The Quote Garden ™
“I dig old books.” ™
Quotations about Flowers
Roses & Thorns
Flowers are the sweetest things that God ever made, and forgot to put a soul into. ~Henry Ward Beecher, as quoted by E. D. Procter, in Life Thoughts, 1858
Earth laughs in flowers... ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Hamatreya"
How extraordinary flowers are... People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us. ~Iris Murdoch, A Fairly Honourable Defeat, 1970
For myself I hold no preferences among flowers, so long as they are wild, free, spontaneous. (Bricks to all greenhouses! Black thumb and cutworm to the potted plant!) ~Edward Abbey, "Cliffrose and Bayonets," Desert Solitaire, 1968
[F]lowers... adorn our lanes, fields and fells, and... smile upon us and cheer and bless us in our country rambles.... the lovely blossoms... kiss the clear brooks and mountain wells... ~James Rigg, "Preface," Wild Flower Lyrics and Other Poems, 1897
I will be the gladdest thing
Under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers
And not pick one...
~Edna St. Vincent Millay, "Afternoon on a Hill," 1917
Flowers and fruits are always fit presents; flowers because they are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty outvalues all the utilities of the world.... these delicate flowers look like the frolic and interference of love and beauty. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Gifts"
A morning-glory at my window satisfies me more than the metaphysics of books. ~Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass
[T]he morning-glories on the wall
Fling out their purple trumpets to the wind,—
~Elizabeth Chase Akers Allen (1832–1911), "October," c.1866
Through primrose tufts, in that green bower,
The periwinkle trailed its wreaths;
And 'tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes.
~William Wordsworth, "Lines Written in Early Spring," 1798
A cherry tree
And there are no flowers,
But the spring breeze
Brings forth myriad blossoms!
Perfumes are the feelings of flowers, and as the human heart, imagining itself alone and unwatched, feels most deeply in the night-time, so seems it as if the flowers, in musing modesty, await the mantling eventide ere they give themselves up wholly to feeling, and breathe forth their sweetest odours. Flow forth, ye perfumes of my heart, and seek beyond these mountains the dear one of my dreams! ~Heinrich Heine, "The Hartz Journey" (1824), Pictures of Travel, translated from German by Charles Godfrey Leland, 1855
Summer set lip to earth's bosom bare,
And left the flushed print in a poppy there:
Like a yawn of fire from the grass it came,
And the fanning wind puffed it to flapping flame...
"Look at us," said the violets, blooming at her feet. "All last winter we slept in seeming death, as your mother is sleeping now; but at the right time God awakened us, and here we are to comfort you." ... Thus the peace and hopefulness of nature were breathed into her heart... ~Edward Payson Roe, Near to Nature's Heart, 1876
Flowers seem intended for the solace of ordinary humanity... ~John Ruskin, "On Leaf Beauty: Leaves Motionless," Modern Painters, 1843
Dewdripping rhododendron glisten faerylike in the porchlight. ~David J. Beard (1947–2016), @Raqhun, tweet, 2008
Pluck not the wayside-flower,
It is the traveller's dower...
~William Allingham, "Wayside Flowers"
We love to fancy that a flower is the point of transition at which a material thing touches the immaterial; it is the sentient vegetable soul. We ascribe dispositions to it; we treat it as we would an innocent child. A stem or root has no suggestion of life. A leaf advances toward it; and some leaves are as fine as flowers, and have, moreover, a grace of motion seldom had by flowers. Flowers have an expression of countenance as much as men or animals. Some seem to smile; some have a sad expression; some are pensive and diffident; others, again, are plain, honest, and upright, like the broad-faced sunflower and the hollyhock. We find ourselves speaking of them as laughing, as gay and coquettish, as nodding and dancing. No man of sensibility ever spoke of a flower as he would of a fungus, a pebble, or a sponge. Indeed, they are more life-like than many animals. We commune with flowers; we go to them if we are sad or glad; but a toad, a worm, an insect, we repel, as if real life was not half so real as imaginary life. What a pity flowers can utter no sound! A singing rose, a whispering violet, a murmuring honeysuckle, oh! what a rare and exquisite miracle would these be! ~Henry Ward Beecher
Give me odorous at sunrise a garden of beautiful flowers, where I can walk undisturbed... ~Walt Whitman
The first wild-flower of the year is like land after sea. ~Thomas Wentworth Higginson, "April Days," 1861
Flawlessly, the weather continued. As it was with the garden, so it was with the meadows. The rhomboid fields below the Blandings house lay warped on the hills, and each was a bedazzling flung scarf of wildflowers. ~Eric Hodgins, Blandings' Way, 1950
Rose, O you completely perfect thing,
always self-contained and yet
spilling yourself forever...
~Rainer Maria Rilke (1875–1926), translated from the French by A. Poulin, Jr., 1979
The flower is the poetry of reproduction. It is an example of the eternal seductiveness of life. ~Jean Giraudoux
God's grandest messages are not loudly self-assertive. His most fragrant flowers, unlike the hollyhocks and the sunflowers, do not challenge the attention of the careless wayfarer, but hide under the cool hedgerows and only betray themselves by their sweetness. Our dearest and deepest joys are not those which we have in the glare of publicity, but those which cluster round about us in the home. ~Alfred Rowland, "The Clouds: God's Angels of the Sea," in The Sunday Magazine (London), 1884
[F]lowers really do intoxicate me. ~Vita Sackville-West
The quality of scent or perfume is essential, and any flower that lacks perfume is far from perfect, no matter what other qualities it may possess. ~T.H. Cook, James Douglas, and J.F. McLeod, Carnations & Pinks, 1911
BOUQUET Flora, with a sash on. ~Charles Wayland Towne, The Altogether New Foolish Dictionary, by Gideon Wurdz, 1914
Flowers whisper "Beauty!" to the world, even as they fade, wilt, fall. ~Dr. SunWolf, tweet, 2013, professorsunwolf.com
Flowers don't worry about how they're going to bloom. They just open up and turn toward the light and that makes them beautiful. ~Jim Carrey, @JimCarrey, tweet, 2010
The lovely flowers embarrass me,
They make me regret I am not a bee –
~Emily Dickinson, 1864
And then the rose-border. What intensity in those odorous buds of the Bon Silene, making the very spirit bound as though a message had reached it from heaven. And the verbena bed is compassed with fitful fragrance. Even the pansies, with their dewy eyes, are ready to rival the violets now.... Nor must the purple buds of the calycanthus be forgotten. 'Sweet-scented shrub' indeed; for let me hide but a single one of these in some fold of my dress, and the spices of Araby will float around me till the evening. ~Sarah Smiley
The flower offered of itself
And eloquently spoke
In languages of rainbows
And secret silence...
~Phillip Pulfrey, from Love, Abstraction and other Speculations, www.originals.net
Every flower is a soul blossoming in nature. ~Gérard de Nerval
Oh, the Cape Ann roses! I wish that my cheeks could match their delicate tints, and I, by some mysterious process of enfleurage, could absorb their scent. Like all things too exquisite to battle, their petals fall so easily. The house is kept full of these beautiful roses, — wild, because single-petalled, I presume, — and in the morning the floors are covered with pink, as if fairy bridesmaids had floated through and had dropped their hats in their flight. ~Laura L. Livingstone (Herbert Dickinson Ward), Lauriel: The Love Letters of an American Girl, 1901
There is that in the glance of a flower which may at times control the greatest of creation's braggart lords. ~John Muir, 1867 October 19th, A Thousand-Mile Walk To the Gulf
Flowers are fragrant metaphors —
Happy colors sing "Carpe diem!"
Wilting whispers "Memento mori."
A glance, that, into the deepest deep of Beauty. 'The lilies of the field,'—dressed finer than earthly princes, springing-up there in the humble furrow-field; a beautiful eye looking-out on you, from the great inner Sea of Beauty! How could the rude Earth make these if her Essence, rugged as she looks and is, were not inwardly Beauty? ~Thomas Carlyle, "The Hero as Poet," lecture, 1840
With daffodils mad footnotes for the spring,
And asters purple asterisks for autumn...
~Conrad Aiken, "Prelude," 1930
A rose's secret is not its scent, but the thrilling tales of hidden life its roots could tell. ~Henry Stanley Haskins, "Life's Resources," Meditations in Wall Street, 1940
But I insist that hollyhocks were brought to New England for the same reason they were taken to Old England, for the sake of beauty, for the satisfaction of seeing those crinkled silken petals spread their color in midsummer. ~Hal Borland
Lord Henry went out to the garden, and found Dorian Gray burying his face in the great cool lilac-blossoms, feverishly drinking in their perfume as if it had been wine. He came close to him, and put his hand upon his shoulder. "You are quite right to do that," he murmured. "Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul." ~Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine, July 1890
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance...
~William Wordsworth, 1804
Against a dark sky all flowers look like fireworks. There is something strange about them, at once vivid and secret, like flowers traced in fire in the phantasmal garden of a witch. ~G.K. Chesterton, Alarms and Discursions, "The Glory of Grey"
The flowers of late winter and early spring occupy places in our hearts well out of proportion to their size. ~Gertrude Smith Wister (1905–1999)
Springtime flowers bloom like colorful arrows piercing their way to the sun. ~Terri Guillemets
...See Hieracium's various tribe,
Of plumy seed and radiate flowers,
The course of Time their blooms describe,
And wake or sleep appointed hours....
~Charlotte Turner Smith (1749–1806), "The Horologe of the Fields" Addressed to a Young Lady, on seeing at the House of an Acquaintance a magnificent French Timepiece, published 1807
...Broad o'er its imbricated cup
The Goatsbeard spreads its golden rays,
But shuts its cautious petals up,
Retreating from the noon-tide blaze...
~Charlotte Turner Smith (1749–1806), "The Horologe of the Fields"
...Silene, who declines
The garish noontide's blazing light;
But when the evening crescent shines,
Gives all her sweetness to the night....
~Charlotte Turner Smith (1749–1806), "The Horologe of the Fields"
...Thus in each flower and simple bell,
That in our path untrodden lie,
Are sweet remembrancers who tell
How fast the winged moments fly.
Time will steal on with ceaseless pace,
Yet lose we not the fleeting hours,
Who still their fairy footsteps trace,
As light they dance among the flowers.
~Charlotte Turner Smith (1749–1806), "The Horologe of the Fields" Addressed to a Young Lady, on seeing at the House of an Acquaintance a magnificent French Timepiece, published 1807
Mrs. C. Smith, in her last poetical volume, which, alas, is truly a legacy, has fully vindicated her pretensions to the laurel. Her love of Botany, as well as of Poetry, often leads her to the fields, and she suffers not a flower to remain unsung. The thought, in [The Horologe of the Fields], is fanciful, the descriptions are accurate, and the moral excellent. ~Oliver Oldschool, The Port Folio (New Series), 1807 December 12th, Philadelphia
Have you blossoms and books, those solaces of sorrow? ~Emily Dickinson, 1885
Can we conceive what humanity would be if it did not know the flowers? ~Maurice Maeterlinck, "Old-Fashioned Flowers," 1905, translated by A. Teixeira de Mattos
It is not on the artist's canvas, but in the gardener's flower that the greatest wealth of color may be seen... Flowers possess the next best quality of color tone to that which we see in the ranibow. ~F. Schuyler Mathews, "Comparative Colors and their Relation to Flowers," 1894
...the yellow blossoms, starry dandelions fair...
...golden wands, yellow treasures rare...
...in fair or stormy weather, dandelions still bloom on...
...no gold of earth discloses half the joy childhood knows...
...starry blossoms bloom below you and shine at your feet...
~Ouina (Cora L. V. Scott Richmond), given through her Medium "Water Lily," Ouina's Canoe, 1882 [poem-pluckt phrases, a little altered —tg]
In the corner near her was a rich surprise of new-blown, crystal-dewed roses. ~L. M. Montgomery, Anne of the Island, 1915
That a pansy is transitive, is its only pang. ~Emily Dickinson, 1875
There it is: a white, single peony with petals as soft and lustrous as a butterfly's wing, fragile, graceful. If you touch it you will find that it is smoother and softer than satin. The fragrance is so delicate that you must almost hold your breath to get it. It is a fairy flower. Can you see it, touch it, smell it and not love it?... The next time I live I wish I might be a single, white peony so that people would... involuntarily catch their breath at the sight of me. ~Ruth Stout [Mash-up quote from How to Have a Green Thumb Without an Aching Back, 1955, and The Ruth Stout No-Work Garden Book, 1971 —tg]
Light of the moon
Moves west, flowers' shadows
From boyhood I have been in love with the Wildlings: I rank them among my teachers and preachers. To me, as to thousands, they ever seem to whisper such sweet things, and tell such strange and fairy-like stories of their present and past existence, that they appeal to the highest faculties of our being. ~James Rigg, "Preface," Wild Flower Lyrics and Other Poems, 1897 #wildflowers
The slender pink, whose velvet bloom
In tints so delicately pale
Scatters around a rich perfume,
And gladdens all the neighboring vale,
Is gather'd by some smiling maid,
Her loosely flowing hair to braid...
~Michael Wodhull, Esq. (1740–1816), "Ode III: To the Dryads," 1762
A flower's appeal is in its contradictions — so delicate in form yet strong in fragrance, so small in size yet big in beauty, so short in life yet long on effect. ~Terri Guillemets
For daisies are white star beams, from heaven fair and bright,
And they always mean gladness, they bring us pure delight.
~Ouina (Cora L. V. Scott Richmond), given through her Medium "Water Lily," "My Garden," Ouina's Canoe, 1882
The stem of a departed flower
Has still a silent rank,
The bearer from an emerald court
Of a despatch of pink.
~Emily Dickinson, 1881
Said the other, little daisy, "I am very well content
To live simply in the meadow where the sun and rain are sent;
Where the bees all gather sweetness, and the dew falls on my head,
And the radiance of the moonlight is all around me shed.
"The grass and clover blossoms admire my beauty all day long,
As I listen to the music of a bird's delightful song..."
~Gertrude Tooley Buckingham, "Two Little Daisies," 1940s [The other little daisy was wishing to be a rose. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]
Here, he could exist; "but mere existence is not enough," he sighed; "to live, one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower!" ~Hans Christian Andersen, "The Butterfly," translated by Caroline Peachey
The Daisy is a Weed of little Worth—
Save that it makes a Dearer Place of Earth.
~Arthur Guiterman, "Of Flowers and Bees," A Poet's Proverbs, 1924
You can see the goldenrod, that most tenacious and pernicious and beauteous of all New England flora, bowing away from the wind like a great and silent congregation. ~Stephen King, 'Salem's Lot
flowery garden art
Wandering through the woodlands, we cannot fail to notice a small white, delicate, bell-shaped flower, which blooms freely in the shady place, yet may often be found decking the high mountain. It is the pretty wood-sorrel (Oxalis acetosella).... It was found by Captain Parry in places where scarcely any other flower ventured to blossom.... It is a humble little flower, lowly in growth, its delicate pearl-white petals elegantly veined with purple lines.... Almost as beautiful is its bright green triplet leaf, shaped like three small hearts joined together at the points, and which spring profusely around the blossoms. It is the most sensitive wilding we have; for so soon as the evening dews begin to fall, it droops its leaves around the stems, and ever seems to shrink at the approach of night, or the faintest whisper of a coming storm. ~Leigh Page, Stars of the Earth: Or, Wild Flowers of the Months, 1868 [Behind Shelley's "sensitive plant" (mimosa pudica, el morí-viví), this is a great candidate to be the floral symbol of the HSP-INFJ! —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]
The flower that follows the sun does so even in cloudy days. ~Robert Leighton
I wonder if the Daffodil
Shrinks from the touch of frost,
And when her veins grow stiff and still
She dreams that life is lost?
Ah, if she does, how sweet a thing
Her resurrection day in spring!
~Emma C. Dowd, "Daffodil and Crocus," in Country Life in America: A Magazine for the Home-maker, the Vacation-seeker, the Gardener, the Farmer, the Nature-teacher, the Naturalist, April 1902
[L]et us linger awhile in the wonderful old Lilac walk. It is a glory of tender green and shaded amethyst and grateful hum of bees, the very voice of Spring. Every sense is gratified, even that of touch, when the delicate plumes of the fragrant Lilac blossoms brush your cheek as you walk through its path; there is no spot of fairer loveliness than this Lilac walk in May. It is a wonderful study of flickering light and grateful shade in midsummer.... The very spirit of the Lilacs seems visible, etched with a purity of touch that makes them sentient, speaking beings, instead of silent plants. ~Alice Morse Earle, "In Lilac Tide," Old-Time Gardens Newly Set Forth, 1901
What a significance wild flowers have, more than the tamed productions of the garden! They seem Heaven's own messengers sent straight to man to bear glad tidings of universal and undying love. ~Henry James Slack (1818–1896), The Ministry of the Beautiful, "Conversation XIII: A Rocky Lane in Summer," 1850 [Edith speaking —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]
You smell the lilac and there comes flooding back the memories of the days when you first knew lilacs and carried them about as if they were the queen-flower of the world. ~Eva D. Kellogg, "May," 1902
Flowers rewrite soil, water, and sunshine into petal'd poetry. ~Terri Guillemets
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.
~Thomas Gray, 1751
The day was beautiful. Anne sat down on the old bench in Hester Gray's garden. Before, it had been lovely with narcissus and violets; now golden rod had kindled its fairy torches in the corners and asters dotted it bluely. ~L. M. Montgomery, Anne of the Island, 1915 [a little altered —tg]
A flower in an old book
dried as dry can be
but beautiful in its colors
a bookmark to eternity.
Being perfect artists and ingenuous poets, the Chinese have piously preserved the love and holy cult of flowers; one of the very rare and most ancient traditions which has survived their decadence. And since flowers had to be distinguished from each other, they have attributed graceful analogies to them, dreamy images, pure and passionate names which perpetuate and harmonize in our minds the sensations of gentle charm and violent intoxication with which they inspire us. So it is that certain peonies, their favorite flower, are saluted by the Chinese, according to their form or color, by these delicious names, each an entire poem and an entire novel: The Young Girl Who Offers Her Breasts, or: The Water That Sleeps Beneath the Moon, or: The Sunlight in the Forest, or: The First Desire of the Reclining Virgin, or: My Gown Is No Longer All White Because in Tearing It the Son of Heaven Left a Little Rosy Stain; or, even better, this one: I Possessed My Lover in the Garden. ~Octave Mirbeau, "The Garden," Torture Garden, 1899 [If you are interested in writings on the names of flowers, see also Thomas Wentworth Higginson's beautiful essay "April Days" from the 1800s, and the January 11th entry of My Kalendar of Country Delights by Helen Rose Anne Milman Crofton, 1903. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]
Watching the iris,
The faint and fragile petals —
How am I worthy?
I long for flowers that bend with the wind and rain... ~Tso Ssu
of pink roses bending ragged in the rain—
speaks to me of all gentleness and its
~William Carlos Williams, "To All Gentleness"
I have had primroses put in this little flower-pot. They are a bit crowded, and their poor little stems are prisoners; they are no longer in their garden. I look at them on my table like a vivisector. ~Auguste Rodin (1840–1917), translated by S. K. Star
Dear common flower, that grow'st beside the way,
Fringing the dusty road with harmless gold,
First pledge of blithesome May,
Which children pluck, and, full of pride uphold,
High-hearted buccaneers, o'erjoyed that they
An Eldorado in the grass have found,
Which not the rich earth's ample round
May match in wealth, thou art more dear to me
Than all the prouder summer-blooms may be.
~James Russell Lowell, "To the Dandelion"
To the Dandelion...
My childhood's earliest thoughts are linked with thee...
~James Russell Lowell
There is no longer the sap of life in flowers in a vase. ~Auguste Rodin (1840–1917), translated by S. K. Star
These anemones are flowers that have stayed up too late at night... ~Auguste Rodin (1840–1917), translated by S. K. Star
The meadow hedge hides meadowlarks
Whose voices rise as rise the roses,
Breaking at the top in bloom
Of sound and scent while daytime dozes...
~Mark Van Doren, "The Only World," 1950
Poor little flower with bent head, you are not ridiculous; you are pensive now that you are dying. You suffer from the cruelty of the stem which holds you back. ~Auguste Rodin (1840–1917), translated by S. K. Star
Flowers give their lives to us... Near them, gold and silver seem of no value. ~Auguste Rodin (1840–1917), translated by S. K. Star
These three little narcissi group themselves like a cluster of electric lights... A maiden on a lake, that is the narcissus. ~Auguste Rodin (1840–1917), translated by S. K. Star
Little red marguerite, not yet open, sister to the strawberry, huddled in the shade which caresses you. ~Auguste Rodin (1840–1917), translated by S. K. Star
A marguerite... Seen in full face, its yellow-tinted heart is a little sun; its long petals are like fingers playing the piano. ~Auguste Rodin (1840–1917), translated by S. K. Star
Whoever understands life loves flowers and their innocent caresses. ~Auguste Rodin (1840–1917), translated by S. K. Star
No man has a heart pure enough to interpret the freshness of flowers. ~Auguste Rodin (1840–1917), translated by S. K. Star
I am glad it is your birthday. It is this little bouquet's birthday too. Its Father is a very old man by the name of Nature... ~Emily Dickinson
How magnificent the flower becomes as its youth passes! Even the flowers have their setting sun. ~Auguste Rodin (1840–1917), translated by S. K. Star
The violence of passion in flowers is pronounced. ~Auguste Rodin (1840–1917), translated by S. K. Star
From childhood, I have had a most absorbing passion for flowers. What unheard-of qualities of moss and violets have I trailed from their shady birthplace, to some little nook... And then, how I have pitied the poor things, and feared they would not be so happy, as if I had left them alone... The flowers have spoken to me more than I can tell in written words. They are hieroglyphics of angels, loved by all men for the beauty of their character, though few can decipher even fragments of their meaning. ~Lydia Maria Child, 1842
Have you ever seen a flower down
Sometimes angels skip around
And in their blissful state of glee
Bump into a daisy or sweet pea.
Even if you think the Big Bang created the stars, don't you wonder who sent the flowers? ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com
I hope some day to meet God, because I want to thank Him for the flowers. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com
Plum blossoms in the moonlit glow
of a late February calm cool night —
magical soul-stirring springtime sight.
God loved the flowers and invented soil. Man loved the flowers and invented vases. ~My little variation of a saying by Jacques Deval ("God loved the birds and invented trees. Man loved the birds and invented cages.")
"Why, flowers are violent, cruel, terrible and splendid... like love!" He picked a ranunculus which gently swayed its golden head above the grass beside him, and with infinite delicacy, slowly and amorously, he turned it between his fat red fingers, from which the dried blood scaled off in places: "Isn't it adorable?" he repeated, looking at it. "It's so little, so fragile, and besides, it's all of nature; all the beauty and power of nature. It contains the world. A puny and relentless organism which goes straight to the goal of its desire! Ah, milady, flowers do not indulge in sentiment. They indulge in passion, nothing but passion. And they make love all the time, and in every fashion. They think of nothing else; and how right they are! Perverse? Because they obey the only law of life; because they are satisfied with the only need of life, which is love? But consider, milady, the flower is only a reproductive organ. Is there anything healthier, stronger, or more beautiful than that? These marvelous petals, those silks, these velvets... these soft, supple, and caressing materials are the curtains of the alcove, the draperies of the bridal chamber, the perfumed bed where they unite, where they pass their ephemeral and immortal life, swooning with love. What an admirable example for us!" ~Octave Mirbeau, "The Garden," The Torture Garden, 1899, translated from the French by Alvah C. Bessie, 1931
If you've never been thrilled to the very edges of your soul by a flower in spring bloom, perhaps your soul has never been in bloom. ~Terri Guillemets
Last saved 2021 May 02 Sun 22:07 PDT