Guest Author - Sue Walsh
January is the quietest month in the garden. ... But just because it looks quiet doesn't mean that nothing is happening. The soil, open to the sky, absorbs the pure rainfall while microorganisms convert tilled-under fodder into usable nutrients for the next crop of plants. The feasting earthworms tunnel along, aerating the soil and preparing it to welcome the seeds and bare roots to come.
-Rosalie Muller Wright
She sat down in a weed patch, her elbows on her knees, and kept her eyes
on the small mysterious world of the ground. In the shade and sun of grass
blade forests, small living things had their metropolis.
If a healthy soil is full of death, it is also full of life: worms, fungi, microorganisms of all kinds ... Given only the health of the soil, nothing that dies is dead for very long.
The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance,
the wise grows it under his feet.
The field is a halfway house, halfway between the detail of those
intimately known places and the ignorance of a landscape view...
The essence of a field is that the cultural accommodates the
natural there. The human being makes room for and makes use
of those organisms that are not him. In that way the field is a poem
to symbiosis, and a human contract with the natural.
I look back with gladness to the day when I found the path to
the land of heart's desire, and thank Fate ceaselessly with a
loud voice that she did not permit town to sap all the years
away while the heart was turning to wind-voices and
flower-faces and the hands of kindly earth.
-Mrs. George Cran
A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of
our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.
-Franklin D. Roosevelt
I refuse to have an emotional attachment to a piece of ground.
At one end of the scale it's called patriotism, at the other end
of the scale it's called gardening.
To pick a flower is so much more satisfying than just observing it,
or photographing it ... So in later years, I have grown in my
garden as many flowers as possible for children to pick.
I will be the gladdest thing under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers
And not pick one.
-Edna St. Vincent Millay
Science, or para-science, tells us that geraniums bloom better if they are spoken to. But a kind word every now and then is really quite enough. Too much attention, like too much feeding, and weeding and hoeing, inhibits and embarrasses them.
Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity.
Plants cry their gratitude for the sun in green joy.
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
Half the interest of a garden is the constant exercise of the imagination.
-Mrs. C.W. Earle, Potpourri from a Surrey Garden, 1897
Despite the gardener's best intentions, Nature will improvise.
-Michael P. Garafalo
Green fingers are the extension of a verdant heart.
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.
Plants give us oxygen for the lungs and for the soul.
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.