32 Inspirational Gardening Quotes

These will make you laugh and smile—and want to get your hands dirty again.

bipoc man's hands place starter plant in terracotta clay pot

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I'm not much of a gardener, but I definitely want to learn more. Last year was the first time in many years that I really went for it in a couple small plots. I was pleased as punch that some of what I planted actually grew! Of course, there were some failures, too, but overall my experience made me excited to try gardening again this year.

It is a lot of work, though, which is why I found the following quotes to be inspiring, funny, and thought-provoking—just what I needed for more motivation. I share them with you in hopes that you too will be inspired to get your hands dirty in the soil and make beautiful things grow.

These quotes will also reveal just how many great artists, writers, thinkers, and leaders have relied on gardens throughout history for calmness, inspiration, clarity of thought, and a sense of grounding and belonging. The following selection of quotes articulates how different people feel about plants and gardening, and you will likely find a quote (or two) that reflects your own feelings perfectly.

Gardens have always helped humans to feel and do better in the world—there's something deeply primal about cultivating the soil—and your garden can do the same for you.

Gardening Quotes by Authors and Poets

H. Jackson Brown, Jr.: Remember that children, marriages, and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get.

Voltaire: We must cultivate our own garden. When man was put in the garden of Eden he was put there so that he should work, which proves that man was not born to rest.

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.

Rudyard Kipling: Gardens are not made by singing "Oh, how beautiful," and sitting in the shade.

May Sarton: Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace.

Zora Neale Hurston: Trees and plants always look like the people they live with, somehow.

Michael Pollan: The garden suggests there might be a place where we can meet nature halfway.

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

Alice Sebold: I like gardening—it's a place where I find myself when I need to lose myself.

Minnie Aumonier: When the world wearies and society fails to satisfy, there is always the garden.

Edna Ferber: But always, to her, red and green cabbages were to be jade and burgundy, chrysoprase and porphyry. Life has no weapons against a woman like that.

Michael Pollan: The single greatest lesson the garden teaches is that our relationship to the planet need not be zero-sum, and that as long as the sun still shines and people still can plan and plant, think and do, we can, if we bother to try, find ways to provide for ourselves without diminishing the world.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox: A weed is but an unloved flower.

George Eliot: It will never rain roses: when we want to have more roses we must plant more trees.

Gardening Quotes by Horticulturists and Botanists

Liberty Hyde Bailey: A garden requires patient labor and attention. Plants do not grow merely to satisfy ambitions or to fulfill good intentions. They thrive because someone expended effort on them.

Gertrude Jekyll: A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust.

Carl Linnaeus: If a tree dies, plant another in its place.

Allan Armitage: Gardening simply does not allow one to be mentally old, because too many hopes and dreams are yet to be realized.

Liberty Hyde Bailey: A person cannot love a plant after he has pruned it, then he has either done a poor job or is devoid of emotion.

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

Quotes by Pro Gardeners and Environmentalists

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. It was near kitchens, near tables, near bedsides. It was in the pantry, the cellar, the backyard.

Wendell Berry: 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. He is producing something to eat, which makes him somewhat independent of the grocery business, but he is also enlarging, for himself, the meaning of food and the pleasure of eating.

Ruth Stout: I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden.

Russell Page: If you wish to make anything grow, you must understand it, and understand it in a very real sense. "Green fingers" are a fact, and a mystery only to the unpracticed. But green fingers are the extensions of a verdant heart.

Luther Burbank: Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food, and medicine for the soul.

Gardening Quotes by Historical Figures

Marcus Tullius Cicero: If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.

Francis Bacon: God Almighty first planted a garden. And indeed, it is the purest of human pleasures.

Claude Monet: My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece.

Abraham Lincoln: The greatest fine art of the future will be the making of a comfortable living from a small piece of land.

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

Mahatma Gandhi: To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves.

More Quotes About Gardening

David Hobson: I grow plants for many reasons: to please my eye or to please my soul, to challenge the elements or to challenge my patience, for novelty or for nostalgia, but mostly for the joy in seeing them grow.

B.C. Forbes: It is only the farmer who faithfully plants seeds in the Spring, who reaps a harvest in the Autumn.

William Kent: Garden as though you will live forever.

Janet Kilburn Phillips: There are no gardening mistakes, only experiments.

Chinese proverb: All gardeners know better than other gardeners.

Greek proverb: A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.