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Perennial Q & A
There are no happier folks than plant lovers and none more generous than those who garden.
--Ernest "Chinese" Wilson
Gardening is a process, not a product.
Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve. --
Non-gardener: "Did I just hear thunder?" Gardener: "I hear nitrogen!"
You can put a gardener behind the wheel, but you can't keep her eyes off the landscape.
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. --
Watching something grow is good for morale. It helps us believe in life. --
Myron S. Kaufman
Be pleased with your real garden, don't persue the perfection of a picture. What you see in a photo lasted only as long as the shutter snap. --
Learn to be an observer in all seasons. Every single day, your garden has something new and wonderful to show you.
Groundhogs shiver, stay indoors. Snow is reaching second floors! Not a good time to be a snow maker; there's two more feet on every acre! Call it Heap Year!
--2008 Old Farmer's Almanac
Winds undulate while snow flakes accumulate! So cold it's hard to believe we'll be relieved but Spring has sunshine up her sleeve. And tho we're wary, we know snow is temporary!
--2008 Old Farmer's Almanac
Winter, a lingering season, is a time to gather golden moments, embark upon a sentimental journey, and enjoy every idle hour.
If there were no tribulation, there would be no rest; if there were no winter, there would be no summer.
--St. John Chrysostom
I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden.
April hath put a spirit of youth in everything.
In the scenery of spring, nothing is better, nothing worse; the flowering branches are of themselves, some short, some long.
What is one to say about June, the time of perfect young summer, the fulfillment of the promise of the earlier months, and with as yet no sign to remind one that its fresh young beauty will ever fade.
A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken.
Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.
For man, autumn is a time of harvest, of gathering together. For nature, it is a time of sowing, of scattering abroad.
--Edwin Way Teale
October's poplars are flaming torches lighting the way to winter.
There is a harmony • In autumn and a lustre in its sky • Which through the summer is not heard or seen • As if it could be, as if it had never been!
--Percy Bysshe Shelley
All through the long 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.
Gardener's Recipe: One part soil, two parts water, and three parts wishful thinking
Nature will bear the closest inspection. She invites us to lay our eye level with her smallest leaf, and take an insect view of its plain.
--Henry David Thoreau
Nature has no mercy at all. Nature says, "I'm going to snow. If you have on a bikini and no snowshoes, that's tough. I am going to snow anyway."
The richness I achieve comes from nature, the source of my inspiration.
I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.
When we heal the earth, we heal ourselves.
Look deep into nature, and you will understand everything better.
A clear breeze has no price, the bright moon no owner.
Everything in nature contains all the power of nature. Everything is made of one hidden self.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson
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.
In almost every garden, the land is made better and so is the gardener.
God Almighty first planted a Garden. And indeed it is the purest of human pleasures. It is the greatest refreshment to the spirits of man, without which buildings and palaces are but gross handiworks. And a man shall ever see, that when ages grow to civility and elegancy, men come to build stately sooner than to garden finely, as if gardening were the greater perfection.
--Sir Francis Bacon
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 patch, it is based on the expectation of a glorious future. This hope for the future is at the heart of all gardening.
Hosta could probably live on the driveway, unless you pay more than 50 bucks for them...then they will die on the way home!"
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.
--Susan Hill and Rory Stuart
Anyone who thinks that gardening begins in the spring and ends in the fall is missing the best part of the whole year. For gardening begins in January with the dream.
Summer, fall, winter, spring • The seasons rotate as each brings its special beauty to this earth of ours. • Winter's snows and summer's flowers • Frozen rivers will flow come spring • There is a renewal of everything.
Happiness held is the seed • Happiness shared is the flower.
The goal of life is living in agreement with nature.
Life begins the day you start a Garden.
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 Ale
Gardening requires lots of water - most of it in the form of perspiration.
God made rainy days so gardeners could get the housework done.
You can bury a lot of troubles digging in the dirt.
No two gardens are the same. No two days are the same in one garden.
Those who labour in the earth are the chosen people of God.
An addiction to gardening is not all bad when you consider all the other choices in life.
There are many tired gardeners but I've seldom met old gardeners. I know many elderly gardeners but the majority are young at heart. Gardening simply does not allow one to be mentally old, because too many hopes and dreams are yet to be realized. The one absolute of gardeners is faith. Regardless of how bad past gardens have been, every gardener believes that next year's will be better. It is easy to age when there is nothing to believe in, nothing to hope for, gardeners, however, simply refuse to grow up.
You know you are a hard-core gardener if you deadhead flowers in other people's garden.
Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful: they are sunshine, food and medicine to the soul.
Every gardener knows that under the cloak of winter lies a miracle ... a seed waiting to sprout, a bulb opening to the light, a bud straining to unfurl. And the anticipation nurtures our dream.
Let us give nature a chance; she knows her business better than we do.
--Michael Eyquen de Montaigne
Perennials are the ones that grow like weeds, biennials are the ones that die this year instead of next, and hardy annuals are the ones that never come up at all.
--Katherine Whitehorn, Observations (1970)
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.
--Joanne R. Barwick, in Readers Digest (1993)
Anyone can have dirt. Gardener's have soil.
If you are a gardener, you can always put 'Plant Manager' on your resume.
We have not inherited the earth from our parents; we have borrowed it from our children.
--L. Brown, 1981
I owe perhaps becoming a painter to flowers.
The greatest service which can be rendered any country is to add a useful plant to its culture.
Just living is not enough. One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.
--Hans Christian Andersen
A flower cannot blossom without sunshine nor a garden without love.
Flowers are not made by singing "Oh, how beautiful," and sitting in the shade.
In joy or sadness, flowers are our constant friends.
I consider every plant hardy until I have killed it myself.
--Sir Peter Smithers
To garden, you open your personal space to admit a few, a great many, or thousands of plants which exude charm, pleasure, beauty, oxygen, conversation, friendship, confidence, and other rewards should you succeed in meeting their basic needs. This is why people garden. It can be easy but challenging, and the rewards are priceless.
My spirit was lifted and my soul nourished by my time in the garden. It gave me a calm connection with all of life, and an awareness that remains with me now, long after leaving the garden.
Gardening is a way of showing that you believe in tomorrow.
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.
When I go into my garden with a spade, and dig a bed, I feel such an exhilaration and health that I discover that I have been defrauding myself all this time in letting others do for me what I should have done with my own hands.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson
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.
Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.
--Thomas A. Edison
The more help a man has in his garden, the less it belongs to him.
--William M. Davies
The best fertilizer is the gardener's shadow.
I have never had so many good ideas day after day as when I work in the garden.
All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today.
I want real flowers, perennials which not only grow and change and die, but also rise again and astonish me. A garden shouldn't just bloom and look pretty; it should develop like the rest of life. Otherwise it, and we, live only to be spaded under.
--Emma L. Roth-Schwartz
When all the chores are done, the avid gardener will invent some new ones.
Gardening takes a plot of land, a hoe and willing muscles. Scratching the soil, harvesting garden fruits, are peaceful results. With a garden, there is hope.
The greatest gift of the garden is the restoration of the five senses.
Garden: One of a vast number of free outdoor restaurants operated by charity-minded amateurs in an effort to provide healthful, balanced meals for insects, birds and animals.
--Henry Beard and Roy McKie, Gardener's Dictionary
Show me your garden and I shall tell you what you are.
Gardening is an exercise in optimism. Sometimes, it is a triumph of hope over experience. Gardening is the art that uses flowers and plants as paint, and the soil and sky as canvas.
The most noteworthy 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.
Gardening is a labour full of tranquility and satisfaction; natural and instructive, and as such contributes to the most serious contemplation, experience, health and longevity.
--John Evelyn, 1666
Gardening is medicine that does not need a prescription ... And with no limit on dosage.
I don't think we'll ever know all there is to know about gardening, and I'm just as glad there will always be some magic about it!
A garden always gives back more than it receives.
The man who has planted a garden feels that he has done something for the good of the world.
--Charles Dudley Warner
Gardening is a humbling experience.
A garden is a delight to the eye and a solace for the soul.
Half the interest of a garden is the constant exercise of the imagination.
--Alice Morse Earle, 1897
Gardening is the purest of human pleasures.
The home gardener is part scientist, part artist, part philosopher, part ploughman. He modifies the climate around his home.
--John R. Whiting
It is always exciting to open the door and go out into the garden for the first time on any day.
All gardens are a form of autobiography.
Man - despite his artistic pretensions, his sophistication, and his many accomplishments - owes his existence to a six inch layer of topsoil and the fact that it rains.
A garden is the best alternative therapy.
I think this is what hooks one to gardening: it is the closest one can come to being present at creation.
Plants, like people, are social or anti-social: the good plant has to be able to live amicably with other plants in the border.
The secret of landscapes isn't creation...It's maintenance.
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.
Almost every person, from childhood, has been touched by the untamed beauty of wildflowers.
--Lady Bird Johnson
When we learn to call flowers by name, we take the first step toward a real intimacy with them.
--Mrs. William Starr Dana
If garden beginners knew in advance all the troubles in their way, they might never begin.
--Leonard H. Robbins
To create a little flower is the labor of ages.
When gardeners garden, it is not just plants that grow, but the gardeners themselves.
One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it provides.
--W. E. Johns
A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust.
Always try to grow in your garden some plant or plants out of the ordinary, something your neighbors never attempted. For you can receive no greater flattery than to have a gardener of equal intelligence stand before your plant and ask, "What is that?"
If you are not killing plants, you are not really stretching yourself as a gardener.
--J. C. Raulston
Plants are like people: they're all different and a little bit strange.
Your mind is a Garden, your thoughts are the seeds, the harvest can be either Flowers or Weeds.
There is nothing pleasanter than spading when the ground is soft and damp.
If it's rare, we want it. If it's tiny and impossible to grow, we've got to have it. If it's brown, looks dead, and has black flowers, we'll kill for it.
To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves.
For most of us who are intimidated by theories of garden design, the cottage garden provides immediate appeal, since it is a horticultural rather than an architectural solution to a limited area.
Most of us are too busy gardening to remember the pristine significance of the word "garden" which comes to us from the Persian, meaning Paradise.
One of the worst mistakes you can make as a gardener is to think you're in charge.
There is no such thing as an ugly garden-gardens, like babies, are all beautiful to their parents.
The more I hear of Horticulture, the more I like plain gardening.
--Julian R. Meade
Gardeners are generous people and perennials, which grow and multiply, help foster these instincts.
A man of words and not deeds, Is like a garden full of weeds.
An optimistic gardener is one who believes that whatever goes down must come up.
Of all the living objects in gardens, the most easily transplantable is the gardener.
One of the healthiest ways to gamble is with a spade and a package of garden seeds.
The lesson I have thoroughly learnt, and wish to pass on to others, is to know the enduring happiness that the love of a garden gives.
We come from the earth, We return to the earth, And in between we garden.
Compared to gardeners, I think it is generally agreed that others understand very little about anything of consequence.
There is a great pleasure in working in the soil, apart from the ownership of it. The man who has planted a garden feels that he has done something for the good of the world.
Though we travel the world over to find beauty, we must carry it with us or we find it not . . . The difference between landscape and landscape is small, but there is a great difference in beholders. There is nothing so wonderful in any landscape as the necessity of being beautiful under which every landscape lies.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson
Will is the root, knowledge is the stem and leaves, and feeling is the flower.
I think there are as many kinds of gardening as of poetry.
Flowers in a city are like lipstick on a woman- it just makes you look better to have a little color.
--Lady Bird Johnson
Unlike your favorite painting or sentimental vase, a landscape is alive and constantly changing.
What a desolate place would be a world without a flower! It would be a face without a smile, a feast without a welcome. Are not flowers the stars of the earth, and are not our stars the flowers of the heaven.
Laying out grounds may be considered a liberal art, in some sort like poetry and painting.
The unmulched garden looks to me like some naked thing which for one reason or another would be better off with a few clothes on.
--Ruth Stout, The Ruth Stout No-Work Garden Book, 1971
I love being asked to identify plants, and I don't know which gives me more pleasure: to know what they are or not to know what they are.
--Elizabeth Lawrence, Through the Garden Gates, 1990
The gardener who imagines that his work can be reduced to a set of rules and formulae, followed and applied according to special days marked on the calendar, is but preparing himself for a double disappointment. Few things are so certain to be uncertain as the seasons and the weather; and these, rather than a set of dates, even for a single locality, form the signs which the real gardener follows. That is the great trouble with much book and magazine gardening.
--Frederick Frye Rockwell, Around the Year in the Garden, 1917
Reading is good but the garden is the best teacher.
--Christine Allison, 1995
Apprentice yourself to nature. Not a day will pass without her opening a new and wondrous world of experience to learn from and enjoy.
--Richard W. Langer
Gardeners must dance with feedback, play with results, turn as they learn. Learning to think as a gardener is inseparable from the acts of gardening. Learning how to garden is learning how to slow down. Wise is the person whose heart and mind listen to what Nature says. Time will tell, but we often fail to listen.
--Michael P. Garofalo, Pulling Onions
If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.
You must not know too much or be too precise or scientific about birds and trees and flowers and watercraft; a certain free-margin, and even vagueness - ignorance, credulity - helps your enjoyment of these things.
--Henry David Thoreau
Gardening is something you learn by doing - and by making mistakes.... Like cooking, gardening is a constant process of experimentation, repeating the successes and throwing out the failures.
'Garden' came into the language in the 14th century from Old Northern French gardin, itself a variation of Old French jardin (still used in modern French), which probably has a German origin. 'Horticulture' is not recorded by the Oxford English Dictionary until 1678. This word for the art or science of cultivating gardens comes from the Latin hortus, meaning garden, and cultura, meaning growing or cultivation. The 17th century also saw the creation in American-English of the idea of a 'backyard', first recorded in Suffolk, Mass, in 1659. 'Yard', however, is one of the oldest words in the English language. It came in around 300 AD as geard 'building, home, region', from a Germanic word that is related to 'garden' and 'orchard'.
--Juliet New, A Word About Gardening
I am writing in the garden. To write as one should of a garden one must write not outside it or merely somewhere near it, but in the garden.
--Frances Hodgson Burnett
The more one gardens, the more one learns; And the more one learns, the more one realizes how little one knows.
Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.
--Frank Lloyd Wright
A modest garden contains, for those who know how to look and to wait, more instruction than a library.
--Henri Frederic Amiel
A gardener's best tool is the knowledge from previous seasons. And it can be recorded in a $2 notebook.
What this country needs is dirtier fingernails and cleaner minds.
The boughs of the oak are roaring inside the acorn.
--Charles Tomlinson, poet, born 1927
Old gardeners never die. They just spade away and then throw in the trowel.
--Herbert V. Prochnow
Gardening is the slowest of the performing arts.
Live each day as if it were your last, and garden as though you will live forever.
The garden must first be prepared in the soul, or else it will not flourish.
There is no "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 can notate his coda, but a garden is always on the move.
Little flower, but if I could understand what you are, root and all is all, I should know what God and man is.
The strongest oak of the forest is not one that is protected from the storm and hidden from the sun. It's one that stands in the open where it is compelled to struggle for its existence against the winds, the rain, and the scorching sun.
When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one and a lily with the other.
Any garden demands as much of its maker as he has to give. But I do not need to tell you, if you are a gardener, that no other undertaking will give as great a return for the amount of effort put into it.
Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell, fertilize.
Tickle the earth with a hoe, and it will laugh a harvest.
A garden is as static as a painting until a butterfly brings it to life.
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.
In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.
Listen. A gentle breeze is nothing without the sound of it blowing through the leaves.
The true definition of a perennial: Any plant which, had it lived, would have bloomed year after year.
We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.
Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.
Every child is born a naturalist. His eyes are, by nature, open to the glories of the stars, the beauty of the flowers, and the mystery of life.
Who would have thought it possible that a tiny flower could preoccupy a person so completely that there simply wasn't room for any other thought...
When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it's your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else. Most people in the city rush around so, they have no time to look at a flower. I want them to see it whether they want to or not.
Sweet April showers do spring May flowers.
What continues to astonish me about a garden is that you can walk past it in a hurry, see something wrong, stop to set it right, and emerge an hour or two later breathless, contented, and wondering what on earth happened.
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.
Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher.
One is nearer God's heart in a garden than anywhere else on earth.
To everything there is a season...
Where flowers bloom so does hope.
--Lady Bird Johnson
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.
--Henry David Thoreau
Should it not be remembered that in setting a garden we are painting a picture?
--Beatrix Jones Ferrand
I'm not aging, I just need repotting.
So plant your own garden and decorate your own soul instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.
--Aristotle (384-322 BCE)
The real voyage in discovery is not in new landscapes but in having new eyes.
There are reasons why trees don't grow to heaven. You can only get so big and then you top out.
Michigan's northern counties don't cope with winter...they celebrate it.
A mighty oak was once a little nut that stood its ground.
I've learned everything about gardening by trowel and error.
I want easy-care plants with extended interest. After all, even in cold-winter regions the growing season lasts for several months. Flowers are great, but I consider them an embellishment for plants with fantastic foliage, the accessories that set off that basic black dress.
, author of
Consider the Leaf:Foliage in Garden Design
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