A WALK IN ENGLAND'S GARDEN♥ ♠
and quotes on gardening ©winnie caw 2003
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Where the bluebells and the wind are,

Fairies in a ring I spied,

And I heard a little linnet

Singing near beside.

 

Where the primrose and the dew are,

Soon were sped the fairies all:

Only now the green turf freshens,

And the linnets call.

 

Walter de la Mare

***

Tree Requiem

Buttercups

Like showers of gold dust on the marsh,
Or an inverted sky,
The buttercups are dancing now
Where silver brooks run by.
Bright, bright,
As fallen flakes of light,
They nod
In time to every breeze
That chases shadows swiftly lost
Amid those grassy seas.
See, what a golden frenzy flies
Through the light-hearted flowers!
In mimic fear they flutter now;
Each fairy blossom cowers.
Then up, then up,
Each shakes its yellow cup
And nods
In careless grace once more -
A very flood of sunshine seems
Across the marsh to pour.

L M Montgomery

***

Among the Welsh peasantry, great virtues are attributed to the Speedwell. The plant has diaphoretic, alterative, diuretic, expectorant and tonic properties, and was formerly employed in pectoral and nephritic complaints, haemorrhages, diseases of the skin and in the treatment of wounds. Modern herbalists still consider that an infusion of the dried plant is useful in coughs, catarrh, etc., and is a simple and effective remedy in skin diseases.

*****

Spring

NOTHING is so beautiful as spring --
  When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;
  Thrush's eggs look little low heavens, and thrush
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring
The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;
  The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush
  The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush
With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.

What is all this juice and all this joy?
  A strain of the earth's sweet being in the beginning
In Eden garden. -- Have, get, before it cloy,
  Before it cloud, Christ, lord, and sour with sinning,
Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy,
  Most, O maid's child, thy choice and worthy the winning.

Gerard Manley Hopkins

***

A monk asked Chao-chou, "Has the oak tree Buddha nature?"

Chao-chou said, "Yes, it has."

The monk said, "When does the oak tree attain Buddhahood?"

Chao-chou said, "Wait until the great universe collapses."

The monk said, "When does the universe collapse?"

Chao-chou said, "Wait until the oak tree attains Buddhahood."

- 'The Gateless Barrier, The Wu-Men Kuan (Mumonkan)'

Translated by Robert Aitken

***

***

Babylon

THE CHILD alone a poet is:
Spring and Fairyland are his.
Truth and Reason show but dim,
And all’s poetry with him.
Rhyme and music flow in plenty         5
For the lad of one-and-twenty,
But Spring for him is no more now
Than daisies to a munching cow;
Just a cheery pleasant season,
Daisy buds to live at ease on.         10
He’s forgotten how he smiled
And shrieked at snowdrops when a child,
Or wept one evening secretly
For April’s glorious misery.
Wisdom made him old and wary         15
Banishing the Lords of Faery.
Wisdom made a breach and battered
Babylon to bits: she scattered
To the hedges and ditches
All our nursery gnomes and witches.         20
Lob and Puck, poor frantic elves,
Drag their treasures from the shelves.
Jack the Giant-killer’s gone,
Mother Goose and Oberon,
Bluebeard and King Solomon.         25
Robin, and Red Riding Hood
Take together to the wood,
And Sir Galahad lies hid
In a cave with Captain Kidd.
None of all the magic hosts,         30
None remain but a few ghosts
Of timorous heart, to linger on
Weeping for lost Babylon.
 

Robert Graves (1895 - 1985) - from 'Fairies and Fusiliers' 1918

***

WMC

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.  

~ Lou Erickson

*******

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

~ Charles Dudley Warner, My Summer in a Garden, 1871

*******

I used to visit and revisit it a dozen times a day, and stand in deep contemplation over my vegetable progeny with a love that nobody could share or conceive of who had never taken part in the process of creation.  It was one of the most bewitching sights in the world to observe a hill of beans thrusting aside the soil, or rows of early peas just peeping forth sufficiently to trace a line of delicate green.  

~ Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mosses from and Old Manse

*******

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

*******

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

~ Unknown

*******

The best place to seek God is in a garden.  You can dig for him there.  

~ George Bernard Shaw, The Adventures of the Black Girl in Her Search for God, 1932

*******

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

~ Hanna Rion

*******

In my garden there is a large place for sentiment.  My garden of flowers is also my garden of thoughts and dreams.  The thoughts grow as freely as the flowers, and the dreams are as beautiful.  

~ Abram L. Urban

*******

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

~ James Douglas, Down Shoe Lane

*******

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

~ Marcelene Cox

*******

God made rainy days so gardeners could get the housework done.  

~ Unknown

*******

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

~ William Mason, The English Garden, 1782

*******

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

~ Robert Louis Stevenson

*******

I know that if odour were visible, as colour is,
I'd see the summer garden in rainbow clouds.

~ Robert Bridges, "Testament of Beauty"

*******
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"

*******

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

~  Unknown

*******
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

*******

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

~ Hugh Johnson

*******

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

~ Evelyn Underhill, Letters

*******

I think that if ever a mortal heard the voice of God it would be in a garden at the cool of the day.  

~ F. Frankfort Moore, A Garden of Peace

*******

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

~ Thomas Fuller, Gnomologia, 1732

*******

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

~ Frank McKinney Hubbard

*******

Give me odorous at sunrise a garden of beautiful flowers where I can walk undisturbed.  

~ Walt Whitman

*******

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

~ Robert Harbison, Eccentric Spaces, 1977

*******

Gardens... should be like lovely, well-shaped girls:  all curves, secret corners, unexpected deviations, seductive surprises and then still more curves.  

~ H.E. Bates, A Love of Flowers

*******

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

~ Abraham Cowley, The Garden, 1666

*******

One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it provides.  

~ W.E. Johns, The Passing Show

*******

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

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

*******

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

~ John Erskine

*******

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

~ Charles Lamb, 1830

*******

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

~ Karel Čapek, The Gardener's Year, translated by M. and R. Weatherall, 1931

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

~ Sara Stein, My Weeds, 1988

*******

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

~ Eleanor Perényi, Green Thoughts, 1981

*******

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.

~ Dorothy Frances Gurney, "Garden Thoughts"

*******

Gardening is civil and social, but it wants the vigor and freedom of the forest and the outlaw.  

~ Henry David Thoreau

*******

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

~ Lewis Gannit

*******

When you have done your best for a flower, and it fails, you have some reason to be aggrieved.  

~ Frank Swinnerton

*******

Gardening gives one back a sense of proportion about everything - except itself.  

~ May Sarton, Plant Dreaming Deep, 1968

*******

There is no gardening without humility.  Nature is constantly sending even its oldest scholars to the bottom of the class for some egregious blunder.  

~ Alfred Austin

******* 

The best fertilizer is the gardener's shadow.  

~  Unknown

*******

By the time one is eighty, it is said, there is no longer a tug of war in the garden with the May flowers hauling like mad against the claims of the other months.  All is at last in balance and all is serene.  The gardener is usually dead, of course.  

~ Henry Mitchell, The Essential Earthman, 1981

*******

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Kent - The Garden of England

winniecaw@hotmail.com Top