The Quote Garden
 “I dig old books.”
 Est. 1998




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Quotations: Gardening,
Plants, Farming, Dirt & Soil



SEE ALSO:  WEEDS BEES FLOWERS NATURE RAIN WEATHER SEASONS SPRING SUMMER AUTUMN FRUIT VEGETABLES GREENS HOT PEPPERS PUMPKINS SALADS COOKING TREES BUTTERFLIES DRAGONFLIES LADYBUGS INSECTS BIRDS COLOR HEALTH


Who loves a garden still his Eden keeps;
Perennial pleasures plants, and wholesome harvest reaps.
~A. Bronson Alcott, "The Garden," Tablets, 1868


Observation. — Nevertheless, what a man needs in gardening is a cast-iron back, with a hinge in it. ~Charles Dudley Warner, My Summer in a Garden, "What I Know about Gardening: Third Week," 1870


Gardening is cheaper than therapy and you get tomatoes. ~Author unknown


Gardening is simply a matter of your enthusiasm holding up until your back gets used to it ~Author unknown, 1940s


In every gardener there is a child who believes in The Seed Fairy. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


That which people sow they shall also reap does not always apply to the pictures on the seed packages. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1903, George Horace Lorimer, editor


I have found, after a good deal of consideration, that the best place to seek God is in a garden. You can dig for Him there. ~Bernard Shaw, The Adventures of the Black Girl in Her Search for God, 1932


God made rainy days so gardeners could get the housework done. ~Author unknown


My garden... An hour or two of morning labor was all that it required. But I used to visit and re-visit it a dozen times a day, and stand in deep contemplation over my vegetable progeny, with a love that nobody could share or conceive of, who had never taken part in the process of creation. It was one of the most bewitching sights in the world to observe a hill of beans thrusting aside the soil, or a row of early peas just peeping forth sufficiently to trace a line of delicate green. Later in the season, the humming-birds were attracted by the blossoms of a peculiar variety of bean; and they were a joy to me, those little spiritual visitants... Multitudes of bees used to bury themselves in the yellow-blossoms of the summer-squashes... when they had laden themselves with sweets, they flew away to some unknown hive... I was glad thus to fling a benefaction upon the passing breeze, with the certainty that somebody must profit by it, and that there would be a little more honey in the world, to allay the sourness and bitterness which mankind is always complaining of. Yes, indeed; my life was the sweeter for that honey. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne, "The Old Manse," Mosses from an Old Manse, 1850


Plant carrots in January and you'll never have to eat carrots. ~Author unknown


      It was a joy of which he wanted to savour all the smell and taste the juice as long as possible, like a sheep eating grass in the evening among the hills. He went on like that, until the beautiful silence had settled within him and around him, like a meadow.
      He came to his fields. He stopped in front of them. He bent down, picked up a handful of that rich earth full of air and seeds. It was an earth full of good will.
      He felt all its good will with his fingers. ~Jean Giono (1895–1970), Regain, 1930, translated from the French by Henri Fluchè and Geoffrey Myers, Harvest, 1939


In golden April weather,
In sun and wind and rain,
Let us fare forth and follow
Beneath the spring's first swallow
By budding break and heather
To the good brown soil again!
~Frederick Frye Rockwell, "Invitation," Around the Year in the Garden, 1913


You can bury a lot of troubles digging in the dirt. ~Author unknown


There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace. To avoid the first danger, one should plant a garden, preferably where there is no grocer to confuse the issue. ~Aldo Leopold, "February: Good Oak," A Sand County Almanac, 1949


Plants cry their gratitude for the sun in green joy. ~Terri Guillemets


The garden is the poor man's apothecary. ~German proverb


Garden writing is often very tame, a real waste when you think how opinionated, inquisitive, irreverent and lascivious gardeners themselves tend to be. Nobody talks much about the muscular limbs, dark, swollen buds, strip-tease trees and unholy beauty that have made us all slaves of the Goddess Flora. ~Ketzel Levine's talkingplants.com


[O]n every stem, on every leaf, and both sides of it, and at the root of everything that grew, was a professional specialist in the shape of grub, caterpillar, aphis, or other expert, whose business it was to devour that particular part, and help murder the whole attempt at vegetation. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes


His to rejoice with exceeding great joy who plucks the fruit of his planting, but his the divine anointing who watched and waited and toiled and prayed, — and failed, — and can yet be glad. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "Wind-Wafted Wild Flowers," in The Open Court, August 1903


With rake and seeds and sower,
And hoe and line and reel,
When the meadows shrill with "peeping"
And the old world wakes from sleeping,
Who wouldn't be a grower
That has any heart to feel?
~Frederick Frye Rockwell, "Invitation," Around the Year in the Garden, 1913


It takes so little to make me happy:
An hour of planting
cucumbers
squash
tomatoes
is an hour filled with gold...
~Alice Walker, from "Rich," Hard Times Require Furious Dancing, 2010


We think that diamonds are very important, gold is very important, all these minerals are very important. We call them precious minerals, but they are all forms of the soil. But that part of this mineral that is on top, like it is the skin of the earth, that is the most precious of the commons. ~Wangari Maathai (1940–2011), Dirt! The Movie, 2009


No poet I've ever heard of has written an ode to a load of manure. Somebody should, and I'm not trying to be funny. ~Ruth Stout, "The Second Season," How to Have a Green Thumb Without an Aching Back, 1955


From an aunt, long ago: "Death has come for me many times but finds me always in my lovely garden and leaves me there, I think, as an excuse to return." ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


Let nature be in your yard. ~Greg Peterson, urbanfarm.org  [Said during Urban Farm tour, 2014 March 22nd, Phoenix, Arizona. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]


Coffee. Garden. Coffee. Does a good morning need anything else? ~Betsy Cañas Garmon, betsygarmon.com


Every radish I ever pulled up seemed to have a mortgage attached to it. ~Ed Wynn (1886–1966)


A house without a garden or orchard is unfurnished and incomplete. ~A. Bronson Alcott (1799–1888), quoted from louisamayalcott.org


A garden's a joy. Ours grows like anything. There's such a satisfaction in the spectacle of so much life and death in tune, and not opposed to anything. One's imagination lives every day a little while in that strange untroubled vegetable world, watching how it changes and doesn't care. Every day comes by, and changes everything; not a seed nor leaf nor bud remains the same or tries to. ~Rose Wilder Lane, letter to Dorothy Thompson, 1927, edited by William V. Holtz


Despite the gardener's best intentions, Nature will improvise. ~Michael P. Garofalo, gardendigest.com


Many things grow in the garden that were never sown there. ~English proverb


The love of dirt is among the earliest of passions, as it is the latest. Mud-pies gratify one of our first and best instincts. So long as we are dirty, we are pure. Fondness for the ground comes back to a man after he has run the round of pleasure and business, eaten dirt, and sown wild-oats.... To own a bit of ground, to scratch it with a hoe, to plant seeds and watch their renewal of life,—this is the commonest delight of the race, the most satisfactory thing a man can do.... Let us celebrate the soil. Most men toil that they may own a piece of it; they measure their success in life by their ability to buy it.... Broad acres are a patent of nobility; and no man but feels more of a man in the world if he have a bit of ground that he can call his own. However small it is on the surface, it is four thousand miles deep; and that is a very handsome property. ~Charles Dudley Warner, "Preliminary," My Summer in a Garden, 1870


[T]ake thy plastic spade,
It is thy pencil; take thy seeds, thy plants,
They are thy colours; and by these repay
With interest every charm [Nature] lent thy art.
~William Mason, The English Garden: A Poem (Book the First), 1772
[Before the word "plastic" meant the manufactured material that we relate to today, it meant "sculptural." It also means able to be molded or capable of adapting to varying conditions, flexible, etc. The word has been in use since at least the 1600s. Susie I. Tucker, in Protean Shape: A Study in Eighteenth-Century Vocabulary and Usage, writes "It is disconcerting that 'plastic' has ceased to be mainly the property of poets and philosophers, and come into the hands of manufacturers and advertisers, and indeed of all of us for our domestic concerns." Right on, sister! —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]


It pleases me to take amateur photographs of my garden, and it pleases my garden to make my photographs look professional. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


Creating your own urban farm is as simple as planting your flowerbeds with edibles. ~Greg Peterson, My Ordinary Extraordinary Yard: The Story of the Urban Farm, 2009, urbanfarm.org


In the garden I tend to drop my thoughts here and there. To the flowers I whisper the secrets I keep and the hopes I breathe. I know they are there to eavesdrop for the angels. ~Dodinsky


My garden is my favorite teacher. ~Betsy Cañas Garmon, betsygarmon.com


Delve in! The year's before us;
Spring's promise fills the air.
Descendants of Antæus,
The brown earth's touch can free us,
Renew us and restore us,
From the hand o' carking care.
~Frederick Frye Rockwell, "Invitation," Around the Year in the Garden, 1913


Our love of outdoor life is hereditary; Adam was a gardener. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1903, George Horace Lorimer, editor


The man who has planted a garden feels that he has done something for the good of the world.... It is a pleasure to eat of the fruit of one's toil, if it be nothing more than a head of lettuce or an ear of corn. One cultivates a lawn even with great satisfaction; for there is nothing more beautiful than grass and turf in our latitude.... the world without turf is a dreary desert.... To dig in the mellow soil... is a great thing. One gets strength out of the ground.... There is life in the ground; it goes into the seeds; and it also, when it is stirred up, goes into the man who stirs it. The hot sun on his back as he bends to shovel and hoe, or contemplatively rakes the warm and fragrant loam, is better than much medicine. ~Charles Dudley Warner, "Preliminary," My Summer in a Garden, 1870


In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt. ~Margaret Atwood, "Unearthing Suite"


Can't the people who write about gardening say this is a way, instead of saying this is the way? Can't they learn to make use of that little word "perhaps"?... Gardening is like cooking: read the recipe and then use your head. A dash of skepticism can do no harm. Go lightly on caution, heavily on adventure, and see what comes out. If you make a mistake, what of it? That is one way to learn, and tomorrow is another day. ~Ruth Stout, "It Ain't Necessarily So," How to Have a Green Thumb Without an Aching Back, 1955


He talked and contrived endlessly to the effect that I should understand the land, not as a commodity, an inert fact to be taken for granted, but as an ultimate value, enduring and alive, useful and beautiful and mysterious and formidable and comforting, beneficent and terribly demanding, worthy of the best of a man's attention and care.... he insisted that I learn to do the hand labor that the land required, knowing—and saying again and again—that the ability to do such work is the source of a confidence and an independence of character that can come no other way, not by money, not by education. ~Wendell Berry, The Hidden Wound  [‘He’ being Berry's father —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]


Green fingers are the extension of a verdant heart. ~Russell Page, 1962


In my garden I spend my days; in my library I spend my nights. My interests are divided between my geraniums and my books. With the flower I am in the present; with the book I am in the past. ~Alexander Smith, "Books and Gardens," Dreamthorp: A Book of Essays Written in the Country, 1863


Everything, from kings to cabbages, needs a root in the soil somewhere. ~Woods Hutchinson, A.M., M.D. (1862–1930), Civilization and Health, "Chapter XIV: The Vacation Habit," 1914 #grounding


No matter where you are you can grow something to eat. Shift your thinking and you'd be surprised at the places your food can be grown! Window sill, fire escape and rooftop gardens have the same potential to provide impressive harvests as backyard gardens, greenhouses and community spaces. ~Greg Peterson, Grow Wherever You Go! Discovering the Place Where Your Garden Lives, 2009, urbanfarm.org


When I go into my garden with a spade, and dig a bed, I feel such an exhilaration and health, that I discover that I have been defrauding myself all this time in letting others do for me what I should have done with my own hands. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Man the Reformer"


My little bit of earth in the front garden is one of the places that I find my bearings. The rhythm of my day begins with a cup of coffee and a little bit of weeding or dreaming. ~Betsy Cañas Garmon, betsygarmon.com


Anybody who wants to rule the world should try to rule a garden first. ~Gardening saying


Essential advice for the gardener: grow peas of mind, lettuce be thankful, squash selfishness, turnip to help thy neighbor, and always make thyme for loved ones. ~Author unknown


Plants give us oxygen for the lungs and for the soul. ~Terri Guillemets


I am writing in the garden. To write as one should of a garden one must not write outside it or merely somewhere near it, but in the garden. ~Frances Hodgson Burnett (1849–1924), In the Garden, published posthumously, 1925


I sit in my garden, gazing upon a beauty that cannot gaze upon itself. And I find sufficient purpose for my day. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


Can plants be happy? If they get what they need, they thrive — that's what I know. ~Terri Guillemets, "Lessons from Nature to the Human Heart"


An acre of land between the shore and the hills...
A garden I need never go beyond,
Broken but neat, whose sunflowers every one
Are fit to be the sign of the Rising Sun...
~Edward Thomas (1878–1917), "For These"


There is something primal, even sexy about growing asparagus in the garden that is lost to those who are only familiar with the canned variety. During the harvest each spring, it is with joyous anticipation that I visit the garden daily, simply for the satisfaction of finding those tender new shoots reaching up towards the sun. ~Kari Spencer, themicrofarmproject.com


Work, through the summer golden,
And through the autumn's glow,
Till the months lay down their burden
In the full garden's guerdon,
And earth, once more enfolden,
Sleeps warm beneath the snow.
~Frederick Frye Rockwell, "Invitation," Around the Year in the Garden, 1913


Can you do anything more fundamental than to raise food? Even Einstein has to eat. ~Rex Stout (1886–1975)


I've got health by garden,
a life of meaning and light
~Terri Guillemets, "Health by garden," 2019, blackout poetry created from Alice Walker, The Temple of My Familiar, 1989, page 179


I believe that virtually everyone has the ability to either grow some food at home, or to find an appropriate location to start a garden. I may sound like a kook who plants my landscape with cucumbers instead of carnations, peppers instead of petunias, and fruit trees rather than ficus, but I am convinced that wherever you go, you can grow food! Now is the time for us to join together and plant the seeds that will transform the places in which we live. ~Greg Peterson, Grow Wherever You Go! Discovering the Place Where Your Garden Lives, 2009, urbanfarm.org  [Here's a great 45-minute video of Greg talking about urban farms: youtube.com/watch?v=_liYW7diA5U  —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]


Outside leaves of cabbage, potato, turnip and beet peelings, pea hulls, corn husks... and food left on plates... When you throw all these things into the garden they are simply returning home, where they belong. ~Ruth Stout, "Throw Away Your Spade and Hoe," How to Have a Green Thumb Without an Aching Back: A New Method of Mulch Gardening, 1955


If you have any land at all, grow something. Anything edible. ~Joel Salatin, Folks, This Ain't Normal: A Farmer's Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World, 2011


Today I had set aside for spading. Now there is nothing pleasanter than spading when the ground is soft and damp. You turn a spade full and then carefully knock all the lumps to pieces and you go on for hours without thinking about anything. ~John Steinbeck, letter to Kate Beswick


How can I stand on the ground every day and not feel its power? How can I live my life stepping on this stuff and not wonder at it? Science says that an acre of soil produces one horsepower every day. But you could pour gasoline all over the ground forever and never see it sprout maple trees. ~William Bryant Logan, Dirt: The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth


Why try to explain miracles to your kids when you can just have them plant a garden. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


The boys and girls have some garden work, and watering the flowers was quite an exhilarating pastime to them; and there was threshing out beans with old-fashioned flails in the seed barn, and a good deal of trundling about of little hand-carts, and wheelbarrows adown the alleys in the great vegetable garden, which was laid out in such beds of asparagus and ranks of sweet corn and good things, and cut in two by a broad walk bordered all up and down with sunflowers, that it would have done the soul of Oscar Wilde good to contemplate. ~Amanda B. Harris, "Some Little Shakers," in Young People's New Pictorial Library of Poetry and Prose, 1888


As a gardener, I'm among those who believe that much of the evidence of God's existence has been planted. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


My rule of green thumb for mulch is to double my initial estimate of bags needed, and add three. Then I'll only be two bags short. ~Author unknown


With fronds like these, who needs anemones? ~Frank Muir


My father had a packet of little brown seeds...
The ground will give them food and a place to live, he said.
And soon they'll grow a stem and some leaves and flowers...
I told him, I don't see leaves and I don't see flowers.
Things change in the ground, said my father.
In the ground everything changes...
~Judith Viorst, The Tenth Good Thing About Barney, 1971


Let us pay homage to the nymph Chloris who has her hands twined in Flora's flower-strewn dress. ~Derek Jarman (1942–1994), "Green Fingers," Chroma: A Book of Colour — June '93, 1994


The plants stood in orderly rows, thrusting up their tender leaves with trembling eagerness... Nothing was as uncertain as growing things. You couldn't set your heart on them, you could only hope. ~Cid Ricketts Sumner, Tammy Out of Time, 1958


Weed it and reap. ~Gardening joke


Coins are round and roll away;
Fertile Ground is there to stay.
~Arthur Guiterman, "Old Irish Proverbs: Of the Farm," A Poet's Proverbs, 1924


I envision a day when every city and town has front and back yards, community gardens and growing spaces, nurtured into life by neighbors who are no longer strangers, but friends who delight in the edible rewards offered from a garden they discovered together. Imagine small strips of land between apartment buildings that have been turned into vegetable gardens, and urban orchards planted at schools and churches to grow food for our communities. The seeds of the urban farming movement already are growing within our reality. ~Greg Peterson, Grow Wherever You Go Discovering the Place Where Your Garden Lives, 2009, urbanfarm.org


When God blesses the harvest, there is enough for the thief as well as the gardener. ~Polish proverb


And for our work—though showers
And autumn frosts destroy—
Our greatest pay's not measured
In fruit and flower we've treasured,
But in the golden hours
That brought us health and joy!
~Frederick Frye Rockwell, "Invitation," Around the Year in the Garden, 1913


Nature! The outlines of all things and designs are drawn in Nature, and it is the sweet privilege of Man to divine and fill out these sketches, completing in Art what is begun in Nature. I think I garden more to the eye than to the appetites. ~A. Bronson Alcott, 1846 journal


I did nothing but comfort my plants, till now their small green cheeks are covered with smiles. ~Emily Dickinson, 1865


To plant a seed and see it grow
Is something every child should do,
And when it blossoms, how it grew
Is something every child should know,
And when its seeds are ripe to sow,
A child may see the old made new.
To grow and gently grow and grow
Is something people should do too.
~Harry Behn (1898–1973), "Lesson," Windy Morning: Poems and Pictures, 1953


Why would we rather surround our homes with lawn instead of grape arbors? The first business of the household is security, and surely food is at the top of that list. ~Joel Salatin, Folks, This Ain't Normal: A Farmer's Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World, 2011


Often... visible outdoor areas are homogenous, cookie-cutter spaces, where neatly-trimmed grass or a few well-placed flower pots are admired and appreciated by the neighbors. But for some revolutionary gardeners, a feast for the eyes is not enough. They want something edible in return for the hard work, the water and the expense of tending a landscape. These food revolutionaries are maximizing their cultivation area by converting their landscapes, patios, and nearby vacant lots into productive edible gardens. In the quest for more space to grow food, even conventional front lawns are being transformed into maverick, and highly visible, vegetable plots.... the rise of modern vegetable gardeners who are cutting against the grain of current landscape fashion to grow food out in the open once again. ~Kari Spencer, themicrofarmproject.com


Today I think
Only with scents,—scents dead leaves yield,
And bracken, and wild carrot's seed,
And the square mustard field...
It is enough
To smell, to crumble the dark earth...
~Edward Thomas (1878–1917), "Digging"


You touch the warm, moist earth and it feels so good — so good. You want to be — you hope you are — one half as useful as an earthworm. ~Ruth Stout, "We Shall Come Rejoicing," How to Have a Green Thumb Without an Aching Back, 1955


In making out your garden plan this year you will probably find yourself handicapped by the lack of accurate knowledge about your plants of last year—how much of each thing you used, the dates of the last frost in the spring and the first killing frost in autumn, when the various insect pests appeared, when you made your last sowing for winter vegetables, how long after planting it took the different varieties of vegetables to mature, and a score of other things, all of which you have had to guess at with no degree of certainty. Provide now against next spring. Get a cheap diary and leave it in the pocket of your work clothes or hang it up in the tool shed. In it jot down from time to time the things you particularly want to keep track of. ~Frederick Frye Rockwell, Around the Year in the Garden: A Seasonable Guide and Reminder for Work with Vegetables, Fruits, and Flowers, and Under Glass, "February: First Week, Make a Plan Now—And Follow It This Summer: Keep a Garden Diary," 1913


Flowers grow in inches, but are destroyed by feet. ~Gardening saying


When the soil disappears, the soul disappears. ~Terri Guillemets


When overwhelmed and stressed and unable to think,
I go out and garden, it's cheaper than a shrink.
~Author unknown


      There is an old horticultural story about the person who wrote to a horticultural expert asking how much fertilizer to put on a certain plant. The answer was, "Ask the plant." In other words, rules and advice must be adapted to your plant growing under the conditions of its particular spot. Not only is your garden different from mine, even though I may live next door, but the place by your front door is different from the place by your back door...
      There is a tremendous amount to be learned from books, and no gardener can do without them, but your plants, too, will teach you. I have always thought that to be a good gardener, first of all you must have a green heart, and next you must have a green mind. These combined with a little muscle are needed to produce a green thumb and a beautiful garden. ~Gertrude S. Wister, Hardy Garden Bulbs, 1964


Grandma always called her vegetable garden the Chapel — it brought her closer to God, was full of miracles, and fed the hungering of others. ~Terri Guillemets


If you've never experienced the joy of accomplishing more than you can imagine, plant a garden. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


Human vanity can best be served by a reminder that, whatever his accomplishments, his sophistication, his artistic pretension, man owes his very existence to a six-inch layer of topsoil — and the fact that it rains. ~Anonymous, in The Cockle Bur, sometime between 1930 and 1968


Tell me, housewife blithe and fair,
How does your garden grow?
Crisp and green the lettuce there,—
Onions, row by row,—
Radishes beyond compare!
Spring and I with tender care
Watch them well, you know!
~Louise Bennett Weaver and Helen Cowles LeCron, "April," A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband with Bettina's Best Recipes, 1917


Plants —
light and life
grown green
~Terri Guillemets


Life's a garden — dig it. ~Gardening saying


The ancient Hebrew association of man with soil is echoed in the Latin name for man, homo, derived from humus, the stuff of life in the soil. This powerful metaphor suggests an early realization of a profound truth that humanity has since disregarded to its own detriment. Since the words "humility" and "humble" also derive from humus, it is rather ironic that we should have assigned our species so arrogant a name as Homo sapiens sapiens ("wise wise man"). It occurs to me, as I ponder our past and future relation to the earth, that we might consider changing our name to a more modest Homo sapiens curans, with the word curans denoting caring or caretaking, as in "curator." ("Teach us to care" was T.S. Eliot's poetic plea.) Of course, we must work to deserve the new name, even as we have not deserved the old one. ~Daniel Hillel, Out of the Earth: Civilization and the Life of the Soil


Spring is here! I'm so excited I wet my plants. ~Internet meme


Purple iris, imperial sceptre;
Green of the buds breaking on elder;
Browns of the humus, and ochre grasses;
Yellows in August on Helichrysum,
That turns in September to orange and brown;
Blue of the bugloss, and self-sown cornflower;
Blue of the sage and winter hyacinth;
Pink and white roses blowing in June;
And the scarlet rosehips, fiery in winter...
~Derek Jarman (1942–1994), "Green Fingers," Chroma: A Book of Colour — June '93, 1994


If you are a gardener, you can always put "Plant Manager" on your résumé. ~Author unknown


The principal value of a private garden is not understood. It is not to give the possessor vegetables and fruit (that can be better and cheaper done by the market-gardeners), but to teach him patience and philosophy, and the higher virtues,—hope deferred, and expectations blighted.... The garden thus becomes a moral agent, a test of character, as it was in the beginning. ~Charles Dudley Warner, My Summer in a Garden, "What I Know about Gardening: First Week," 1870


There's a garden where the peppers
      Were all growing on the vine,
      The tomatoes and the pumpkins
      And the string beans, very fine.
Harmony had been so perfect
      In this garden where they grew;
      And the sunshine and the showers
      Came to nourish them, they knew.
Each one praised the others' beauty,
      Praised their colors and their shapes,
      From the tiny, little onion
      To the luscious, purple grapes...
~Gertrude Tooley Buckingham, "In the Garden" (1940s)


My garden sings with the winds in winter. ~Derek Jarman (1942–1994), "Green Fingers," Chroma: A Book of Colour — June '93, 1994


I love being asked to identify plants, and I don't know which gives me more pleasure: to know what they are or not to know what they are. ~Elizabeth Lawrence (1904–1985), "More Winter Blooms," 1969 February 23rd


It's September in my garden. Green beans abound. My mouth waters for the ripening sweet corn. Winter carrots slowly set down their tender roots. A breeze brings the smell of apples. Kale, collards and broccoli unfurl their leafy coats, getting ready for frost. ~Kristina Turner, The Self-Healing Cookbook, 2002, originally published 1987  [a little altered —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]


A garden is a lovely place
Where seeds burst through the sod.
A garden is a partnership
Between two hands and God.
A garden is a restful place
Where gentle breezes blow…
A family of growing things
Where souls can also grow.
~William Arthur Ward, For This One Hour, 1969


Live close to the soil and its energy. ~Terri Guillemets, "Source," 2019, blackout poetry created from D. C. Jarvis, M.D., Folk Medicine, 1958, page 113


Gardening is growing things.... You start in the front with parsley, and lettuce, and onions, and radishes.... Then comes the beets, and the carrots, and the peas, and the bunch beans. The potatoes are over in a field by themselves. Then comes the asparagus, and the celery, and last of all the pole beans, and the butter beans, and the sweet corn. Then you bound your garden on the north and the east with cantelopes and on the south and the west with watermelons. Then you plant sunflowers and hollyhocks in the back corners. Then you pray for the rain to come and if too much comes, you pray for it to stop. It keeps you busy all summer praying and hoeing. ~Virginia Cary Hudson, "Gardening," O Ye Jigs & Juleps!, 1962


It was a perfect day
For sowing....
Nothing undone
Remained; the early seeds
All safely sown.
And now, hark at the rain,
Windless and light,
Half a kiss, half a tear,
Saying good-night.
~Edward Thomas (1878–1917), "Sowing"


Gardening is the slowest of the performing arts. ~Author unknown


Timeliness, which is of importance in achieving success in almost any undertaking, is particularly important in garden operations.... On the other hand, the gardener who imagines that his work can be reduced to a set of rules and formulæ, followed and applied according to special days marked on the calendar, is but preparing himself for a double disappointment. Few things are so certain to be uncertain as the seasons and the weather; and these, rather than a set of dates, even for a single locality, form the signs which the real gardener follows. That is the great trouble with much book and magazine gardening. ~Frederick Frye Rockwell, Around the Year in the Garden: A Seasonable Guide and Reminder for Work with Vegetables, Fruits, and Flowers, and Under Glass, "Introduction," 1913


Once I came in the terms of pots and pans, in the dun-color of soulless moiling.
Now I come in the terms of dahlias, and hepaticas, in a happy garden. My spade chortles, the poppies flaunt their red skirts of abandon.
I hang laughing vines over my garden wall, and have planted a purple grape that climbs up and kisses the red-cheeked cherries in my trees.
~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "At the Roots of Grasses: XIII," At the Roots of Grasses, 1923


I have never read of any Roman supper that seemed to me equal to a dinner of my own vegetables; when everything on the table is the product of my own labor.... It is strange what a taste you suddenly have for things you never liked before. The squash has always been to me a dish of contempt; but I eat it now as if it were my best friend. I never cared for the beet or the bean; but I fancy now that I could eat them all, tops and all, so completely have they been transformed by the soil in which they grew. I think the squash is less squashy, and the beet has a deeper hue of rose, for my care of them. ~Charles Dudley Warner, My Summer in a Garden, "What I Know about Gardening: Tenth Week," 1870


Gardeners learn by trowel and error. ~Gardening joke


Any one seed may be too old to sprout or inferior in some way, but it will never try to be something it isn't fitted to be. A man may study to be a surgeon when he should have been a shoemaker, a talented painter may spend his life trying to convince himself and his fellows that he is a lawyer, but a turnip seed will never attempt to grow into an ear of corn. If you plant a good turnip seed properly a turnip is what you will get every single time. ~Ruth Stout, "A Lilac Bush and an Apple Tree," How to Have a Green Thumb Without an Aching Back, 1955


Maybe we can tell him to plant rubber bands and automobile tires will grow up. ~Percy Keese Fitzhugh, Roy Blakeley: Lost, Strayed or Stolen, 1921


The term Garden, which originally implied nothing more than a kitchen-garden or orchard, is, according to its modern acceptation, a plot or piece of ground properly laid out, cultivated, and embellished with a variety of plants, flowers, fruits, &c. Hence, gardening, or horticulture, taken in the most enlarged sense, signified whatever contributes to adorn the scenes of nature, and render them delightful. Gardens are usually distinguished into flower-garden, fruit-garden and kitchen-garden. ~Rural Recreations; or the Gardener's Instructor by a Society of Practical Gardeners, 1802


He may snatch wildness from the woods, shrewdness from the market-place; but for subtlety of thought, for strong sense, grace of diction, for ideas, he best betakes himself to conversation with orchards... ~A. Bronson Alcott, 1862 journal


The corn is not arrogant about its superior height... Peppers do not ridicule the carrots for hiding in the ground... The parsnips don't accuse the gay red-and-green peppers and tomatoes of showing off. The asparagus doesn't form an organization to fight un-asparagus vegetables... Live and let live is the motto. Each one does the best it can, unobtrusively, uncritically, and so there is peace in the garden. Peace and results. ~Ruth Stout, "We Shall Come Rejoicing," How to Have a Green Thumb Without an Aching Back, 1955


Fingers now scented with sage and rosemary, a kneeling gardener is lost in savory memories. ~Dr. SunWolf, professorsunwolf.com


In his little garden, quite bathed with the soft brilliance, his fruit-trees, all arow, were outlining in shadow upon the walk, their slender limbs of wood scarce clothed by verdure; while the giant honeysuckle climbing on the house wall, exhaled delicious, sugared breaths, and seemed to cause to hover through the warm clear night a perfumed soul. ~Guy de Maupassant (1850–1893), "Moonlight," translated by Jonathan Sturges


The ancient Chinese regarded earthworms as "angels of the earth." Aristotle considered worms as "intestines of the earth." ~Lee Ann Gillen, "An Historical Perspective of Soil Microbiology"


Charles Robert Darwin, the great English scientist, after years of patient study, published a book of 236 pages dealing exclusively with earthworms. In this volume, The Formation of Vegetable Mould through the Action of Worms, he makes it clear that Nature apparently created the earthworm to be an improver of the soil and to aid the growth of plants. Indeed, he goes so far as to make this statement: "Without the work of this humble creature, who knows nothing of the benefits he confers upon mankind, agriculture, as we know it, would be very difficult, if not wholly impossible." ~John Edwin Hogg, "Harnessing Earthworms," Nature Magazine, January 1941  [I've quoted in this format because I cannot find the statement in Darwin's works. However, the 1881 publication referenced is real, and in fact was the last book Darwin published before his death in 1882. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]


The plough is one of the most ancient and most valuable of man's inventions; but long before he existed the land was in fact regularly ploughed, and still continues to be thus ploughed by earth-worms. It may be doubted whether there are many other animals which have played so important a part in the history of the world, as have these lowly organised creatures. ~Charles Darwin, The Formation of Vegetable Mould, through the Action of Worms, with Observation on their Habits, 1881


I must own I had always looked on worms as amongst the most helpless and unintelligent members of the creation; and am amazed to find that they have a domestic life and public duties! ~Joseph Dalton Hooker, letter to Charles Darwin, 1881  [thanking him for his book The Formation of Vegetable Mould through the Action of Worms—tεᖇᖇ¡·g]


For worms, is soil just another day at the office? ~Terri Guillemets


The best fertilizer is the gardener's shadow. ~Author unknown


When a front yard is converted to a vegetable garden, growing food goes public! Gardens that are visible from the street naturally pique the interest of the community. The result can be that the gardener... reconnects with their food, and also forges new connections with their neighbors. Some residents may be surprised, even resistant to the idea of a garden that is cultivated out in the open. But, as flowers bloom and veggies begin to form, attracting birds, bees and butterflies, as well as curious neighbors, a tended garden converts a sterile space into a living sanctuary. Most neighbors will grow to appreciate its beauty. A few community members may even jump on board, adding a few edible plants to their own landscapes. ~Kari Spencer, themicrofarmproject.com


Whoever makes a garden
Has never worked alone;
the rain has always found it,
The sun has always known;
The wind has blown across it
And helped to scatter seeds;
Whoever makes a garden
Has all the help he needs.
~Author unknown


Whoever makes a garden
Has oh so many friends:
The glory of the morning,
The dew when daylight ends,
And rain and wind and sunshine
And dew and fertile sod,
For he who makes a garden
Works hand in hand with God.
~Author unknown


If I finish my day with no garden dirt under my fingernails and nothing new learned, it is a day wasted! ~Valerie Clague


Laying out grounds... may be considered as a liberal art, in some sort like poetry and painting.... it is to assist Nature in moving the affections... the affections of those who have the deepest perception of the beauty of Nature... ~William Wordsworth, letter to George Beaumont, 1805 October 17th  [Author trivia: Wordsworth was brilliant at landscape gardening! —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]


[T]he creation of the Landscape-Garden offered to the true Muse the most magnificent of opportunities. Here was, indeed, the fairest field for the display of invention, or imagination, in the endless combining of forms of novel Beauty; the elements which should enter into combination being, at all times, and by a vast superiority, the most glorious which the earth could afford. In the multiform of the tree, and in the multicolor of the flower, he recognized the most direct and the most energetic effort of Nature at physical Beauty. And in the direction or concentration of this effort, or, still more properly, in its adaption to the eyes which were to behold it upon earth, he perceived that he should be employing the best means — laboring to the greatest advantage — in the fulfilment of his destiny as Poet. ~Edgar Allan Poe, "The Landscape-Garden," 1842  ['He' being Mr. Ellison —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]


A fine open-air colour was in their faces; they had that confident manner which great physical strength imparts, and that air of conscious pride which is born in lords of the soil. ~Amelia E. Huddleston Barr, A Rose of a Hundred Leaves: A Love Story, 1891


Did you ever see a scarecrow
Standing, ragged and forlorn,
Guarding crops that soon are coming
Through the earth, as though just born?
~Gertrude Tooley Buckingham, "The Scarecrow," 1940s


PEPPERMINT (Mentha piperita). — Much cultivated for medical use. It has a smooth purple stalk, and is easily to be distinguished from other kinds of mint by its penetrating smell, and more pungent taste, leaving a peculiar sense of coldness on the tongue. The leaves stand in pairs upon footstalks, and are of a dark green colour, oval-shaped, nerved, and pointed: the flowers are small, and of a purple colour, and appear in August and September. ~"Garden Herbs," The Saturday Magazine, 1840


[T]he final step in becoming an urban farmer is the naming of your farm, even if your name is simply for the few pots on your front porch. Creating your name helps to build a sense of place within your neighborhood as well as pride in your accomplishments. By naming your farm you give it a life of its own. Be creative and come up with a name that inspires and makes people smile, like my friend Laura's "Wish We Had Acres," the Fairy Tale inspired "Jack's Bean Stalk" or my "Urban Farm." ~Greg Peterson, My Ordinary Extraordinary Yard: The Story of the Urban Farm, 2009, urbanfarm.org


And if Mrs. Harris and myself are lucky enough to be in Heaven at the same time, I know what we can do when things get dull. We can give a garden party. I sure hope God didn't forget to plant a garden in Heaven. ~Virginia Cary Hudson, "Gardening," O Ye Jigs & Juleps!, 1962


When one of my plants dies, I die a little inside too. ~Terri Guillemets


I cultivate my garden, and my garden cultivates me. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


O ye Sun and Moon, oh ye beans and roses, oh ye jigs and juleps, Bless ye the Lord, Praise Him and Magnify Him Forever. Amen. ~Virginia Cary Hudson, "Gardening," O Ye Jigs & Juleps!, 1962


Is gardening worth while? If you ask that question the answer is: Possibly not, for you. Because if you are a gardener in your heart that is something you will never doubt. ~Ruth Stout, "We Shall Come Rejoicing," How to Have a Green Thumb Without an Aching Back, 1955


Old gardeners never die, they just run out of thyme. ~Gardening joke





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