Welcome to
The Garden of Life

When we read through literature, we often
see the metaphor of a garden used
to represent life or the lives we lead.  We
thought it would be interesting to see what
the authors and poets have to say in
this vein; "The Journey of Life" is our
other page that explores such a conceit.


People can learn to study their life force in the same way that a master gardener studies a rosebush.  No gardener ever made a rose.   When its needs are met a rosebush will make roses.  Gardeners collaborate and provide conditions which favor this outcome.  And as anyone who has ever pruned a rosebush knows, life flows through every rosebush in a slightly different way.

Rachel Naomi Remen

For all these years you've protected the seed.  It's time to become the flower.

Stephen C. Paul

Just as you would not neglect seeds that you planted with the hope that they will bear vegetables and fruits and flowers, so you must attend to and nourish the garden of your becoming.

Jean Houston


A well-kept garden filled with flowers
Has no room left for weeds to share;
The mind keeps out unworthy thoughts
When loveliness is dwelling there.

Leona Bold Martin

There is a little plant called reverence in the corner of my soul's garden, which I love to have watered once a week.

Oliver Wendell Holmes


Yes, in the poor person's garden grow
Far more than herbs or flowers--
Kind thoughts, contentment, peace of mind,
And joy for weary hours.

Mary Howitt


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Calvin Campbell

Ye who are kicking against Fate,
Tell me how it is that on this hill-side,
Running down to the river,
Which fronts the sun and the south-wind,
This plant draws from the air and soil
Poison and becomes poison ivy?
And this plant draws from the same air and soil
Sweet elixirs and colors and becomes arbutus?
And both flourish?
You may blame Spoon River for what it is,
But whom do you blame for the will in you
That feeds itself and makes you dock-weed,
Jimpson, dandelion or mullen
And which can never use any soil or air
So as to make you jessamine or wistaria?

Edgar Lee Masters
from Spoon River Anthology

To know someone here or there with whom you feel
there is understanding in spite of differences or thoughts expressed--
that can make of this earth a garden.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

And a different translation:

The world is so empty if one thinks only of mountains, rivers,
and cities; but to know someone who thinks and feels with us,
and who, though distant, is close to us in spirit, this makes
the earth for us an inhabited garden.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


We are all flowers in the Great Spirit's garden.  We share a
common root, and the root is Mother Earth.  The garden is
beautiful because it has different colors in it, and those colors
represent different traditions and cultural backgrounds.

Grandfather David Monongye (Hopi)


The comfortable and comforting people are those who look
upon the bright side of life; gathering its roses and sunshine
and making the most that happens seem the best.

Dorothy Dix


We would be well on the way
to perfection if we could weed out
one vice from ourselves each year.

Thomas a Kempis

Happiness grows at our
own firesides, and is not to be
picked in strangers' gardens.

Douglas Jerrold



Die when I may, I want it said of me by those who knew me best,
that I always plucked a thistle and planted a flower
where I thought a flower would grow.

Abraham Lincoln


Show me your garden, provided it be your own, and I will tell you
what you are like.  It is in middle life that the finishing touches
should be put to it; and then, after that, it should remain
more or less in the same condition.

Alfred Austin


We have some inspiring and motivational books that may interest you.  Our main way of supporting this site is through the sale of books, either physical copies or digital copies for your Amazon Kindle (including the online reader).  All of the money that we earn through them comes back to the site in one way or another.  Just click on the picture to the left to visit our page of books, both fiction and non-fiction!

   A person's mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently
cultivated or allowed to run wild; but whether cultivated or neglected,
it must, and will, bring forth.  If no useful seeds are put into it, then an
abundance of useless weed-seeds will fall therein, and will continue to
produce their kind.
   Just as gardeners cultivate their plots, keeping them free from weeds,
and growing the flowers and fruits which they require, so may a person
tend the garden of his or her mind, weeding out all the wrong, useless,
and impure thoughts, and cultivating toward perfection the flowers and
fruits of right, useful, and pure thoughts.  By pursuing this process, a
person sooner or later discovers that he or she is the master-gardener
of his or her soul, the director of his or her life.

James Allen

Imagine your mind as a garden and thoughts as the seeds you plant.  Habitual
negative, unhealthy, self-critical thoughts produce the weeds and thistles of
depression, discontent, and anxiety in the garden of your mind.  Luckily, the
opposite is also true.  Consistently planting positive, healthy, constructive
thoughts will yield a crop of beautiful feelings, such as gratitude, love, and joy.

Sue Patton Thoele



Let us be grateful to people who make us happy--
they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.

Marcel Proust


One person can completely change the character of a country,
and the industry of its people, by dropping a single seed in fertile soil.

John C. Gifford


If we make our goal to live a life of compassion and unconditional
love, then the world will indeed become a garden where
all kinds of flowers can bloom and grow.

Elisabeth Kuebler-Ross


A garden that never died eventually would weary.  Robbed of
springtime, unacquainted with the extraordinary perfume
that rises from the soil after it’s had its rest, the garden that
winter doesn’t visit is a dull place.  The return every spring of earth’s
first freshness would never be kept if not for the frosts and rot
and ripe deaths of fall.  So when I go out from the garden for
the last time in autumn, I leave the gate open behind me.

Michael Pollan


Where would the gardener be if there were no more weeds?

Chuang Tzu


Before anything can be planted, the soil must be ready.  We must allow
the softening mulch of God’s forgiveness to give air and breath to the soil
of our hearts.  Prejudices— taught in our childhood or imposed by our
society— must be released.  Fear must be replaced by trust, and suspicion
by childlike hope and acceptance.  These changes in the soil will not come
easily or without sweat, but any good gardener knows that preparing the soil
is the most important of all labors.  It gives the seeds a chance to grow and
eventually, to exhibit all that is hidden in its complex genetic structure.

Peggy Benson

All of us, children and adults, are beautiful flowers.  Our eyelids
are exactly like rose petals, especially when our eyes are closed.
Our ears are like morning glories listening to the sounds of birds.
Our lips form a beautiful flower every time we smile.  And our
two hands are a lotus flower with five petals.  The practice is
to keep our "flowerness" alive and present, not just for our
own benefit but for the happiness of everyone.

Thich Nhat Hanh


We're all assigned a piece of garden, a corner of the universe that is ours
to transform.  Our corner of the universe is our own life--our relationships,
our homes, our work, our current circumstances--exactly as they are.
Every situation we find ourselves in is an opportunity, perfectly
planned by the Holy Spirit, to teach love instead of fear.

Marianne Williamson



The best rose-bush, after all, is not that which has the fewest thorns,
but that which bears the finest roses.

Henry van Dyke


Our deeds are seed of fate, sown here on earth,
but bringing forth their harvest in eternity.

George Dana Boardman


Flowers never emit so sweet and strong a fragrance
as before a storm.  Beauteous soul!  when a storm
approaches thee, be as fragrant as a sweet-smelling flower.

Jean Paul Richter



A Poison Tree

I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.

And I water'd it in fears,
Night and morning with my tears;
And I sunned it with smiles,
And with soft deceitful wiles.

And it grew both day and night,
Till it bore an apple bright;
And my foe beheld it shine.
And he knew that it was mine,

And into my garden stole
When the night had veil'd the pole:
In the morning glad I see
My foe outstretch'd beneath the tree.

William Blake



We are all here to serve in our own unique ways and to give back to the earth and
to life what we have been given.  We are here to contribute the one thing that makes
us immortal:  love.  We cannot hold on to the tree of life forever and we cannot live
forever through our actions.  But if we act out of love, the sacrifices we perform
will sustain those who come after us, and our garden will have many beautiful trees.
When we each make the choice to serve, no one will suffer because of someone
else's desires.  No tree will go without nourishment or be cut down to fulfill someone
else's wants.  Our garden will flourish because each seed will have rich soil
and each leaf will be free to display its beautiful colors for all to see.  It will be
an awesome garden that will make the front page of every newspaper.

Bernie Siegel


We plant seeds that will flower as results in our lives, so best to remove
the weeds of avarice, envy, and doubt, that peace and abundance
may manifest for all.

Dorothy Day

Thoughts, like seeds, sprout and blossom according to their variety,
and the thoughts you cultivate create your experiences of life.  Just
as a seed planted in fertile soil produces healthy fruit, your mind
may be lightened or darkened depending on the type of thoughts
planted in it.  If apple seeds are planted and nurtured, you can
harvest delicious, juicy apples.  If you plant and nurture thistle seeds,
you get prickly thistles.  This analogy also holds true for the mind.
Positive thoughts can produce positive results, whereas negative
thoughts can lead to negative results.  Understanding this cause
and effect relationship can help you "think into being"
the kind of life you wish to have.

John Marks Templeton
Worldwide Laws of Life

Grass and trees cannot grow without soil.  The "soil" that fosters our
growth includes our parents, teachers, seniors, or homeland, alma mater,
community or company.  In any case, everyone has some place where
they grew up or someone who nurtured them.  Human beings grow as
a result of nurturing "soil" in which they express their ability and make
the flowers of their lives blossom, just as the spirit of the rice plant returns
to the soil and the stalk sprouts to flower and bear grain once again.  We
should repay our debts of gratitude to this soil in which we developed.
This cycle of repaying gratitude will envelop one's whole existence.  Your
true humanity will never blossom if you seek only to develop yourself.

Daisaku Ikeda
Buddhism Day by Day



Found online:

(Found online images come from a variety of unattributed
sources from various social media pages.  They're too nice
not to share!)


Yes, life can be mysterious and confusing--but there's much of life that's actually rather dependable and reliable.  Some principles apply to life in so many different contexts that they can truly be called universal--and learning what they are and how to approach them and use them can teach us some of the most important lessons that we've ever learned.
My doctorate is in Teaching and Learning.  I use it a lot when I teach at school, but I also do my best to apply what I've learned to the life I'm living, and to observe how others live their lives.  What makes them happy or unhappy, stressed or peaceful, selfish or generous, compassionate or arrogant?  In this book, I've done my best to pass on to you what I've learned from people in my life, writers whose works I've read, and stories that I've heard.  Perhaps these principles can be a positive part of your life, too!
Universal Principles of Living Life Fully.  Awareness of these principles can explain a lot and take much of the frustration out of the lives we lead.



Explore all of our quotations pages--these links will take you to the first page of each topic, and those pages will contain links to any additional pages on the same topic.

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