120+ Best Gardening Quotes

Posted on: January 10, 2020 | Written By: Everybody Gardens | Comments

March 2 update: Adds E.A. Bowles, Reginald Farrer, Gertrude Jekyll, William Robinson and Vita Sackville-West.

Gardening is one of the joys of life, and it’s sometimes difficult to describe what one gets from it. However, some gifted writers and gardeners have been able to express their thoughts eloquently, and sometimes humorously. Check out our ever-expanding list of best gardening quotes and thoughts (organized alphabetically).

If you have any suggestions for additions, email askdoug@535mediallc.com

H. Fred Ale

• “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.”

Darina Allen

• “You are also far less likely to waste food when you have nurtured it from a seed into a plant.”

Alfred Austin

• “The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.”

• “We come from the earth, we return to the earth, and in between we garden.”

Liberty Hyde Bailey

• “It is a pleasure to till the soil and to smell the fresh crumbly earth, but the earth does not grow; it is still a clod. The plant responds to every affectionate touch.”

• “A garden is half-made when it is well planned. The best gardener is the one who does the most gardening by the winter fire.”

Jerry Baker

• “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.”

Luis Barragan

• “A garden must combine the poetic and the mysterious with a feeling of serenity and joy.”

Mel Bartholomew

• “How large the garden should be is often hastily decided when the gardener is in the flush of spring fever. That’s a bad time! It’s like going grocery shopping when you’re hungry.”

JoAnne R. Barwick

• “There’s little risk in becoming overly proud of one’s garden because gardening by its very nature is humbling. It has a way of keeping you on your knees.”

Henry Ward Beecher

• “Flowers have an expression of countenance as much as men and animals. Some seem to smile; some have a sad expression, some are pensive and diffident; others again are plain, honest and upright, like the broad-faced sunflower and the hollyhock.”

• “Flowers are the sweetest things that God ever made, and forgot to put a soul into.”

• “October is Nature’s funeral month. Nature glories in death more than in life. … Every green thing loves to die in bright colors.”

George Bernanos

• “Little things seem nothing, but they give peace, like those meadow flowers which individually seem odorless but all together perfume the air.”

Mary Berry

• “Without doubt, without hesitation, I choose gardening over the gym. I can’t stand going to the gym. Give me gardening every time.”

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.”

• “Odd as I am sure it will appear to some, 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.”

• “People who know the garden in which their vegetables have grown and know that the garden is healthy will remember the beauty of the growing plants, perhaps in the dewy first light of morning when gardens are at their best. Such a memory involves itself with the food and is one of the pleasures of eating.”

Anthony Bourdain

• “Garlic is divine. Few food items can taste so many distinct ways, handled correctly. Misuse of garlic is a crime. … Please, treat your garlic with respect.”

E.A. Bowles

• “If a fairy godmother or a talking fish offered me three wishes I think one would be to have the clock stopped for six months on a fine morning towards the end of May. Then, perhaps, I might have time to enjoy the supreme moment of the garden. And I am not at all sure the second wish would not be used to extend the period.”

• “If only the owner of a garden will plant enough plants of the most different types and habits procurable, there ought to be never a day in which he cannot find some pleasure in maturing growth or decay, structure of bud, leaf, blossom, fruit or stem, no minute of the daylight hours of the working days in which there is no interesting and health-giving work to be done.”

• “An autumn of brilliant tints, and a peaceful fall of leaves following the earlier frosts, should be looked upon as good and true signs of ripened wood and promise for the future, and if only it were not so fleeting, here today and gone in the night, the glory of autumnal tints would be as joyous as that afforded by any of the seasons. But only too frequently when it is approaching its best and fullest pageantry a squall of heavy rain, lasting perhaps less than half an hour, a frost of anything over six degrees (Fahrenheit), or a sudden change of wind may turn a scarlet pyramid of fire into bare black bones.”

• “I give (friends) crocuses and I leave the fever to develop. It is not a dangerous disease, although if you get it badly it lasts throughout the year. It is not a germ I can carry about to infect you with; it is simply the charm of the crocus itself. So be warned, and if you do not want to have crocus fever, do not look at crocuses.”

Robert Brault

• “In every gardener, there is a child who believes in the seed fairy.”

H. Jackson Brown Jr.

• “Remember that children, marriage and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get.”

Karel Capek

• “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.”

Marcus Tullius Cicero

• “If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”

• “I look upon the pleasure we take in a garden as one of the most innocent delights in life.”

Jessica Coupe

• “As I leave the garden, I take with me a renewed view, and a quiet soul.”

Jeff Cox

• “The garden is a love song, a duet between a human being and Mother Nature.”

Marcelene Cox

• “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 lettuce and green beans.”

Edwin Curran

• “Flowers are the music of the ground from earth’s lips spoken without sound.”

Bertha Damon

• “The process of weeding can be as beneficial to the gardener as the garden. It gives scope to the aggressive instinct — what satisfaction to pull up an enemy by the roots and throw him into a heap! And yet, paradoxically, weeding is the most peaceful of any outdoor task.”

James Dent

• “A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken.”

Matshona Dhliwayo

• “If you stop tending to flowers when they lose a few petals, you will never grow a garden.”

• “Only when your love of roses is greater than your fear of thorns can you grow a beautiful garden.”

Helen Dillon

• “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.”


• “A flower falls, even though we love it; and a weed grows, even though we do not love it.”

James Douglas

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

Lou Erickson

• “Gardening requires lots of water — most of it in the form of perspiration.”

Ray D. Everson

• “The philosopher who said that work well done never needs doing over never weeded a garden.”

Reginald Farrer

• “I am the fonder of my garden for all the trouble it gives me, and the grudging reward that my unending labours exact.”

• “I think the true gardener is a lover of his flowers, not a critic of them. I think the true gardener is the reverent servant of Nature, not her truculent, wife-beating master. I think the true gardener, the older he grows, should more and more develop a humble, graceful and uncertain spirit.”

• “I must own that I would do almost anything, and grow almost anything, for the sake of a fragrance. What use, what raison d’être has any flower without a scent … People may swoon all around me from jasmine or gardenia: at each whiff I grow stronger, and my thoughts clearer, and my hopes higher, and my whole being strung to keener and keener intensities of effort and aspiration. What folly it is to ignore the curative, the stimulant power of scent!”

• Advice to those about to build a water garden — DON’T. Not that the water garden is not a joy and a glory; but that it is cruelly hard to keep in order and control unless you are master of millions and of broad ample acres of pool and pond. Water, like fire, is a good servant, perhaps, but is painfully liable to develop into a master. … How many little ponds are unguardedly built, only to become mere basins of slime and duckweed?”

• “If, amid the cataclysms of anguish that clamor round us everywhere nowadays, you declare that all this babble about beauty and flowers is a vain impertinence, then I must tell you that you err, and that your perspectives are false. Mortal dooms and dynasties are brief things, but beauty is indestructible and eternal, if its tabernacle be only in a petal that is shed tomorrow.”

Margery Fish

• “You mustn’t rely on your flowers to make your garden attractive. A good bone structure must come first, with an intelligent use of evergreen plants so that the garden is always clothed, no matter what time of year. Flowers are an added delight, but a good garden is the garden you enjoy looking at even in the depths of winter.”

• “Firmness in all aspects is a most important quality when gardening, not only in planting but in pruning, dividing and tidying up. Plants are like babies, they know when an amateur is handling them.”

Helen Morgenthau Fox

• “Herb gardening has been compared to chamber music. Both are best appreciated in small places, for they have an intimate quality lost in a large hall or in a big garden. Gardening with herbs … is indulged in by those who like subtlety in their plants in preference to brilliance.”

Masanobu Fukuoka

• “No matter how the harvest will turn out, whether or not there will be enough food to eat, in simply sowing seed and caring tenderly for plants under nature’s guidance there is joy.”

Mahatma Gandhi

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

Doug Green

• “I am more myself in a garden than anywhere else on Earth.”

Lewis Grizzard

• “It’s difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato.”

Dorothy Frances Gurney

• “The kiss of the sun for pardon,
The song of the birds for mirth
One is nearer God’s Heart in a garden
Than anywhere else on Earth.”

Joan Dye Gussow

• “Meal planning is simply more exciting and less bewildering when you wait for fruits and vegetables to come into season, eat them steadily when they arrive, and say a reluctant goodbye for another year when their season has passed.”

Helen Hayes

• “All through the winter, I dream of my garden. On the first day of spring, I dig my fingers deep into the soft earth. I can feel its energy, and my spirits soar.”

Susan Hill & Rory Stuart

• “There is a continuity about the garden and an order of succession in the garden year which is deeply pleasing, and in one sense there are no breaks or divisions — seed time flows on to flowering time and harvest time; no sooner is one thing dying than another is coming to life.”

Tom Hodgkinson

• “I could happily lean on a gate all the livelong day, chatting to passers-by about the wind and the rain. I do a lot of gate-leaning while I am supposed to be gardening; instead of hoeing, I lean on the gate, stare at the vegetable beds and ponder.”

Barbara Holland

• “One’s own flowers and some of one’s own vegetables make acceptable, free, self-congratulatory gifts when visiting friends, though giving zucchini — or leaving it on the doorstep, ringing the bell, and running — is a social faux pas.”

Mehmet Murat ildan

• “Going out to the garden is to go on a holiday; when you travel amongst the flowers, your body touches heaven and your mind tastes the secrets of ataraxia!”

Gertrude Jekyll

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

• “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.”

• “I do not envy owners of very large gardens. The garden should fit its master or his tastes just as his clothes do; it should be neither too large nor too small, but just comfortable. If the garden is larger than he can individually garden and plan and look after, then he is no longer its master, but its slave.”

• “Now if you will take any flower you please and look at it carefully all over and turn it about, and smell it and feel it and try and find out all its little secrets; not of flowers only but of leaf, bud and stem as well, you will discover many wonderful things. This is how to make friends with plants, and very good friends you will find them to the end of your lives.”

Douglas William Jerrold

• “If you tickle the earth with a hoe, she laughs with a harvest.”

Jan Johnsen

• “A backyard designed to be a ‘little piece of heaven’ can remake ordinary time and space into something memorable.”

Myron S. Kaufman

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

Penelope Keith

• “I plant a lot of trees. I am a great believer in planting things for future generations. I loathe the now culture where you just live for today.”

William Kent

• “Garden as though you will live forever.”

Barbara Kingsolver

• “Eating locally in winter is easy. But the time to think about that would be August.”

• “I have seen women look at jewelry ads with a misty eye and one hand resting on the heart, and I only know what they’re feeling because that’s how I read the seed catalogs in January.”

Rudyard Kipling

• “Gardens are not made by singing, ‘Oh, how beautiful,’ and sitting in the shade.”

Allen Lacy

• “Crabgrass is aptly descriptive of this hated weed, for it does scuttle quickly through a lawn.”

• “I suppose that for most people one of the darker joys of gardening is that once you’ve got started it’s not at all hard to find someone who knows a little bit less than you.”

• “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.”

• “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.”

Doug Larson

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

William Lawson

• A garden “makes all our senses swim in pleasure, and that with infinite variety.”

Aldo Leopold

• “There can be no doubt that a society rooted in the soil is more stable than one rooted in pavements.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

• “In all places, then, and in all seasons,
Flowers expand their light and soul-like wings,
Teaching us, by most persuasive reasons,
How akin they are to human things.”

William Longgood

• “Morning is the best of all times in the garden. The sun is not yet hot. Sweet vapors rise from the earth. Night dew clings to the soil and makes plants glisten.”

Francis Cabot Lowell

• “One lifetime is never enough to accomplish one’s horticultural goals. If a garden is a site for the imagination, how can we be very far from the beginning?”

Janet Macunovich

• “You can put a gardener behind the wheel, but you can’t keep her eyes off the landscape.”

• “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.”

Deborah Madison

• “The garden is a lot like a puppy: it needs care and attention every day. And like a puppy, it pays you back with endless rewards, the kiss of bloom on fruit, the sweet fullness of a fresh pea.”

Phyllis McGinley

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

Claude Monet

• “My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece.”

Michel de Montaigne

• “Let death take me planting my cabbages, indifferent to him, and still less of my garden not being finished.”

Elizabeth Murray

• “Gardening is the art that uses flowers and plants as paint, and the soil and sky as canvas.”

Pablo Neruda

• “You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming.”

Josephine Neuse

• “Ideas are always disturbing, especially new ideas. Most normal, charming, intelligent adults have learned to leave their minds alone and so are immune to new ideas. But not gardeners. These unfortunates are susceptible to every new idea carried by the wings of chance.”

Brian O’Driscoll

• “Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.”

Mirabel Osler

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

Ruth Page

• “Start eating kale because it’s good for you, and you may end up eating it because it is good.”

Eleanor Perenyi

• “Sooner or later every gardener must face the fact that certain things are going to die on him. It is a temptation to be anthromorphic about plants, to suspect that they do it to annoy.”

• “After compost itself, mulches in general are the subject most actively boring to the organic gardener’s friends.”

• “Every harmful insect has a mortal enemy. Cultivate that enemy and he will do your work for you.”

Janet Kilburn Phillips

• “There are no gardening mistakes, only experiments.”

Barbara Pleasant

• “In terms of things you can do to have a better life, picking berries simply works.”

Alexander Pope

• “My garden, like my life, seems to me every year to want correction and require alternation.”

Marcel Proust

• “Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”

Anne Raver

• “A garden is like the self. It has so many layers and winding paths, real or imagined, that it can never be known, completely, even by the most intimate of friends.”

Janisse Ray

• “Something happens to me when I garden. I am fully, reliably, blissfully present to who I am and where I am in that moment.”

William Robinson

• “The gardener should follow the true artist, however modestly, in his love for things as they are, in delight in natural form and beauty of flower and tree, if we are to be free from barren geometry, and if our gardens are ever to be pictures.”

Robert Rodale

• “In almost every garden, the land is made better and so is the gardener.”

Will Rogers

• “An onion can make people cry, but there’s never been a vegetable that can make people laugh.”

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

• “Plant and your spouse plants with you; weed and you weed alone.”

Vita Sackville-West

• “There is always something else to do. A gardener should have nine times as many lives as a cat.”

• “If only one were as good a gardener in practice as one is in theory, what a garden one would create!”

• “The most noteworth thing about gardeners is that they are always optimistic, always enterprising, and never satisfied. They always look forward to doing something better than they have ever done before.”

• “A good start in life is as important to plants as it is to children: they must develop strong roots in a congenial soil, otherwise they will never make the growth that will serve them richly according to their needs in their adult life.”

• “The more one gardens, the more one learns; And the more one learns, the more one realizes how little one knows.”

• “For the last 40 years of my life I have broken my back, my fingernails, and sometimes my heart, in the practical pursuit of my favorite occupation.”

• “The charm of annuals is their light gaiety, as though they must make the most of their brief visit to be frivolous and pleasure-giving … They must always be youthful, because they have no time to grow old.”

• “In spring and summer one tends to forget the autumn days, but, when they arrive, with their melancholy and the spiders’ webs so delicately and geometrically looped from the hedges, how grateful we are for the torch of a little tree or the low smoulder of leaves on azaleas and peonies.”

• “Catalogues are arriving by every post, and are as bewildering in their diversity as in their monotony. … How tempting the lists are! And how easy they make gardening sound! If you believed half they say you would look forward next year to a garden something between Kew and the tropical garden of some legendary millionaire in Guatemala.”

Joel Salatin

• “The first supermarket supposedly appeared on the American landscape in 1946. That is not very long ago. Until then, where was all the food? Dear folks, the food was in homes, gardens, local fields and forests.”

May Sarton

• “Gardening is a madness, a folly that does not go away with age. Quite the contrary.”

Alice Sebold

• “I like gardening — it’s a place where I find myself when I need to lose myself.”

Carl Sandburg

• “Life is like an onion. You peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you cry.”

Marina Schinz

• “To create a garden is to search for a better world. In our effort to improve on nature, we are guided by a vision of paradise. Whether the result is a horticultural masterpiece or only a modest vegetable garden patch, it is based on the expectation of a glorious future. This hope for the future is at the heart of all gardening.”

Edward C. Smith

• “Folk wisdom has it that a poor gardener grows weeds, a good gardener grows vegetables, and a very good gardener grows soil.”

Sara Stein

• “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.”

Robert Louis Stevenson

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

Edwin Way Teale

• “For man, autumn is a time of harvest, of gathering together. For nature, it is a time of sowing, of scattering abroad.”

Alfred Tennyson

• “Flower in the crannied wall,
I pluck you out of the crannies,
I hold you here, root and all, in my hand,
Little flower — but if I could understand
What you are, root and all, and all in all,
I should know what God and man is.”

Celia Thaxter

• “As I work among my flowers, I find myself talking to them, reasoning and remonstrating with them, and adoring them as if they were human beings. Much laughter I provoke among my friends by doing so, but that is of no consequence. We are on such good terms, my flowers and I.”

Phyllis Theroux

• “I think this is what hooks one to gardening: it is the closes one can come to being present at creation.”

D. Elton Trueblood

• “A man has made at least a start on discovering the meaning of human life when he plants shade trees under which he knows full well he will never sit.”

Jenny Uglow

• “We may think we are nurturing our garden, but of course it’s our garden that is really nurturing us.”


• “I live in the garden. I just sleep in the house.”

Rosemary Verey

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

• “How I would love to be transported into a scented Elizabethan garden with herbs and honeysuckles, a knot garden and roses clambering over a simple arbor.”

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

• “Although I arrive here more than 50 years ago, I constantly try to see the garden with new eyes. This is the wonderful thing about gardening; trees are ever growing taller, shrubs developing, ground cover taking over. Then scene changes and every year has its own character, influenced by frost, rainfall, and sunshine — elements over which we have no control; but we can aim to pan so that each season has its own moments of interest, with winter scent, spring blossoms and bulbs, summer exuberance and autumn color.”

Edna Walling

• “I never cease to be thrilled when entering my own gateway … and always feel that entrance gardens should give the first sensation of rest to those returning home.”

Alice Waters

• “I always think of my herb garden as a living extension of my pantry.”

Andrew Weil

• “Gardening is not trivial. If you believe that it is, closely examine why you feel that way. … The fact is, gardening is just the opposite — it is, or should be, a central, basic expression of human life.”

Ernest Wilson

• “There are no happier folks than plant lovers and none more generous than those who garden.”

Wayne Winterrowd

• “A garden that is not worth a little trouble is not worth anything.”

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