow.
Thin grass does for a mattress,
The blue sky makes a good quilt.
Happy with a stone underhead
Let heaven and earth go about their changes.
-  Gary Snyder






Something will have gone out of us as a people if we ever let the
remaining wilderness be destroyed; if we permit the last virgin
forests to be turned into comic books and plastic cigarette cases;
if we drive the few remaining members of the wild species into
zoos or to extinction; if we pollute the last clear air and dirty the
last clean streams and push our paved roads through the last of
the silence, so that never again will Americans be free in their own
country from the noise, the exhausts, the stinks of human and
automotive waste.  And so that never again can we have the
chance to see ourselves single, separate, vertical and individual
in the world, part of the environment of trees and rocks and soil,
brother to the other animals, part of the natural world and
competent to belong in it.
-    Wallace Stegner, Wilderness Letter, 1960






I like to live in the sound of water, in the feel of the mountain air.
A sharp reminder hits me: this world still is alive; it stretches out
there shivering toward its own creation, and I’m part of it. Even
my breathing enters into this elaborate give-and-take, this bowing

to sun and moon, day or night, winter, summer, storm, still — this
tranquil chaos that seems to be going somewhere.  This wilderness

with a great peacefulness in it.  This motionless turmoil,
this everything dance.
-   William Stafford






                                    When despair for the world grows in me
                                    and I wake in the night at the least sound
                                    in fear of what may life and my children’s lives may be,
                                    I go and lie down where the wood drake
                                    rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
                                    I come into the peace of wild things
                                    who do not tax their lives with forethought
                                    of grief.  I come into the presence of still water.
                                    And I feel above me the day-blind stars
                                    waiting with their light.  For a time
                                    I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
                                                    -   Wendell Berry, Openings: The Peace of Wild Things







Come to the woods, for here is rest.   For there is no repose
Like that of the deep green woods.  Sleep in forgetfulness of

all ills.  Nature's peace will flow into you as
sunshine flows into trees."
-   John Muir





In wilderness people can find the silence and the solitude 
and the noncivilized surroundings that can connect them 
once again to their evolutionary heritage, and through an 
experience of the eternal mystery, can give them a sense 
of the sacredness of all creation.

-   Sigurd Olson (1899-1982)





I remember a hundred lovely lakes, and recall the fragrant breath of 
pine and fir and cedar and poplar trees.  The trail has strung upon it, 
as upon a thread of silk, opalescent dawns and saffron sunsets.  It 
has given me blessed release from care and worry and the troubled 
thinking of our modern day.  It has been a return to the primitive and 
the peaceful.  Whenever the pressure of our complex city life thins 
my blood and benumbs my brain, I seek relief in the trail; and when 
I hear the coyote wailing to the yellow dawn, my cares fall from 
me—I am happy.
-   Hamlin Garland, McClure’s, February 1899







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Links and References



Ecology Links

The Machine in the Garden:  Technology and the Pastoral Ideal in America.  By Leo Marx.  New York, 1964. 

Nature in American Literature.  By Norman Foerster.  New York, 1923. 

The Necessary Earth:  Nature and Solitude in American Literature.   By Wilson O. Clough.  Austin, 1964. 

Philmont Ranger Wilderness Quotebook

Quotations from John Muir selected by Harold Wood.

The Quest for Paradise: Europe and the American Moral Imagination.  By Charles L. Sanford.  Urbana, Ill., 1961.

Virgin Land:  The American West as Symbol and Myth.   By Henry Nash Smith.  Cambridge, Mass., 1950.

Wilderness and the American Mind.   By Roderick Nash.   New Haven, Yale University Press, 1967.  3rd Edition in 1982.   Index, bibliography, notes, 425 pages.  ISBN: 0-300-02910-1.




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More Quotes



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Spirituality and Concerns of the Soul


Weeds and Weeding

Simplicity and the Simple Life

Pulling Onions
Quips, Maxims and Observations by Michael P. Garofalo

The Essence of Gardening

Working in the Garden

Garden Digest Links


Haiku Poetry  -  Links and References

Cliches for Gardeners and Farmers

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

Short Poems by Mike Garofalo

Seeing and Vision

Beauty in the Garden

Seasons and Time

Comments about this Web Site

Jokes, Riddles and Humor


Quotes for Gardeners

Quotes, Sayings, Proverbs, Poetry, Maxims, Quips, Cliches, Adages, Wisdom
A Collection Growing to Over 2,000 Quotes, Arranged by 105 Topics
Many of the Documents Include Recommended Readings and Internet Links.
Compiled by Michael P. Garofalo



The Spirit of Gardening






Distributed on the Internet by Michael P. Garofalo


I Welcome Your Comments, Ideas, Contributions, and Suggestions
E-mail Mike Garofalo in Red Bluff, California



A Short Biography of Mike Garofalo

Wilderness  -  Quotes for Gardeners:  Version 4.7.





The Spirit of Gardening

Quotes for Gardeners

Haiku and Short Poems

The History of Gardening Timeline

Cloud Hands: Taijiquan and Qigong


Zen Poetry

Fitness and Well Being

Green Way Research


Trees and Forests