Garden Quotations


Quotes about gardens, gardening, and gardeners

May I a small house and large garden have; And a few friends, And many books, both true.

— Abraham Cowley

I never had any other desire so strong, and so like to covetousness, as that one which I have had always, that I might be master at last of a small house and a large Garden. 

— Abraham Cowley, The Garden, 1666

The greatest fine art of the future will be the making of a comfortable living from a small piece of land.

— Abraham Lincoln

We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.

— Abraham Lincoln

There are some things, after all, that Sally Owens knows for certain: Always throw spilled salt over your left shoulder. Keep rosemary by your garden gate. Add pepper to your mashed potatoes. Plant roses and lavender, for luck. Fall in love whenever you can.

— Alice Hoffman, Practical Magic

It is apparent that no lifetime is long enough in which to explore the resources of a few square yards of ground.

— Alice M. Coats

Don’t wear perfume in the garden – unless you want to be pollinated by bees. 

— Anne Raver

Gardening is cheaper than therapy and you get tomatoes.

— Author unknown

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

— Author Unknown

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it.  If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. 

— Author Unknown

But a weed is simply a plant that wants to grow where people want something else.  In blaming nature, people mistake the culprit.  Weeds are people’s idea, not nature’s. 

— Author Unknown

May all your weeds be wildflowers.

— Author Unknown

A garden was the primitive prison, till man with Promethean felicity and boldness, luckily sinned himself out of it.

— Charles Lamb, 1830

He who plants a garden plants happiness.

— Chinese proverb

Many gardeners will agree that hand-weeding is not the terrible drudgery that it is often made out to be.  Some people find in it a kind of soothing monotony.  It leaves their minds free to develop the plot for their next novel or to perfect the brilliant repartee with which they should have encountered a relative’s latest example of unreasonableness. 

— Christopher Lloyd, The Well-Tempered Garden, 1973

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. 

— Cicero

My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece

— Claude Monet

One of the healthiest ways to gamble is with a spade and a packet of seeds.

— Dan Bennett

I grow plants for many reasons: to please my eye or to please my soul, to challenge the elements or to challenge my patience, for novelty or for nostalgia, but mostly for the joy in seeing them grow.

— David Hobson

A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except for learning how to grow in rows. 

— Doug Larson

Earth is here so kind, that just tickle her with a hoe and she laughs with a harvest.

— Douglas William Jerrold, about Australia, A Land of Plenty

Fingers now scented with sage and rosemary, a kneeling gardener is lost in savory memories. 

— Dr. SunWolf

It takes a while to grasp that not all failures are self-imposed, the result of ignorance, carelessness or inexperience.  It takes a while to grasp that a garden isn’t a testing ground for character and to stop asking, what did I do wrong?  Maybe nothing. 

— Eleanor Perényi, Green Thoughts

He who plants a tree loves others besides himself.

— English proverb

We have descended into the garden and caught three hundred slugs.  How I love the mixture of the beautiful and the squalid in gardening.  It makes it so lifelike.

— Evelyn Underhill, Letters

However many years she lived, Mary always felt that “she should never forget that first morning when her garden began to grow”.

— Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

In order to live off a garden, you practically have to live in it. 

— Frank McKinney Hubbard

The sun, with all those plants revolving around it and dependent upon it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do.

— Galileo

I’m not really a career person. I’m a gardener, basically.

— George Harrison

The garden is the poor man’s apothecary. 

— German Proverb

The greatest gift of the garden is the restoration of the five senses.

— Hanna Rion

Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders.

— Henry David Thoreau

No two gardens are the same.  No two days are the same in one garden.

— Hugh Johnson

It is good to be alone in a garden at dawn or dark so that all its shy presences may haunt you and possess you in a reverie of suspended thought. 

— James Douglas, Down Shoe Lane

There are no gardening mistakes, only experiments.

— Janet Kilburn Phillips

Weeds are nature’s graffiti. 

— Janice Maeditere

Successful gardening is doing what has to be done when it has to be done the way it ought to be done whether you want to do it or not.

— Jerry Baker

I have never had so many good ideas day after day as when I worked in the garden. 

— John Erskine

Let no one think that real gardening is a bucolic and meditative occupation.  It is an insatiable passion, like everything else to which a man gives his heart. 

— Karel Čapek, The Gardener’s Year, translated by M. and R. Weatherall, 1931

It was such a pleasure to sink one’s hands into the warm earth, to feel at one’s fingertips the possibilities of the new season.

— Kate Morton, The Forgotten Garden

Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.

— Les Brown

Gardening is a kind of disease.  It infects you, you cannot escape it.  When you go visiting, your eyes rove about the garden; you interrupt the serious cocktail drinking because of an irresistible impulse to get up and pull a weed. 

— Lewis Gannit

A garden requires patient labor and attention. Plants do not grow merely to satisfy ambitions or to fulfill good intentions. They thrive because someone expended effort on them.

— Liberty Hyde Bailey

Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity. 

— Lindley Karstens,

In his garden every man may be his own artist without apology or explanation. Each within his green enclosure is a creator, and no two shall reach the same conclusion; nor shall we, any more than other creative workers, be ever wholly satisfied with our accomplishment. Ever a season ahead of us floats the vision of perfection and herein lies its perennial charm.

— Louise Beebe Wilder

To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves

— Mahatma Gandhi

Weather means more when you have a garden.  There’s nothing like listening to a shower and thinking how it is soaking in around your green beans. 

— Marcelene Cox

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.

— Marcus Tullius Cicero

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.

— Margaret Atwood

I do some of my best thinking while pulling weeds.

— Martha Smith

Despite the gardener’s best intentions, Nature will improvise.

— Michael P. Garafalo

As long as the sun still shines and people still can plan and plant, think and do, we can, if we bother to try, find ways to provide for ourselves without diminishing the world.

— Michael Pollan

The gardener cultivates wildness, but he does so carefully and respectfully, in full recognition of its mystery.

— Michael Pollan, Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education

A garden should make you feel you’ve entered privileged space — a place not just set apart but reverberant — and it seems to me that, to achieve this, the gardener must put some kind of twist on the existing landscape, turn its prose into something nearer poetry.

— Michael Pollan, Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education

Anthropocentric as [the gardener] may be, he recognizes that he is dependent for his health and survival on many other forms of life, so he is careful to take their interests into account in whatever he does. He is in fact a wilderness advocate of a certain kind. It is when he respects and nurtures the wilderness of his soil and his plants that his garden seems to flourish most.

— Michael Pollan

To garden well is to be happy amid the babble of the objective world, untroubled by its refusal to be reduced by our ideas of it, its indomitable rankness.

— Michael Pollan, Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education

Tree planting is always a utopian enterprise, it seems to me, a wager on a future the planter doesn’t necessarily expect to witness.

— Michael Pollan, Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education

There can be no other occupation like gardening in which, if you were to creep up behind someone at their work, you would find them smiling.

— Mirabel Osler

To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves.”

— Mohandas K. Gandhi

Half the interest of a garden is the constant exercise of the imagination. 

— Mrs. C.W. Earle, Pot-Pourri from a Surrey Garden, 1897

I used to visit and revisit 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. 

— Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mosses from and Old Manse

It was one of the most bewitching sights in the world to observe a hill of beans thrusting aside the soil, or a rose of early peas just peeping forth sufficiently to trace a line of delicate green.

— Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mosses from and Old Manse

On every stem, on every leaf,… 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. 

— Oliver Wendell Holmes

Unemployment is capitalism’s way of getting you to plant a garden. 

— Orson Scott Card

The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution.

— Paul Cezanne

To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one’s self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived – this is to have succeeded

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

When I go into the 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

What is a weed?  A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered. 

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

I think the true gardener, the older he grows, should more and more develop a humble, grateful and uncertain spirit. 

— Reginald Farrer, In a Yorkshire Garden, 1909

Why try to explain miracles to your kids when you can just have them plant a garden.

— Robert Brault

If you’ve never experienced the joy of accomplishing more than you can imagine, plant a garden. 

— Robert Brault

In every gardener there is a child who believes in The Seed Fairy.

— Robert Brault,

I sit in my garden, gazing upon a beauty that cannot gaze upon itself.  And I find sufficient purpose for my day.

— Robert Brault,

Gardens always mean something else, man absolutely uses one thing to say another. 

— Robert Harbison, Eccentric Spaces, 1977

If you wish to make anything grow, you must understand it, and understand it in a very real sense. ‘Green fingers’ are a fact, and a mystery only to the unpracticed. But green fingers are the extensions of a verdant heart.

— Russell Page, The Education Of A Gardener

If you wish to make anything grow, you must understand it, and understand it in a very real sense. ‘Green fingers’ are a fact, and a mystery only to the unpracticed. But green fingers are the extensions of a verdant heart.

— Russell Page, The Education Of A Gardener

Tomatoes and squash never fail to reach maturity.  You can spray them with acid, beat them with sticks and burn them; they love it. 

— S.J. Perelman, Acres and Pains, 1951

Just because you’ve only got houseplants doesn’t mean you don’t have the gardening spirit – I look upon myself as an indoor gardener. 

— Sara Moss-Wolfe

I appreciate the misunderstanding I have had with Nature over my perennial border.  I think it is a flower garden; she thinks it is a meadow lacking grass, and tries to correct the error. 

— Sara Stein, My Weeds, 1988

Gardens are a form of autobiography.

— Sydney Eddison, Horticulture magazine, Aug/Sept 1993

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

— Thomas Fuller, Gnomologia, 1732

The greatest service which can be rendered any country is to add a useful plant to its culture.

— Thomas Jefferson, The Fruit Hunters

No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden.

— Thomas Jefferson

The master of the garden is the one who waters it, trims the branches, plants the seeds, and pulls the weeds. If you merely stroll through the garden, you are but an acolyte.

— Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

Science, or para-science, tells us that geraniums bloom better if they are spoken to.  But a kind word every now and then is really quite enough.  Too much attention, like too much feeding, and weeding and hoeing, inhibits and embarrasses them. 

— Victoria Glendinning

It is utterly forbidden to be half-hearted about gardening.  You have got to love your garden whether you like it or not. 

— W.C. Sellar & R.J. Yeatman, Garden Rubbish, 1936

I can think of no better form of personal involvement in the cure of the environment than that of gardening. A person who is growing a garden, if he is growing it organically, is improving a piece of the world

— Wendell Berry

I am not bound for any public place, but for ground of my own where I have planted vines and orchard trees, and in the heat of the day climbed up into the healing shadow of the woods.  Better than any argument is to rise at dawn and pick dew-wet red berries in a cup. 

— Wendell Berry

One of the most important resources that a garden makes available for use, is the gardener’s own body. A garden gives the body the dignity of working in its own support. It is a way of rejoining the human race

— Wendell Berry

Take thy plastic spade,
It is thy pencil; take thy seeds, thy plants,
They are thy colours.

— William Mason, The English Garden, 1782

Trees and plants always look like the people they live with, somehow.

— Zora Neale Hurston



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 Posted by on December 2, 2012