Quotes for Those that Love
Gardens, Gardening, and the Green Way

Compiled by Michael P. Garofalo

What greater delight is there than to behold the earth apparelled with plants as with
a robe of embroidered works, set with Orient pearls and garnished with the great
diversitie of rare and costly jewels. But these delights are in the outward senses.
The principle delight is in the minde, singularly enriched with the knowledge of
these visible things, setting forth to us the invisible wisdome and admirable
workmanship of almighty God.
– John Gerard, 1633, The Herbal

There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion.
– Francis Bacon

Beauty is the Mistress, the gardener Her slave.

All beautiful things disappear, and beauty is the memory of ideas.

Chrysanthemums in bloom over a carpet of dry leaves –
the contrasts and pathos of beauty.

A flower needs roots; beauty of society of minds.

– Michael P. Garofalo, Pulling Onions

Nature is a revelation of God;
Art a revelation of man.
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The artist is the only lover; he alone has the pure vision of beauty,
and love is the vision of the soul when it is permitted to gaze upon immortal beauty.
– Isadora Duncan

Beauty is excrescence, superabundance, random ebulience,
and sheer delightful waste to be enjoyed in its own right.
– Donald Culross Peattie, An Almanac for Moderns

There is no spot of ground, however arid, bare or ugly,
that cannot be tamed into such a state as may give an
impression of beauty and delight.
– Gertrude Jekyll

Lord, make us mindful of the little things that grow and blossom
in these days to make the world beautiful for us.
– W.E.B. du Bois

Beauty is like summer fruits which are easy to corrupt and cannot last.
– Frances Bacon

What was any art but a mould in which to imprison for a moment the shining,
elusive element which is life itself.
– Willa Cather

A garden, the, is a finite place, in which a gardener (or several
gardeners) has created, working with or against nature, a plot
whose intention it is to provide pleasure; possibly in the form
of beauty, possibly in the form of cabbages – and possibly,
beautiful cabbages.
– Abby Adams, The Gardener’s Gripe Book

My soul can find no staircase to Heaven
unless it be through Earth’s lovliness.
– Michelangelo Buonardo

When I am working on a problem I never think about beauty.
I only think about how to solve the problem.
But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.
– Buckminster Fuller

Remember how in that communion only, beholding beauty with
the eye of the mind, he will be enabled to bring forth, not images
of beauty, but realities (for he has hold not of an image but of a
reality), and bringing forth and nourishing true virtue to become
the friend of God and be immortal, if mortal man may.
– Plato, Symposium

Let me define a garden as the meeting of raw nature and the
human imagination in which both seek the fulfillment of their
beauty. Every sign indicates that nature wants us and wishes
for collaboration with us, just as we long for nature to be fulfilled
in us. If our original state was to live in a garden, as Adam and
Eve did, then a garden signals our absolute origins as well as our
condition of eternity, while life outside the garden is
time and temporality.
– Thomas Moore, The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life, p. 96

A garden is a lovesome thing, God wot!
– T.E. Brown, 1887

Beauty is momentary in the mind –
The fitful tracing of a portal;
But in the flesh it is immortal.
The Body dies; the body’s beauty lives.
So evenings die, in their green going,
A wave, interminably flowing.
So gardens die, their meek breath scenting
The cowl of Winter, done repenting.
– Wallace Stevens, 1879-1955, Peter Quince and the Clavier

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

Beauty of whatever kind, in its supreme development,
invariably excites the sensitive soul to tears.
– Edgar Allen Poe

I cannot believe that the inscrutable universe turns on an axis of suffering;
surely the strange beauty of the world must somewhere rest on pure joy!
– Louise Bogan

I think the main culprit is modernity itself. Modernity and beauty simply don’t mix.
Pragmatism and an industrial-sized busyness denigrate everything that can’t squeeze
out of a calculator. And the first thing to die under such circumstances is a passion
for beauty. For those trying desperately to jump over moving hurdles, pursuing beauty
is just foolishness. …. We just don’t have the time for poetry; beauty isn’t useful,
we say, until we’re in our eighties, when many finally reflect and realize that beauty
was truly essential to a good life that has now slipped by.
– Douglas Jones, Men Hate Poetry

Gardening is a luxury occupation: an ornament, not a necessity, of life….
Fortunate gardener, who may preoccupy himself solely with beauty in
these difficult and ugly days! He is one of the few people left in this
distressful world to carry on the tradition of elegance and charm. A
useless member of society, considered in terms of economics,
he must not be denied his rightful place. He deserves to
share it, however humbly, with the painter and poet.
– Vita Sackville-West, 1892-1962

All gardeners live in beautiful places because they make them so.
– Joseph Joubert

“Remember, it is forbidden to live in a town which has no garden or greenery.”
– Kiddushin 4:12

The great challenge for the garden designer is not to make the garden look natural,
but to make the garden so that the people in it will feel natural.
– Lawrence Halprin

Whatever is in any way beautiful has its source of beauty in itself,
and is complete in itself; praise forms no part of it.
– Marcus Aurelius

Beauty is the adjustment of all parts proportionately so that one
cannot add or subtract or change without impairing the harmony of the whole.
– Leon B. Alberti

Over fertilized plants may be beautiful but are otherwise useless, like people whose energies
are devoted so completely to their appearance that there is no other development.
– William Longgood

Is it wholly fantastic to admit the possibility that Nature herself
strove toward what we call beauty? Face to face with any one
of the elaborate flowers which man’s cultivation has had nothing
to do with, it does not seem fantastic to me. We put survival first.
But when we have a margin of safety left over, we expend it in the
search for the beautiful. Who can say that
Nature does not do the same?
– Joseph Wood Krutch

Lord of the far horizons,
Give us the eyes to see:
Over the verge of the sundown,
The beauty that is to be.
– Bliss Carman

If you truly love Nature, you will find beauty everywhere.
– Vincent Van Gogh

Living Nature, not dull art
Shall plan my ways and rule my Heart.
– John Henry Cardinal Newman

Beautiful nature matters more than beautiful people.
– Dana Bisbee

Haiku and Zen Poetry

The foundations of the world are to be found,
not in the cognitive experience of conscious thought,
but in the aesthetic experience of everyday life.
– Alfted North Whitehead

Remember that the most beautiful things in the world are the most useless;
peacocks and lilies, for example.
– John Ruskin, The Stones of Venice

The beautiful rests on the foundations of the necessary.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Plainness has its peculiar temptations quite as much as beauty.
– George Eliot

Novelty is an essential attribute of the beautiful.
– Benjamin Disraeli

Beauty is not caused. It is.
– Emily Dickinson

I do not wish to die–
There is such contingent beauty in life:
The open window on summer mornings
Looking out on gardens and green things growing,
The shadowy cups of roses flowering to themselves–
Images of time and eternity–
Silence in the garden and felt along the walls.
– A. L. Rowse

If delight may provoke men’s labour, what greater delights is there
then to behold the earth as apparelled with plants, as with a robe
of imbroidered worke, set with orient pearles, and garnished with
great diversitie of rare and costly jewels? . . . The delight is great
but the use greater, and joyned often with necessitie.
– John Gerarde

All the beings of the world pray,” said my Grandad …
“Each living thing gives its life to the beauty of all life,
and that gift is its prayer.”
– Douglas Wood, Grandad’s Prayers of the Earth.

Confronted with the vision of a beautiful garden,
we see something beautiful about ourselves.
– Jeff Cox

Because in particular moments, in the dusk of a late May evening,
when everything glows, when green seems greener than you’ve ever
seen it before, and the roses you planted are beginning to flower,
future tasks don’t matter, neither do past worries – because you
witness a perfect moment of soul-restoring beauty.
– Turning Earth

A thing of beauty is a job forever.
– Milton Berle

With beauty before me I walk
With beauty behind me I walk
With beauty above me and about me, I walk,
It is finished in beauty
It is finished in beauty
– Navaho Night Chant, Looking Far West

The phrase “beautiful colour”, for example, can have a hundred meanings,
depending on the occasion on which we use it. Very often the adjectives
we use are those applicable to the face of a person. This is the case with
“beautiful” and “ugly”. Consider how we learn such words. We do not
as children discover the quality of beauty or ugliness in a face and find that
these are qualities a tree has in common with it. The words “beautiful” and
“ugly” are bound up with the words they modify, and when applied to a face
are not the same as when applied to flowers and trees. We have in the latter
a similar “game”.
– Ludwig Wittgenstein, Lectures on Philosophy

The cottage garden; most for use designed,
Yet not of beauty destitute.
– Charlotte Smith

It has been the office of art to educate the perception of beauty.
We are immersed in beauty but our eyes have no clear vision.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

You do not need to know anything about a plant
to know that it is beautiful.
– Montagu Don

Develop interest in life as you see it; in people, things, literature,
music – the world is so rich,
simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls
and interesting people.
Forget yourself.
– Henry Miller

Beauty as we feel it is something indescribable;
what it is or what it means can never be said.
– George Santayana

Exhuberance is Beauty.
– William Blake

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add,
but when there is nothing left to take away.
– Antoine de Saint Exupery

Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.
– Confucius

Quotes for Gardeners

A Collection Growing to Over 2,700 Quotes Arranged by Over 130 Topics
Quotes, Sayings, Proverbs, Poetry, Maxims, Quips, Cliches, Adages
Compiled by Michael P. Garofalo

Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves
of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is a
symbolic as well as actual beauty in the migration of the birds,
the ebb and flow of the tides, the folded bud ready for the spring.
There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of
nature–the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring
after the winter. The lasting pleasures of contact with the natural
world…are available to anyone who will place himself under the
influence of earth, sea and sky and their amazing life.

– Rachel Carson (1907-1964)

Always remember the beauty of the garden, for there is peace.
– Author Unknown

Trees: Lore, Myths, Legends, Magick, Esoterica

Not only in grass fields with green leaf and running brook did this
constant desire find renewal. More deeply still with living human
beauty; the perfection of form, the simple fact of forms, ravished
and always will ravish me away. In this lies the outcome and end
of all the loveliness of sunshine and green leaf, of flowers, pure
water and sweet air. This is embodiment and highest expression;
the scattered, uncertain, and designless loveliness of tree and
sunshine brought to shape. Through this beauty I prayed deepest
and longest, and down to this hour. The shape the divine idea of
that shape the swelling muscle or the dreamy limb, strong sinew
or curve of bust, Aphrodite or Hercules, it is the same. That I may
have the soul-life, the soul-nature, let the divine beauty
bring to me divine soul.
– Richard Jefferies, The Story of My Heart

It is only necessary to behold the least fact or phenomenon,
however familiar, from a point a hair’s breadth aside from
our habitual path or routine, to be overcome, enchanted by
its beauty and significance … To perceive freshly, with
fresh senses is to be inspired.
– Henry David Thoreau

Art consists of limitation. The most beautiful part of every picture is the frame.
– G. K. Chesterton

Most of us have lost that sense of unity of biosphere and humanity which
would bind and reassure us all with an affirmation of beauty. Most of us
do not today believe that whatever the ups and down of detail within
our limited experience, the larger whole is primarily beautiful.
Gregory Bateson

As every real estate agent knows, a poor house in good surroundings will sell for a higher price
than a better house in poor surroundings, and in a town they confidently ask 25 percent
more rent for a flat with a view of a park that for an identical flat with no view.
– Nan Fairbrother

Order is the shape upon which beauty depends.
– Pearl S. Buck

If you would have a lovely garden, you should live a lovely life.
– Shaker saying

Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror.
– Kahlil Gibran

It seemed to my friend that the creation of a landscape-garden
offered to the proper muse the most magnificent of opportunities.
Here indeed was the fairest field for the display of the imagination,
in the endless combining of forms of novel beauty.
– Edgar Allan Poe

“Garden,” “park” and “wood” are thus synonymous in
our times with the ideas of beauty, naturalness and health.
– Tornsten O. Enge

In order to comprehend the beauty of a Japanese garden, it is necessary to
understand – or at least to learn to understand – the beauty of stone.
– Lafcadio Hearn

Beauty is truth, truth beauty; that is all ye know on Earth,
and all ye need to know.
– John Keats (1795-1821)

Death is the mother of beauty.
– Wallace Stevens, Sunday Morning, 1915

Ring the bells that still can ring.
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything.
That’s how the light gets it.
– Leonard Cohen