Quotations worth knowing...

...growing on and on

We collect quotes that have given us the most help or biggest laugh, and include them in articles here.

Take my last best advice: Try everything twice!

- Janet Macunovich -

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

- Anne Raver -

In his garden every man may be his own artist without apology or explanation.

- Louise Beebe Wilder -

In this section

are quotes sorted into these illustrated chapters.

Gardeners: Observations on their nature 

Life philosophies based on gardening
Planting

General garden care
Weeds

Watering

Fertilizer

Tools

Pruning

Fending off bugs and animals

Storing plants
Working smart

Lawn

Design

Choosing plants

Vegetable
 gardens
Trees

Wildflowers, native
 plants
Wildlife attraction, ecology

Amazing
 facts
Living in
 the garden
Seasons

Children

 

The whole collection

Here (below) is the whole collection, sans illustrations. Our placement of some broad-application quotes was arbitrary, and we separated the sections to avoid overloading your computer with their hundreds of illustrations. This text-only collection may help you as it has us, to find particular quotes more quickly.

If you have favorite quotes that should be included here, email them to us. We add to this each time we include quotes in articles. Tell us the source, too. We verify and detail authors and sources as best we can.

Observations of Gardeners' Nature

Go to the illustrated collection of Observations

...She knew
things aren't always
and neither are they never...

- Chris Everson, in Untitled written for Betty Everson -

 

A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes. 

- Hugh Downs -
see What's Coming Up #133

"Green fingers" are a fact, and a mystery only to the unpractised. But green fingers are the extension of a verdant heart. A good garden cannot be made by somebody who has not developed the capacity to know and to love growing things.

- Russell Page, in The Education of a Gardener -
see Growing Concerns #767

 

Yearning is essential to the garden experience.

- Rand Lee
see What's Coming Up #22

 

The love of gardening is a seed that once sown never dies.

- Gertrude Jekyll -
see What's Coming Up #44 and What's Coming Up #132

 

The trouble with gardening is that it does not remain an avocation. It becomes an obsession.

- Phyllis McGinley, in The Province of the Heart -
see Growing Concerns #768

 

Sometimes I even envy the gardener who inhabits a restricted plot of ground. It discourages foolishness.

- Roy Barrette -
see What's Coming Up #35

 

There is no try, only do, or do not.

- Yoda -
see What's Coming Up #53

 

Only years of practice will teach you the mysteries and bold certainty of a real gardener, who treads at random, yet tramples on nothing.

- Karel Capek -
see What's Coming Up #39

 

Gardening is in large measure a phenomenon of attention.

- Allen Lacy, in The Inviting Garden -
see What's Coming Up #76

 

She was amazing - and I always feel closest to her, and my dad, when I'm in the garden.  Sometimes I think we humans have the capacity to sense more than we know, but only when we're removed from the world's distractions.  A garden does that.

- Karen Schmidt, Botanical Garden Society of Northwest Michigan -
see What's Coming Up #90

 

...the laying out of the spring bulb garden (was) a crucial operation, carefully charted and full of witchcraft. ...As the years went by and age overtook her, there was something comical yet touching in her bedraggled appearance... her studied absorption in the implausible notion that there would be yet another spring, oblivious to the ending of her own days, which she knew perfectly well was near at hand, sitting there with her detailed chart under those dark skies in the dying October, calmly planning the resurrection.

- E.B. White, Onward and Upward in the Garden, 1979 -

 

Steven sees so much that I walk right past. Sometimes he shows me pictures of my own gardens and I say "Ooo, where did you take that?"

- Janet Macunovich -
see What's Coming Up #113

 

This is gardening, not brain surgery.

- Alan Armitage -
see What's Coming Up #127

 

And some can pot begonias and some can bud a rose,
And some are hardly fit to trust with anything that grows.

- Rudyard Kipling, The Glory of the Garden, 1911 -

 

The man who has planted a garden feels that he has done something for the good of the whole world.

- Charles Dudley Warner, in My Summer in a Garden -
see What's Coming Up #153

 

Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.

- Voltaire -

 

How pleasant it is for a father to sit at his child's board. It is like an aged man reclining under the shadow of an oak which he has planted.

- Voltaire -
see What's Coming Up #134

 

There is one thing you will find practically impossible to carry into your own greenhouse and that is tension.

- Charles H. Potter -
see What's Coming Up #132

 

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 -

 

In my garden, care stops at the gate and gazes at me wistfully through the bars.

- Alexander Smith -

 

My good hoe as it bites the ground revenges my wrongs, and I have less lust to bite my enemies. In smoothing the rough hillocks, I smooth my temper.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson -

 

He's the best physician who knows the worthlessness of the most medicines.

- Benjamin Franklin, in Poor Richard's Almanack, 1733 -

 

Who has deceived thee so often as thy self?

- Benjamin Franklin, in Poor Richard's Almanack, 1738 -

 

If you wou'd not be forgotten
as soon as you are dead and rotten,
Either write things worth reading,
or do things worth the writing.

- Benjamin Franklin, in Poor Richard's Almanack, 1738 -
see What's Coming Up #125

 

A Plowman on his legs is higher than a Gentleman on his knees.

- Benjamin Franklin, in Poor Richard's Almanack, 1746 -
see What's Coming Up #134

 

When your garden is finished, I hope it will be more beautiful than you anticipated, require less care than you had expected, and have cost only a little more than you had planned.

- Thomas Church -
see What's Coming Up #178

 

I know of no common interest that exceeds gardening as a source of lifelong friendships, nor as a means of making new friends almost constantly.

- Allen Lacy, in The Inviting Garden -
see What's Coming Up #125

 

One becomes a gardener by becoming a gardener.

- Allen Lacy, in The Inviting Garden -

 

If I was trying to conceal my lack of skill as a gardener I'd say these plants (that die in my garden) are short-lived. But it's not true...

- Tony Reznicek, in the talk Why I Grow the Plants I Do -

 

I used to worry about bulbs... how to stop them from coming up early. Now, after years of watching I know they're often up several inches in March, but bloom fine regardless.

- Theresa Bismack -
see What's Coming Up #136

 

He had heard about talking to plants in the early 70's on radio 4 and thought it an excellent idea. Although, talking is perhaps the wrong word for what Crowley did.
What he did was put the fear of God into them.
More precisely, the fear of Crowley.
In addition to which, every couple of months Crowley would pick out a plant that was growing too slowly or succumbing to leaf wilt or browning or just didn't look quite as good as the others, and he would carry it around to all the other plants. 'Say Good bye to your friend," he'd say to them. "He just couldn't cut it..."
Then he would leave the flat with the offending plant and return an hour or so later with a large, empty flower pot which he would leave somewhere conspicuously around the flat.
The plants were the most luxurious, verdant and beautiful in London. Also, the most terrified."

- Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, in Good Omens -

 

Gardens are a form of autobiography.

- Sydney Eddison, in Gardening for a Lifetime -
see What's Coming Up #148

 

All gardens are a form of autobiography.

- Robert Dash -

 

My green thumb came only as a result of the mistakes I made while learning to see things from the plant's point of view.

- H. Fred Dale  -
see What's Coming Up #165

 

More than anything, I must have flowers, always, always.

- Claude Monet -

 

No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden... But though an old man, I am but a young gardener.

- Thomas Jefferson to portrait painter Charles W. Peale, 1811 -
see What's Coming Up #151

 

In a thousand unseen ways we have drawn shape and strength from the land.

- Lyndon B. Johnson -

 

Gardeners, I think, dream bigger dreams than emperors.

- Mary Cantwell, author, essayist -
see What's Coming Up #167

 

Your job as gardener is to keep things running smoothly for the plants and animals that live in or visit your yard, whatever the weather decides to do.

- Ruth Shaw Ernst -
see What's Coming Up #164

 

====================

Life Philosophy Based on Gardening

Go to the illustrated collection of Life Philosophy

Flowers are words which even a babe may understand.

- Arthur Cleveland Case -

 

Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light.


- Theodore Roethke -
see What's Coming Up #148

 

Money is like manure; it's not worth a thing unless it's spread around encouraging young things to grow.

- Thornton Wilder -
see What's Coming Up #35

 

The fairest thing in nature, a flower, still has its roots in earth and manure.

- D.H. Lawrence -
see What's Coming Up #27

 

Man masters Nature not by force but by understanding. 

- Jacob Bronowski -

 

Give me a spark of Nature's fire.

That's all the learning I desire.

- Robert Burns -

 

At the heart of gardening there is a belief in the miraculous

- Mirabel Osler -
see What's Coming Up #164

 

Failure is enriching your compost pile.

- Anne Raver -
see What's Coming Up #22

 

Watching something grow is good for morale. It helps us believe in life.

- Myron S. Kaufmann, in The Natural Habitat Garden -
see Growing Concerns #759 and What's Coming Up #76

 

We must learn to appreciate the innate wisdom of nature's chaos.

- Neil Diboll, Prairie Nursery -
see What's Coming Up #33 and What's Coming Up #79

 

Gardens also teach us to live more in the moment - to listen, to watch, to touch and to dream.

- James van Sweden -
see What's Coming Up #72

 

Flowers are restful to look at.  They have neither emotions nor conflicts.

- Sigmund Freud-
see What's Coming Up #77

 

February... Now more than ever one must remind oneself that it is wasteful folly to wish that time would pass, or -- as the puritanical old saying used to have it -- to kill time until it kills you.

- Joseph Wood Krutch, The Twelve Seasons, 1949 -

 

Anxious gardeners are always looking over their shoulders.

- Christopher Lloyd -
see What's Coming Up #53

 

There are far too many self esteem problems in the world as it is. No sense taking on plant guilt, too.

- Janet Macunovich -
see Growing Concerns #759

 

Until... some captious imp of a plantling from the High Sierras... flourishes as if at home in the surroundings you have made for it with your bungling hands and a prayer in your heart. It is then that your crushed spirit will lift and soar..."

- Louise Beebe Wilder -
see What's Coming Up #81

 

The odd thing about common sense is that it isn't very common.

- Voltaire -
see What's Coming Up #96

 

Life is thickly sown with thorns, and I know no other remedy than to pass quickly through them. The longer we dwell on our misfortunes, the greater is their power to harm us

- Voltaire -
see What's Coming Up #106

 

Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died.

- Erma Bombeck -

 

A garden is like those pernicious machineries which catch a man's coat-skirt or his hand, and draw in his arm, his leg, and his whole body to irresistible destruction.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson -

 

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

- Margaret Atwood -
see What's Coming Up #39

 

Let no one be discouraged by how much there is to learn.

- Gertrude Jekyll -
see What's Coming Up #52

 

There is more to life than simply increasing its speed.

- Mahatma Ghandi-
see What's Coming Up #67

 

To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive.

- Robert Louis Stevenson -
see What's Coming Up #67

 

The Golden Age was never the present Age.

- Benjamin Franklin, in Poor Richard's Almanack , 1750-
see What's Coming Up #74

 

What is a butterfly? At best

He's but a caterpillar drest...

- Benjamin Franklin, in Poor Richard's Almanack, 1740 -
see What's Coming Up #99

 

Gardening transcends everything that otherwise divides us.

- Allen Lacy, in The Inviting Garden -
see What's Coming Up #125

 

In a well-made garden every day is new.

- Allen Lacy, in The Inviting Garden -
see What's Coming Up #85

 

Strolling with my girlie where the dew is
     pearly early in the morning,
Butterflies all flutter up and kiss each
     little buttercup at dawning,
If I had Aladdin's lamp for only a day,
I'd make a wish and here's what I'd say:
Nothing could be finer than to be with
     Carolina in the morning.

- Song lyrics by Gus Kahn, from Carolina in the Mornin' -
see What's Coming Up #112

 

I was seldom able to see an opportunity until it had ceased to be one.

- Mark Twain -
see What's Coming Up #113

 

Earth laughs in flowers.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson -
see What's Coming Up #127

 

The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.

- Bertrand Russell -
(Thanks to Bruce Coppola for calling this quote to the fore.)

 

Our England is a garden and such gardens are not made
By singing "Oh, how beautiful", and sitting in the shade.

- Rudyard Kipling, The Glory of the Garden, 1911 -

 

While working among the little plants of the far places of the world we forget the narrowness of our own orbit.

- Louise Beebe Wilder, in Pleasures and Problems of a Rock Garden -
see What's Coming Up #125 and What's Coming Up #153

 

Snowdrops: Theirs is a fragile but hardy celebration... in the very teeth of winter.

- Louise Beebe Wilder -
see What's Coming Up #139

 

What this country needs is dirtier fingernails and cleaner minds

- Will Rogers -
see What's Coming Up #164

 

A garden is a thing of beauty and a job forever.

- Richard Briers -

 

Nature is always hinting at us.

- Robert Frost -

 

"It is not enough merely to exist," said he, "I need freedom, sunshine, and a little flower for a companion."

- Hans Christian Andersen, in The Butterfly -
see What's Coming Up #167

 

The cool night air will do me good... I must endure the presence of two or three caterpillars to become acquainted with the butterflies... As for the large animals -- I am not at all afraid of any of them. I have my claws.

- The rose, in her farewell to The Little Prince -
see What's Coming Up #166

 

We cannot have islands of excellence in a sea of slovenly indifference.

- John W. Gardener -

 

Excellence is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.

- John W. Gardner in The Pursuit of Excellence -
see What's Coming Up #174

 

====================

Planting

 Go to the illustrated collection of Planting quotes

A good gardener always plants three seeds -- one for the bugs, one for the weather and one for himself.

- Leo Aikman -
see What's Coming Up #44

 

Bad seed is a robbery of the worst kind: for your pocket-book not only suffers by it, but your preparations are lost and a season passes away unimproved.

- George Washington -
see What's Coming Up #132

 

March is excellent for seed-starting if you use grow lights. Without grow lights, though, wait until April.

- Calvin Bordine, Bordine Nursery -
see What's Coming Up #136

 

Never plant without a bucket of compost at your side.

- Elsa Bakalar -
see What's Coming Up #88

 

A change of location when replanting is always beneficial.

- from The Wise Garden Encyclopedia, editor E.L.D. Seymour, 1936 -
see What's Coming Up #90

 

Plants need to be moved around. You may have to move them a half dozen times before you get the position right (or before they give up the ghost) but that's nothing to be ashamed of.

- Christopher Lloyd, In My Garden, 1994 -

 

Move those roses as soon as you can dig. They will probably hardly notice.  ...they're a lot tougher than we give them credit for.

- Nancy Lindley, Great Lakes Roses -
see What's Coming Up #136

 

Shrubs transplant well now. Our new shrubs and trees come in starting in April -- in many cases they were just dug from a field, the same as transplanting. If the soil is workable, put them in. Given a month or more of cool weather and good soil moisture, they'll often out-perform shrubs planted later.

- Ed Allemon, Allemon's Garden Center -
see What's Coming Up #137

...all who see it say, "Well, you have favorable conditions here. Everything grows for you." Everything grows for everybody. Everything dies for everybody, too.

- Henry Mitchell, The Essential Earthman, 1981 -  

 

====================

General Garden Care

 Go to the illustrated collection of General Garden Care quotes

To-day is Yesterday's Pupil.

- Benjamin Franklin, in Poor Richard's Almanack, 1751 -
see What's Coming Up #85

 

The gardens I love best are those that are still affectionately tended by the people who own them and who made them -- who planned and planted and replanned and replanted them, who dug in the dirt and moved hoses and watched the gardens change with the cycle of the seasons and over the passage of years.

- Allen Lacy, in The Inviting Garden -
see What's Coming Up #76

 

What a man needs in gardening is a cast-iron back, with a hinge in it.

- Charles Dudley Warner, echoing Henry Beston's Herbs and the Earth -

 

Gardening is a matter of your enthusiasm holding up until your back gets used to it.

- Anonymous -

 

Stop spending so much time figuring a way around the work. You could have been done with it by now if you'd just gotten to it in the first place!

- John Macunovich -
see What's Coming Up #141

 

Pray for a good harvest, but continue to hoe 

- Old Saying -
see What's Coming Up #164

 

Weed your own garden first.

- Old Saying -

 

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 -
see Growing Concerns #761 and What's Coming Up #163

 

Plants respond far better to moderate but consistent care than they do to occasional bouts of heroic intervention.

- Martha Stewart-
see Growing Concerns #758

 

If you are late with your autumn work, as I invariably am, the tulip bulbs will not pursue you with reproachful glances.

- Christopher Lloyd -
see What's Coming Up #14

 

Tim was so learned that he could name a Horse in nine languages,
So ignorant, that he bought a Cow to ride on.

- Benjamin Franklin, in Poor Richard's Almanack, 1750 -
see What's Coming Up #73

 

====================

Weeds

 Go to the illustrated collection of Weeds quotes

Sweet flowers are slow and weeds make haste.

- William Shakespeare -
see What's Coming Up #14 and What's Coming Up #52

 

It takes...a lot of weeds in a garden really to keep the gardener interested. ...God in His wisdom provided thorns and thistles.

- Bertha Damon, in A Sense of Humus  -
see What's Coming Up #106

 

Repetitive activities such as weeding might look tedious and unfulfilling to the uninitiated but they can attain a certain rhythm, become a... moving meditation.

- Ken Druse, in A Passion For Gardening -
see Growing Concerns #763 and What's Coming Up #99

 

...better men than we go out and start their working lives
At grubbing weeds from gravel-paths with broken dinner-knives.

- Rudyard Kipling, The Glory of the Garden, 1911 -

 

...weeding is the most peaceful of any outdoor task... soothingly monotonous but pleasingly varied... shutting out anxious thinking and furnishing an excuse for not doing some other less pleasant job.

- Bertha Damon, in A Sense of Humus -
see What's Coming Up #153

 

Know your weeds. Because, as the old saying goes:
It is always more powerful to curse it by name.

-Frances Kissinger -
see Growing Concerns #769 and What's Coming Up #173

 

The only thing that can make the average gardener industrious, that can make him come out early and fold up late, is the industrious weed.

- Bertha Damon, in A Sense of Humus -
see What's Coming Up #99

 

Weeding has none of the doubts and fears of transplanting.

- Bertha Damon, in A Sense of Humus -
see What's Coming Up #110

 

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

- Ralph Waldo Emerson -
see Growing Concerns #762, What's Coming Up #47
and What's Coming Up #100

 

As the weeder gets acquainted with weeds, he may well take an example from their virtuous and admirable behavior.

- Bertha Damon, in A Sense of Humus -
see What's Coming Up #84

 

Many a lusty crest-waving Hector, that towered a whole foot above his crowding comrades, fell before my weapon and rolled in the dust.

- Henry Thoreau, of weeding in his Walden bean field -
see What's Coming Up #87

 

Teasel. Ha. One year you have one; the next year you have 10,000.

 - Beaufort Cranford -

 

Go thou and like an executioner cut off the heads of too fast growing sprays.

William Shakespeare, in Richard II -
see What's Coming Up #132

 

Some plants are real demons, but are so pretty there's a lot of demand for them. We growers have to carry them. So we sell them with a warning!

- Karen Bovio -
See Bad luck to say thanks

 

Invasive? Sure, it can be. We told you that. But isn't it otherwise all that you asked for?

- Janet -
See Bad luck to say thanks

 

When I had a small yard I had to be so careful of what I let loose in there. I tell people if someone offers you a perennial, ask them 'Why?" If they say 'because I have so much of it,' well there you go, there's your warning!

- Deb Hall -
See Bad luck to say thanks

 

====================

Watering

Go to the illustrated collection of Watering quotes

Overwatering kills more house plants than under watering.

- Roberta M Coughlin -
see What's Coming Up #77

 

When the well's dry we know the worth of Water.

- Benjamin Franklin, in Poor Richard's Almanack -
see What's Coming Up #93

 

Water is critical as plants start growing. Do check whether lawn, trees and shrubs need water even before the sprinkler system is turned on. Don't just feel the surface. Dig down about eight inches to check if the soil is dry. It's surprising how dry it can be down deeper where the roots are, even when the surface is damp.

- Mary Wilson, Michigan State University Extension -
see What's Coming Up #137

 

You can use ice cubes set on the soil to water plants, indoors and out. It's slow release moisture for plants that don't like to dry down.

- Marge Alpern  -
see What's Coming Up #161

 

...there is nothing more exasperating than a hose that just isn't long enough.

- Cecil Roberts -

 

...set the basketball on the kitchen table. Open a cupboard, get out a bottle of sesame seeds, and place a single seed beside the basketball. If you were to reduce the Earth to the size of a basketball, all the fresh surface water on the planet -- all those rivers and lakes and ponds and streams -- would fit inside that one tiny sesame seed. Add a second sesame seed; now you have all the usable underground water as well. Is fresh water a scarce resource?

- William Ashworth, The Economy of Nature, 1995 -

 

====================

Fertilizer

 Go to the illustrated collection of Fertilizer quotes

The farmer's best fertilizer is in his footprint.

- Anonymous -
see What's Coming Up #15

 

If people want to fertilize early to beef up a thin or pale lawn, they should use a slow release fertilizer.

- Mary Wilson, Michigan State University Extension -
see What's Coming Up #137

 

From a market garden, one would send the cart to town with produce and it would come back loaded with manure and night soil. This was an important exchange for both a garden in need of fertilizer and a town where a large number of horses and other livestock were housed. 

- Royal Horticultural Society Dictionary of Gardening: Kitchen Garden -

 

====================

Tools

 Go to the illustrated collection of Tools quotes

Tools of many kinds and well chosen, are one of the joys of a garden.

- L.H. Bailey, in The Gardener -
see What's Coming Up #76

 

A skilled workman may be able to make poor tools do a good job but he would never consider purchasing such, because no one so well as he knows the satisfaction and possibilities of owning and using the best.

- from The Wise Garden Encyclopedia, editor E.L.D. Seymour, 1936 -
see What's Coming Up #90

 

Some tools are ancient, some surprisingly modern. In museums we see Roman spades of heavy iron and wooden, iron-edged medieval spades along with many forks and hoes. Yet the one-wheeled barrow was not around until the 1300's and the trowel not for another 300 years.

- Dr. D.G. Hessayon, The Bedside Book of the Garden, 1988 -

 

"Your wheelbarrow needs oil, it squeaks!"
"I know. Let it be. It drowns out the creaking of my joints."

 - Steven Nikkila -
see What's Coming Up #68

 

A colorful handle on a tool does nothing for me. Once it drops into that jungle out there, unless it's absolutely huge, it's gone until fall.

- Janet Macunovich -

 

A good tool will... wear out rather than "give out."

- from The Wise Garden Encyclopedia, editor E.L.D. Seymour, 1936 -
see What's Coming Up #130

 

 A digging fork is a stout, short-handled tool with four flat tines about a foot long.... for weeding I use it delicately to nudge the soil loose from roots without breaking them...

- Sara Stein, My Weeds: A Gardener's Botany, 1988 -

 

There is great satisfaction in a well-made clean tool that does its work well.

- L.H. Bailey, in The Gardener -
see What's Coming Up #128

 

I don't rely on muscle power to dig, I use a sharp spade and I wear boots.

- Janet Macunovich -
see Growing Concerns #760

 

====================

Pruning

 Go to the illustrated collection of Pruning quotes

The tight pruning results in the formation of green meatballs, cubes, rectangles and other odd shapes.

- Michael A. Dirr -
see What's Coming Up #80

 

If you cut a shrub back because it's just too big, and it dies, you haven't lost anything but a plant that couldn't live by your rules.

- Janet Macunovich -
see What's Coming Up #35

 

If a bush is too big, don't ask "should I?" Go ahead and cut it. If it lives, great. If it dies, replace it with something better suited!

- Janet Macunovich -
see What's Coming Up #87 and What's Coming Up #178

 

Bushes? Like hair! They grow back. Stop worrying about it!

- Frances Kissinger -
see What's Coming Up #169

 

They waited until he went out of town and then they thinned the trees. He didn't notice for nearly a month.

- Janet Macunovich -
see What's Coming Up #135

 

Fewer flowers after you prune hard? Maybe. Temporarily. Small loss to bear for a big gain in size control!

- Janet Macunovich -

 

Don't leave that thin, spindly stuff!

- Mr. Kissinger to John Macunovich, thence to Janet -
See Cut weak wood hard

 

Okay, I pruned that rose.

I see. Now go back and prune it more!

- Pro gardeners Mary Wente-Lindsay and Julia Dingle,
learning each others' pruning technique -

 

If you can see that it was pruned, you did something wrong.

- Virginia Smith, words from her grandmother back in the 1920's -
See Proof of gardening at conifer clip

 

If you need a saw to prune a tree, you waited too long. Clippers are always better than a saw.

- Mike Loncar -
  See Clippers better than saw

 

He carries a knife, curved like a crane's bill and sharpened to a deadly edge, and this he whips out to prune a dwarf fruit tree in minutes. "Mind you, don't leave a stump; cut your branch right to the bone."

- Eleanor Perényi, Green Thoughts, 1981-
(speaking of the imaginary perfect gardener
in her line-up of unfortunate helpers)

 

The best pruning is invisible. If what you cut out are bad branches, no one misses them. 

- Virginia Holman -
  See Clippers better than saw

 

====================

Fending off Bugs and Animals

 Go to the illustrated collection of Fending Off quotes

One of the best scarecrows we ever used was a kid's toy duck with big eyes (eyes seem to have great effect) and a motion detector that triggered a quack. We stationed it at the base of the plant we figured was next on the menu.

- Janet Macunovich -
see What's Coming Up #141

 

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, theologian and author -
see What's Coming Up #34

 

The best gardener is a baby killer. Baby insects are much easier to kill than adults, and haven't yet developed the big mouths and voracious appetite of the adolescent.

- Janet Macunovich -
see What's Coming Up #95

 

The families of rabbits or woodchucks will eat the salad greens just before they are ready to be picked; I plot ways to kill these animals but can never bring myself to do it...

- Jamaica Kincaid -

 

The key to good growing, especially to keep problems in check, is lots of shaking hands with plants. Don't just wave hello to them from ten feet away. Go touch them, look under a leaf or two, and notice the small changes that are the first signs of trouble.

- Janet Macunovich -
see What's Coming Up #95

 

It's best to smoosh pine sawflies with rubber gloves.
Their guts eventually soak through cloth. Eww.

- Sonja Nikkila, Lessons from Childhood Apprenticeship -

 

See what it's doing -- is it looking at you? That's a predator insect.

- Dr. David Smitley, Michigan State University Entomology -
see What's Coming Up #149

 

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 -
see What's Coming Up #129

 

Plants are the original chemists. Their sophistication makes DuPont and Monsanto look like little kids with chemistry sets.

- Allen Lacy, in The Inviting Garden -
see What's Coming Up #90

 

Insects leave (Madagascar periwinkle) Catharanthus roseus out of their diets. So, for that matter, do deer. The reason is that the plants are loaded with alkaloids so potent that they are the source of vincristine and vinblastine. These are drugs important in routines of chemotherapy for treating Hodgkin's disease and certain forms of leukemia...

- Allen Lacy,  in The Gardener's Eye and Other Essays -
see What's Coming Up #119

 

Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.

- Chubb Harper -
see What's Coming Up #178

 

'What do you do with slugs, Georgie?'
'Pretend you don't see them.'

- E.F. Benson, Lucia in London, 1927 -

 

Although Helix aspera, the common or garden snail, was an accidental import, its ravages led to the introduction of that enthusiastic consumer of slugs and snails -- the hedgehog. -

from A History of Gardening in New Zealand by Bee Dawson -

 

'What sort of insects do you rejoice in, where you come from?' the gnat inquired.
'I don't rejoice in insects at all,' Alice explained.

- Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-glass -

 

====================

Storing Plants

Go to the illustrated collection of Storing Plants quotes

Our Dahlia roots, brought in thoroughly dried sand and air tight jar, are looking also very sturdy, we are longing to see them in flower as they were costly roots

- Sarah Low, Dunedin, New Zealand, 1849 -
see What's Coming Up #113

 

We explored the various branches of the cellar... The root cellar for the cabbages and squashes laid out on a board, and the beets and carrots growing whiskery in their box of sand, and the potatoes with their blind albino tentacles like the legs of crabs. The cold cellar for the apples in their barrels and the shelves of preserves...

- Margaret Atwood, in The Blind Assassin -

 

The Emigrant's Friend recommended wrapping seeds in tinfoil (for the long voyage) and then putting them in a barrel which had been lined with moist sugar, with layers of sugar in between each lot of seeds. Others swore they got the best results when they placed their seeds in melted beeswax. Pulpy fruits, such as currants, gooseberries, mulberries and strawberries, were squashed between layers of cotton or blotting paper, carefully dried and then inserted in letters or parcels...

- from A History of Gardening in New Zealand by Bee Dawson -

 

====================

Working Smart

 Go to the illustrated collection of Working Smart quotes

Why didn't I do this last fall, when I was younger and in better shape?

- Curt Pickens -
see What's Coming Up #14

 

The very best garden is a new one, on virgin ground. Plants leap out of that spot.

- Janet Macunovich -

 

Gardeners do first, read later. Why not? Plants are very gracious in accepting an apology.

- Janet Macunovich -
see What's Coming Up #45 and What's Coming Up #76

 

I am a great believer in doing a job when I want to do it, and to hell with the consequences.

- Christopher Lloyd -
see What's Coming Up #178 and What's Coming Up #183

 

We've learned over 25 years of interviewing other professional gardeners, especially in public gardens, that no one is ever 'all caught up.' Gardeners tell us, 'If only I had more time!' That's the case no matter how large a staff they have, how well tended their garden to begin with, or how full-time they are. 

- Janet -

 

There's no "right way" to garden, only what suits each person and place.

- Janet Macunovich -
see What's Coming Up #53

 

If someone says "You're not doing that right," hand him the shovel, sit and watch. That's the right way to garden.

- Janet Macunovich -
see Growing Concerns #758

 

Untidiness in the garden does not matter as long as the owner does not mind it.

- Christopher Lloyd
see What's Coming Up #49

 

There is a time and a place to garden, and a time and a place simply to let things be.

- Ken Druse -
see What's Coming Up #71

 

Stay healthy, be safe! A garden is never finished but a gardener can be.

- Deb Hall -
see What's Coming Up #47

 

Altho' thy Teacher act not as he preaches,
Yet ne'ertheless, if good, do what he teaches;
Good counsel, failing Men may give; for why,
He that's aground knows where the Shoal doth lie.

- Benjamin Franklin, in Poor Richard's Almanack, 1734 -
see What's Coming Up #73

 

Some are weatherwise, some are otherwise.

- Benjamin Franklin, in Poor Richard's Almanack, 1735 -
see What's Coming Up #35

 

Low care is what we do while on our knees. Smart care is what makes the growing easier.

- Janet Macunovich -
see What's Coming Up #129

 

If it doesn't grow well, compost it.

- Janet Macunovich -

 

In addition to all its rich offerings to the body and its five senses, gardening engages the mind.

- Allen Lacy, in The Inviting Garden -
see What's Coming Up #153

 

We've learned over 25 years of interviewing other professional gardeners, especially in public gardens, that no one is ever "all caught up." Gardeners tell us, "If only I had more time!" That's the case no matter how large a staff they have, how well tended their garden to begin with, or how full-time they are.

- Janet Macunovich -

 

Praise the large estate; but cultivate a small one.

- Virgil -

 

You don't plant a garden, you grow a garden. And be patient. Give everything a second chance.

- Marge Alpern -
see What's Coming Up #163

 

====================

Lawn

Go to the illustrated collection of Lawn quotes

"Lawn" is derived from land, Danish; lawn,

Welsh; lande, French

see What's Coming Up #111

 

Even a flower gardener who chants "down with lawn" will stop and smile at that scent of new mown hay.

- Janet -

 

"Lawn" was defined as 1. An open space between woods.

Johnson's Dictionary, 1755
see What's Coming Up #37

 

Green is the colour of life.

- Christopher Lloyd -

 

...crabgrass is aptly descriptive of this hated weed, for it does scuttle quickly through a lawn.

- Allen Lacy, in The Gardener's Eye and Other Essays -

 

...my attempts at a lawn. Twice have we had the ground carefully dug up, and prepared; twice it has been sown with the best English seed... at considerable expense; ...and the end of all the trouble has been that a strong nor'wester has blown away both seed and soil, leaving only the hard, un-dug ground. ...there are the croquet things, lying idle in the verandah... they are likely to remain unused for ever.

- Bee Dawson, in A History of Gardening in New Zealand -
see What's Coming Up #111

 

Sure, as garden makers we rip up lots of sod. But as designers we know nothing else sets off a bed so beautifully as a surrounding of lush lawn.

- Janet -

 

====================

Design

 Go to the illustrated collection of Design quotes

The only limit to your garden is the boundaries of your imagination.

- Thomas D Church, landscape architect -
see Growing Concerns #754 and What's Coming Up #151

 

In his garden every man may be his own artist without apology or explanation.

- Louise Beebe Wilder -
see What's Coming Up #22

 

The most serious gardening I do would seem very strange to an onlooker, for it involves hours of walking round in circles, apparently doing nothing.

- Helen Dillon -
see What's Coming Up #76

 

One of the most important things a gardener does is look. The rewards are immeasurable.

- Elsa Bakalar -
see What's Coming Up #164

 

A garden should have no beginning and no end. And should be pleasing when seen from any angle, not only from the house.

- Thomas Church -

 

Don't design your back yard from the outside looking in. Design from your window looking out.

- Janet Macunovich -
see What's Coming Up #15, What's Coming Up #46
and What's Coming Up #142

 

What happens in the way of a garden opportunity between the door of your car and the door of the house... is where garden magic first comes into play.

- William H. Frederick, Jr., in The Exuberant Garden -
see What's Coming Up #93

 

Gardeners in regions with  very long summer days have a great opportunity, and should use more of the cool colors that literally glow in the low light of morning and evening.

- Janet Macunovich, in the talk,  Local Color -
see What's Coming Up #104

 

Given the right circumstances, I believe every colour can be successfully used with any other and that is the message I wish to convey.

- Christopher Lloyd -

 

If you have a dog, watch where it walks.  It will define a path for you.

- Ken Druse -

 

Be pleased with your real garden, don't pursue the perfection of a picture. What you see in a photo lasted only as long as the shutter snap.

- Janet Macunovich -

 

Watch out for trees and traffic.
The change is slow, the impact great, yet we miss the one and mistake the other.

- Janet Macunovich -
see What's Coming Up #34

 

..the possession of a quantity of plants, however good the plants may be themselves and however ample their number, does not make a garden; it only makes a collection. Having got the plants, the great thing is to use them with careful selection and definite intention.

- Gertrude Jekyll, Wood and Garden, 1899 -

 

There is no "The End" to be written, neither can you, like an architect, engrave in stone the day the garden was finished; a painter can frame his picture, a composer notate his coda, but a garden is always on the move.

- Mirabel Osler -
see What's Coming Up #47

 

Reducing the size of the garden when the time is right will never reduce the size of the gardener's heart.

- Deb Hall -
see What's Coming Up #47

 

To the landscape architect a rock garden... appears... the work of a lunatic.

- Louise Beebe Wilder -
see What's Coming Up #81

 

We all have a good idea of what an English garden looks like, as well as a Japanese garden, even a French parterre garden, Italianate garden, etc. But what is the American garden? Lawn and tomatoes!

-Neil Diboll, Prairie Nursery -
see What's Coming Up #84

 

A garden is not a picture, but a language.

- Henry Mitchell -

 

...my own preference is for mixed (beds) where there are ...groups of larger shrubs on corners and elsewhere to give shape to the views and to create surprises.

- Graham Stuart Thomas, in Perennial Garden Plants -

 

History is everything in gardening: With a site, weather, a particular plant. It solves mysteries. And it's why, when others say, "You can't do that!" you can know with deepest certainty that you can. 

- Janet Macunovich -
see What's Coming Up #152

 

For the best building and planting...the architect and gardener must have some knowledge of each other's business, and each must regard with feelings of kindly reverence the unknown domains of the other's higher knowledge.

- Gertrude Jekyll -

 

Plan your garden on paper. Mistakes made on paper won't cost you much in time or money.

- Elsa Bakalar, in A Garden of One's Own -

 

Gardeners often focus exclusively on plants, missing the absolutely essential visual role played by structures, from paths to pavilions.

- Janet Macunovich -
see What's Coming Up #174

 

If you like it in March, it's a keeper. Build on it!

- Janet Macunovich -
see What's Coming Up #174

 

When many plants are out of the picture in winter, it becomes clear that many of them should be pitched out. It's also much easier to do that before they come up and begin to talk to us. 

- Janet Macunovich -
see What's Coming Up #174

 

It is a golden maxim to cultivate the garden for the nose, and the eyes will take care of themselves.

- Robert Louis Stevenson -

 

====================

Choosing Plants

 Go to the illustrated collection of Choosing Plants quotes

As a botanist who's a gardener, I think if a plant's interesting from a botanical point of view it doesn't matter how ugly it is.

- Tony Reznicek, in the talk Why I Grow the Plants I Do -
see What's Coming Up #123

 

Please don't ask for a groundcover suggestion now, then curse me later for recommending an invasive plant! As they say "You knew it was a snake..." 

- Janet Macunovich -

see What's Coming Up #37

 

Most of my garden contains ignorant plants. Fortunately since they cannot read the books, they do not know they shouldn't be able to exist in my garden.

- Dennis Groh -
see More new perennials

 

You don't know the plant until you've killed it. Then you've learned something.

- Janet Macunovich -
see What's Coming Up #37 and What's Coming Up #167

 

I consider every plant hardy until I have killed it myself.

- J.C. Raulston, paraphrasing Sir Peter Smithers -
see What's Coming Up #71

 

We think we learn by growing a plant but we can't know if it's just surviving or truly living? We really don't know anything about a plant until we kill it.

- Janet Macunovich -
see What's Coming Up #51

 

I've killed quite a few of them now, some of them in some spectacular ways. ...The real trick with these tough plants is to get a picture of it before it dies.

- Tony Reznicek, in the talk Why I Grow the Plants I Do -
see What's Coming Up #110

 

Some people think that yuccas are wonderful, and others think they are aptly named.

- Steven Nikkila -
see What's Coming Up #112

 

I have pinched cuttings to which I had no right myself, and I can remember most such occasions with more glee than shame.

- Christopher Lloyd, In My Garden, 1994 -

 

While working among the little plants of the far places of the world we forget the narrowness of our own orbit.

- Louise Beebe Wilder, in Pleasures and Problems of a Rock Garden -
see What's Coming Up #125 and What's Coming Up #153

 

I cannot walk into our garden without constantly being reminded of the friends who have shared their plants.

- Allen Lacy, in The Inviting Garden -

 

There are some advantages to growing oddball plants. One is I can be much more cavalier about weeds -- because no one is going to be able to tell which are weeds. If I haven't weeded and people are coming I can just get out labels and label things...

- Tony Reznicek, in the talk Why I Grow the Plants I Do -
see What's Coming Up #80

 

Whether the are splashed with gold or white, striped with chartreuse or cream, or margined in light tones, they are nature's weaklings, and nature is still a matter of survival of the fittest. The survival of variegated plants depends on human intervention.

- Allen Lacy, in The Inviting Garden -

 

Interspersed in lawn and opening glades,
Thin trees arise that shun each others' shades.

- Alexander Pope  -
see What's Coming Up #79

 

When in doubt about a plant, move it.

- Helen Dillon -
see What's Coming Up #13  and What's Coming Up #166

 

It is far better to limit our choice to real permanencies, which do not require staking... and a general mixture throughout of dwarf shrubs, perennials and ground-covers, with bulbs... This has been called gardening in four layers, and I believe it to be the most satisfying form of gardening.

- Graham Stuart Thomas, in Perennial Garden Plants -
see What's Coming Up #60

 

Happiness comes from growing what thrives, not merely survives.

- Janet Macunovich -
see What's Coming Up #51

 

The essence of the enjoyment of a garden is that things should look as though they like to grow in it.

- Beatrix Farrand -

 

When I need to be precise about a plant, I use its Latin name, even if my nongardening friends sometimes look at me a little funny for using big words in a dead language -- or in the kind of horticultural Esperanto that botanical names make up.

- Allen Lacy, in The Gardener's Eye and Other Essays -
see What's Coming Up #120

 

If you do not know the names of things, the knowledge of them is lost, too.

- Carl Linnaeus -
see What's Coming Up #111

 

Anyone starting to garden... would be wise to look around carefully and see what grows well in other people's yards.

- Thalasso Cruso, in Making Things Grow Outdoors -
see What's Coming Up #156

 

Some of these odd, ugly plants are long lived. Which is good - it adjusts your sense of beauty.

- Tony Reznicek, in the talk Why I Grow the Plants I Do -

 

Once you start thinking "oddball" plants are worth growing, the doors just open... the list of 'must haves' keeps getting bigger.

- Tony Reznicek, in the talk Why I Grow the Plants I Do -
see What's Coming Up #152

 

As a collector, I want one of everything. I say, grow things in drifts of one.

- Tony Avent, Plant Delights Nursery -

 

And the best-laid plans are often confounded by plants imbued with such uncontrollable wanderlust that they have no intention of staying where you put them...

- Helen Dillon, in Garden Artistry -
see What's Coming Up #74

 

Take care with manufactured chemicals, certainly. Your safety and long term health are more important than anything. Yet don't forget that if you grow even a dozen different plants, you are surrounded by chemistry. Inside their cells even the most ordinary plants creates potent fungicides, insecticides, irritants, balms, hallucinogens, sedatives, nerve toxins, cell repair stimulants, lures, repellents... you name it. Treat all plants with respect!

- Janet Macunovich -

 

Snowdrops: Theirs is a fragile but hardy celebration... in the very teeth of winter.

- Louise Beebe Wilder -
see What's Coming Up #139

 

Take the Gesneriads. So far I've figured out how to kill substantial numbers of them. But I keep trying since I do keep learning something each time. So I have high hopes.

- Tony Reznicek, in the talk Why I Grow the Plants I Do -
see What's Coming Up #81

 

Some tulips last so long you could almost dust them off, and others you can't trust over night.

- Constance Spry -
see What's Coming Up #88

 

Flowering crabapples and lilacs actually grow better in the North than in other parts of the continent.

- Leon Snyder, in Trees and Shrubs for Northern Gardens -
see What's Coming Up #71

 

"Herbes... comfort the wearied braine with fragrant smells which yielde a certaine kind of nourishment.

- William Coles, 1656 -
see What's Coming Up #76

 

(Heliotrope), the smell rewards the care.

- Thomas Jefferson, in instructions accompanying a gift of seeds to a grandson -
see What's Coming Up #92

 

Anne of Austria, wife of Louis XIII of France, had such an aversion to roses that she could not stand seeing one even in a painting.

- Allen Lacy, in The Inviting Garden -
see What's Coming Up #91

 

Juniperus chinensis 'Pfitzeriana'... The granddaddy of juniper cultivars; ...usually listed as growing about 5' high and 10' wide, actually can grow larger...

- Michael Dirr -
see What's Coming Up #156

 

It's bad luck to say 'Thank you' for a plant.
Better to say, 'I'll think of you when I see it.'

- Common saying, unknown origin-
See Bad luck to say thanks

 

====================

Vegetable Gardens

 Go to the illustrated collection of Vegetable Gardens quotes

Not knowing where your food comes from is a primary form of alienation.

- Allen Lacy, in The Inviting Garden -

 

A garden... is a finite place the gardener... has created, working on it 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, 1995 -

 

The first gathering of salads, radishes and herbs made me feel like a mother about her baby -- how could anything so beautiful be mine?

- Alice B. Toklas -

 

For those dependent on their gardens for fresh food, it was often a case of feast or famine... (One settler wrote), "Strawberries were now so plentiful that... I made 287 lbs of jam..."

- Bee Dawson, in A History of Gardening in New Zealand -

 

Men & melons are hard to know.

- Benjamin Franklin, in Poor Richard's Almanack, 1733 -
see What's Coming Up #152

 

Snowy winter, a plentiful harvest.

- Benjamin Franklin, in Poor Richard's Almanack, 1733 -
see What's Coming Up #129

 

Another spring excitement in the garden is the pea planting... about the first or second day of April, as soon as the top of the soil can be worked with a fork, and long before the plowing.

How we watch those rows for the first sprouts! How we coddle and cultivate them! How eagerly we inspect our neighbors' rows, trying to appear nonchalant! And doubtless how silly this sounds to anyone who is not a gardener! Last summer we got our first mess of peas on June twenty-first, and after eating a handful we rushed to the telephone, and were about to ring, when somebody called us.

"Hello," we said into the receiver.

A voice on the other end of the wire, curiously choked and monchy, cried, "We are eating our first peas! My mouth's full of 'em now!"

"That's nothing," we answered, "we've got our first mouthful all swallowed."

- Walter Prichard Eaton, in The Once and Future Gardener -
see What's Coming Up #82

 

Only two things that money can't buy, and that's true love and homegrown tomatoes.

- Guy Clark, in his song Homegrown Tomatoes -
see What's Coming Up #106

 

Up in the mornin' out in the garden,
Get you a ripe one don't get a hard one.
Plant `em in the spring, eat `em in the summer:
All winter with out `em's a culinary bummer...
Homegrown tomatoes!

- Guy Clark, in his song Homegrown Tomatoes -
see What's Coming Up #135

 

Take two quinces, and two or three burre roots and a Potaton, and pare youre Potaton and scrape your roots, and put them into a quart of wine, and let them boyle till they bee tender, and put in an ounce of dates, and when they be boiled tender, drawe them through a strainer, wine and all, and then  put in the yolkes of eight eggs, and the braynes of three or four cocke-sparrowes, and straine them into the other, and a little rosewater, and seeth them all with sugar, cinnamon and ginger, and cloves and mace; and put in a little sweet butter, and set it upon a chafing-dish of coles between two platters, to let it boyle till it be something bigge.

- Good Housewife's Jewel (1596), when potatoes were new to Europe -
see What's Coming Up #133

 

Even where the land was more receptive, settlers soon learned to take some precautions before planting their vegetables. Maize and pumpkin seeds were soaked in water for several days and then blackened with tar before planting -- the most effective way to deter rats, mice and birds.

- Bee Dawson, in A History of Gardening in New Zealand -
see What's Coming Up #142

 

The farmers loved her bees, thanks to all the pollinating they did, how they made the watermelons redder and the cucumbers bigger.

- Sue Monk Kidd, in The Secret Life of Bees -

 

The next time you think about falling fruits or nuts as messy, consider this conversation between John Macunovich and cousins visiting from a very poor town in Beylorus (Russia).
"What do you do with the apples?"
"We rake them up and compost them."
"What?!"

see What's Coming Up #157

 

The farmers loved her bees, thanks to all the pollinating they did, how they made the watermelons redder and the cucumbers bigger.

From the novel The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

 

 I want death to find me planting my cabbages.

- Michel de Montaigne -

 

====================

Trees

 Go to the illustrated collection of Trees quotes

Any fool can destroy trees, they cannot run away.

- John Muir -
see What's Coming Up #49 and What's Coming Up #152

 

In a tree... anchoring roots... are most developed opposite to the prevailing winds, ...and its strength is related to the wind pressure which it must needs withstand.

- D'Arcy Thomas, in On Growth and Form -
see What's Coming Up #88

 

Happy the Man...
Whose trees in summer yield him Shade
In Winter Fire

- Benjamin Franklin, in Poor Richard's Almanack, 1744 -
see What's Coming Up # 152

 

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree...
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

- Joyce Kilmer, in Trees -
see What's Coming Up #152

 

I think that I shall never see
A billboard lovely as a tree.
Indeed, unless the billboards fall
I'll never see a tree at all.

- Ogden Nash, in Song of the Open Road -
see What's Coming Up #153

 

Woodman, spare that tree!
Touch not a single bough!
In youth it sheltered me,
And I'll protect it now.

- George Pope Morris, in Woodman Spare That Tree -

 

It is a simple matter to plant trees in straight lines, but informal groupings will test the sensitivities of the most experienced planter and the smaller the groups the more difficult they are to place.

- Graham Stuart Thomas, in Great Gardens of Britain -

 

If a tree dies, plant another in its place.

- Carl Linnaeus -
see What's Coming Up #164

 

On either side of the front walk there towered two
old horse-chestnut trees. I loved their sticky,
unfurling leaves, and when they bore their candles
it was magic, breath-catching, eye-delighting. Cut
down, cut down. What kind of man cuts down trees
that took all those years to grow? I do not
understand.

- from the poem Horse-Chestnut Trees and Roses by James Schuyler -

 

The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing which stands in the way.

- William Blake -

 

...Cinderella at the ball, the common mulberry, so drab and unappreciated the remainder of the year, suddenly (briefly) glows brilliant yellow, a beacon of splendor.

- Carol Bishop Hipps, In a Southern Garden, 1994 -

 

====================

Wildflowers and Native Plants

 Go to the illustrated collection of Wildflowers and Native Plants quotes

The beauty of woodland wildflowers is that they exist at all.

- Roger Swain -
see What's Coming Up #88

 

Growing a natural habitat garden is also one of the most important things each of us can do to help restore a little order to a disordered world.

- Ken Druse -
see What's Coming Up #53

 

The garden is like a hospital:  All the plants are on intensive care. Watering, mulching, fertilizing, maybe even someone chopping off their little dead heads. In a prairie garden or meadow, the plants are fully capable of fending for themselves. They require no fertilizers, watering, or special care, as long as one has selected native plants to match their soil and sunlight conditions.

- Neil Diboll, Prairie Nursery -
see What's Coming Up #101

 

'Tis a strange Forest that has no rotten Wood in it...

- Benjamin Franklin, in Poor Richard's Almanack, 1747 -
see What's Coming Up #89

 

There are some optimists who search eagerly for the skunk cabbage which in February sometimes pushes itself up through the ice, and who call it a sign of spring. I wish that I could feel that way about it, but I do not. The truth of the matter, to me, is simply that skunk cabbage blooms in the winter time.

- Joseph Wood Krutch, The Twelve Seasons, 1949 -

 

Wood's not natural mulch for a woodland garden. Do you see forest trees shatter into a zillion pieces and fall? No. They fall, then decompose, then spread.

- Janet Macunovich -
see What's Coming Up #141

 

Nature's mighty law is change.

- Robert Burns -
see What's Coming Up #184

 

With names like butterflyweed, milkweed, ironweed, and Joe Pye Weed, you can be sure these plants were not named by a marketing person.

- Neil Diboll, Prairie Nursery -
see What's Coming Up #95 and What's Coming Up #100

 

The big break for prairie plants was when Purple Coneflower went from being a 'Wildflower' to a 'Perennial.' It's our Jackie Robinson!

- Neil Diboll, Prairie Nursery -
see What's Coming Up #100

 

Be careful when burning prairie gardens and meadows near buildings. Got any idea what the melting point of vinyl siding might be? I do, because it melted it on my office!  The fire was 40 feet away and under control, but a big gust of wind blew hot air toward the building, and the next thing I knew the siding was hanging down off the walls. So be careful out there!

- Neil Diboll, Prairie Nursery -
see What's Coming Up #138

 

The average prairie plant has about 2/3 of its living biomass underground in the roots. This storehouse of water and nutrients is like money in the bank for hard times. Obviously, these are Republican plants!

- Neil Diboll, Prairie Nursery -
see What's Coming Up #104

 

====================

Wildlife Attraction, Ecology

Go to the illustrated collection of Wildlife and Ecology quotes

I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongue.

- The Lorax, a Dr Seuss character -

 

But there is one place where a person can make choices that will lead in a small way toward greater sanity in dealing with the natural order. That place is the private garden.

- Allen Lacy, in The Inviting Garden -
see What's Coming Up #92

 

If you want birds in your garden, you gotta have bugs for them to eat. No bugs, no birds. I know my garden is a success when I see holes in the leaves of the plants, because I know I'm feeding the birds.

- Neil Diboll, Prairie Nursery -
see What's Coming Up #95

 

Never give up listening to the sounds of birds.

- John James Audubon -

 

Everybody says they love Nature, but nobody ever invites her over to their yard.  We mow plant life to within an inch or two of it's life, relentlessly spray toxic chemicals to kill all the bugs, be they good or bad, and then wonder where all the birds went.

- Neil Diboll, Prairie Nursery -

 

We can plant to suit the needs of the birds and other wildlife that find a haven and a habitat on our home ground, and we can understand that to do so is a moral dictate, not a personal whim.

- Allen Lacy, in  The Inviting Garden -
see What's Coming Up #165

 

History is rich with tales of the disastrous outcomes of some intentional introductions...

- IUCN The World Conservation Union-
see What's Coming Up #180

 

Not all introductions worked well. Rabbits were an unmitigated environmental disaster. Unchecked by any natural predator, they bred at a staggering rate and chewed their way across vast areas of pastureland as well as any garden that came their way. Attempts to control them by introducing ferrets, weasels and stoats did much more harm than good. Although these predators probably killed a reasonable number of rabbits, they also devastated populations of kiwi and raided the nests of flighted birds.

- Bee Dawson, in A History of Gardening in New Zealand -
see What's Coming Up #138

 

When possums were introduced in 1837 to start a fur industry, no one predicted that these Australian neighbours would naturalize with destructive enthusiasm, wreaking havoc on gardens and bush alike. Up to 20 million possums a year were killed during the height of the fur trade, but this barely checked their rapid expansion.

- Bee Dawson, in A History of Gardening in New Zealand -
see What's Coming Up #113

 

(Send) leafy, leafy collard greens         
And please make sure they're washed!
Light up our eyes                                     
Brighten our lives                                    
With ten banana squash.                       

Turtle grocery list - William 'Bud' Luckey -

 

Nature will bear the closest inspection. She invites us to lay our eye level with her smallest leaf, and take an insect's view of its plain.

- Henry David Thoreau -

 

====================

Amazing Facts

Go to the illustrated collection of Amazing Facts quotes

Medical research shows that simply looking at a garden is good for our health.

- Ken Druse -
see What's Coming Up #54

 

A medium sized tree can move more than 500 gallons of water into the air on a hot day.

- Ken Druse -
see What's Coming Up #35 and

- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency -
seeWringing Water From Trees
see What's Coming Up #82

 

Violets' scent caused a singer to lose her voice.

- From Scented Flora of the World -
see What's Coming Up #91

 

We blame Walt Disney for goldenrod's undeserved bad name. Despite Sneezy's pronouncement, plants such as goldenrod with heavy, insect-carried pollen rarely cause allergic reaction.

- Janet Macunovich -
see Growing Concerns #255

 

We've heard that a first class head gardener requires longer training than a surgeon or lawyer. Not surprising, since the surgeon or lawyer are working with just one species. The gardener tends hundreds of different plant species and must know the ins and outs of many animal species, too.

- Janet -

 

The first dahlia tubers sent to Europe from the New World were for eating and not for growing in the flower garden.

- Dr. D.G. Hessayon, The Bedside Book of the Garden, 1988 -

 

====================

Living in the garden

 Go to the illustrated collection of Living in the Garden quotes

I have heard people say, "I garden in lieu of therapy, but therapy would be cheaper." I believe gardening's worth the price since it's at least as effective in curing head and heart of what ails us.

- Janet Macunovich -
ee What's Coming Up #109

 

In my garden, after a rainfall, you can faintly, yes, hear the breaking of new blooms.

-Truman Capote -

 

...a garden is mainly ...a space around which interests can be accumulated.

- Graham Stuart Thomas, in Perennial Garden Plants -
see What's Coming Up #65

 

...the flowers... Those beautiful creatures that catch the smile of God out of the sky and preserve it.

Mark Twain, in The Diaries of Adam and Eve

 

We pulled the seeds out and scattered them on their flossy parachutes, leaving only the leathery brownish yellow tongue, soft as the inside of an elbow.

- Margaret Atwood, in The Blind Assassin -

 

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

- Anne Raver -

 

Don't hesitate to put in a plant that you greatly admire simply because it is supposed to be difficult to grow... The best gardening is experimental as well as ephemeral.

- Christopher Lloyd -
see What's Coming Up #169

 

Take my last best advice: Try everything twice!

- Janet Macunovich -
see What's Coming Up #62

 

More than half a century has passed, and yet each spring, when I wander into the primrose wood, I see the pale yellow blooms and smell their sweetest scent -- for a moment I am seven years old again and wandering in that fragrant wood.

- Gertrude Jekyll -

 

Love your neighbour, yet don't pull down your hedge.

- Benjamin Franklin, in Poor Richard's Almanack, 1754 -
see What's Coming Up #87

 

Silly gardeners! We buy pretty, comfortable benches and position them oh so carefully. But does the gardener ever sit? No! We perch momentarily and then jump up to do that next thing we see.

- Janet Macunovich -

 

I cannot walk into our garden without constantly being reminded of the friends who have shared their plants.

- Allen Lacy, in The Inviting Garden -

 

It's my hobby, my vocation, my passion... it may as well be my religion, too.

- Janet Macunovich -

 

A single painted gnome sends out a message we think we can read and either tolerate or ridicule. If your immediate reaction is a patronizing dismissal of both gnome and owner, you had better examine very carefully your own trash-filled life.

- Geoffrey B. Charlesworth, The Opinionated Gardener, 1988 -

 

...I make it a point of honour to have a couple of gnomes in my garden as silent testimony to the right of gnome-lovers everywhere to do their own thing without fear of snide remarks.

- Richard Briers, A Little Light Weeding, 1999 -

 

Those who stay indoors until the golden flames of forsythia announce to all that spring is here will miss the first crocus...

- Elizabeth Lawrence, The Home Garden, 1943 -

 

====================

Seasons

 Go to the illustrated collection of Seasons quotes

Are the trees starting to bud or am I imagining things? And, no, I haven't been drinking when I noticed this.

- Joe Kuskowski, February Rambles -

 

There is always in February some one day, at least, when one smells the yet distant, but surely coming, summer.

- Gertrude Jekyll -
First an artist, Jekyll moved into garden design
as her eyesight failed. We may owe our inheritance
of Jekyll innovations to the extra sensory appeal of spring.
(Thanks to Carol Mousigian for calling this quote to the fore.)

 

The most serious charge which can be brought against New England is not Puritanism but February. ... Spring is too far away to comfort by anticipation, and winter long ago lost the charm of novelty.

- Joseph Wood Krutch, The Twelve Seasons, 1949 -

 

Bless that good ol' Equinox -- the plants have come to life again. It's so nice to watch them all turning toward the sun at their summertime rate (rather than therir slow weak winter wobblings) -- a reminder that we're all stretching for the light again.


- Sonja Nikkila -
See What's Coming Up #198, Spring Acceleration

 

Gardening is the most ephemeral art. A garden is in constant flux, season to season and moment to moment.

- Will & Ariel Durant, founders of Smith & Hawken -
see What's Coming Up #110

 

Last night, there came a frost, which has done great damage to my garden. It is sad that Nature will play such tricks with us poor mortals.

- Nathaniel Hawthorne -

 

A year without its winter would seem all wrong to me... It is a necessity, not just a necessary evil.

- Christopher Lloyd -
see What's Coming Up #71

 

A garden in winter is the absolute test of the true gardener.

- Rosemary Verey, in The Garden in Winter -
see What's Coming Up #71

 

It is in midwinter that I sometimes glean from my pines... a curious transfusion of courage.

- Aldo Leopold, in A Sand County Almanac -
see What's Coming Up #72

 

Winter's palette is clear and spare, restrictive enough to curb the excesses of even the most daring gardeners.

- Rosemary Verey, in The Garden in Winter -
see What's Coming Up #72

 

I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house. So I spend almost all the daylight hours in the open air.

- Nathaniel Hawthorne -
see What's Coming Up #161

 

Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth 
seeking the successive autumns.

- George Eliot -
see What's Coming Up #161

 

Don't worry, it always comes. Call it Indian summer or whatever. There are always a few days of beautiful weather after Veteran's Day.

- Marya Macunovich -
see What's Coming Up 163

 

It was one of those perfect English autumnal days which occur more frequently in memory than in life.

- P. D. James -
see What's Coming Up #170

 

 

There is always in February some one day, at least, when one smells the yet distant, but surely coming, summer.

- Gertrude Jekyll -
see Houseplants' Spring Revival in What's Coming Up #198

 

Bless that good ol' Equinox -- the plants have come to life again. It's so nice to watch them all turning toward the sun at their summertime rate (rather than their slow weak winter wobblings) -- a reminder that we're all stretching for the light again.

- Sonja Nikkila -
see Houseplants' Spring Revival in What's Coming Up #198

====================

Children

 Go to the illustrated collection of quotes about Children in gardens

Laura and I picked milkweed pods and opened them to feel the scale-shaped seeds overlapping like the skin of a dragon.

Margaret Atwood, in The Blind Assassin -
see What's Coming Up #135

 

Gardening is restorative. It brings us back to the things we thought we had lost in childhood. It brings us back to our senses -- to the downy feel of the leaves of silver sage; to the perfume of jasmine and gardenias; to the taste of spearmint; to the sound of bamboo rustling in the sudden rush of wind before a storm; to the cool white beauty of a moonflower unfolding as dusk turns to night.

- Allen Lacy, in The Inviting Garden -
see What's Coming Up #83

 

...there are some notable differences between those of us who started gardening when we were children and our brothers and sisters of the spade who came to the pursuit later in life -- the late bloomers, so to speak. ...They are serious gardeners... as for the rest of us, we started out as children and something of the child remains in us. Gardening may be work but it begins as play -- something spontaneous, with no restrictive rules.

- Allen Lacy, in The Gardener's Eye and Other Essays  -
see What's Coming Up #89

 

Another remnant of childhood to which I confess is a yen for plants that serious gardeners hold in low account, especially gaudy ones that lack a shred of pretence to modesty...

- Allen Lacy, in The Gardener's Eye and Other Essays -
see What's Coming Up #74

 

There is nothing that is comparable to it, as satisfactory or as thrilling as gathering vegetables one has grown.

- Alice B. Toklas -

 

(Caterpillars) have most wonderful appetites and hardly stop feeding all day long... they grow very quickly; and in a few days time they find their jackets are much too tight for them. Then a most curious thing happens. Their skins split right down the back, and they wriggle and twist about... till at last they manage to creep out of them altogether and appear in new ones, which had been gradually forming underneath the old!
Wouldn't it be nice if we could get new suits of clothes, or new frocks, as easily as this?

- Theodore Wood, Butterflies and Moths Shown to Children -

 

Don't know why you feel compelled to do a thing a certain way? Bet you saw someone doing it just that way when you were two.

- Janet -