Quotes & Poems

Man takes root at his feet, and at best he is no more than a potted plant in his house or carriage till he has established communication with the soil by the loving and magnetic touch of his soles to it.

― John Burroughs

Connection with gardens, even small ones, even potted plants, can become windows to the inner life. The simple act of stopping and looking at the beauty around us can be prayer.

― Patricia R. Barrett

I had never realized before how quickly men deteriorate without razors and clean shirts. They are like potted plants that go to weed unless they are pruned and tended daily. A single day’s growth beard makes a man look careless; two days’, derelict; and four days’, polluted. Blix and Weston hadn’t shaved for three.

― Beryl Markham, West with the Night

To me, the poor are like Bonsai trees. When you plant the best seed of the tallest tree in a six-inch deep flower pot, you get a perfect replica of the tallest tree, but it is only inches tall. There is nothing wrong with the seed you planted; only the soil-base you provided was inadequate.

Poor people are bonsai people. There is nothing wrong with their seeds. Only society never gave them a base to grow on.

― Muhammad Yunus, Creating a World Without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism

For myself I hold no preferences among flowers, so long as they are wild, free, spontaneous. Bricks to all greenhouses! Black thumb and cutworm to the potted plant!

― Edward Abbey

He flew against the pane, and was seen, admired, and stuck on a pin in the curio chest. More could not be done for him.

“Now I too am sitting on a stalk, just as the flowers do!” said the butterfly. “But it is not very pleasant. Indeed, it is like being married – one is stuck!” And then he consoled himself with that.

“That is poor consolation,” said the potted plants in the parlor.

“But one cannot quite believe the potted plants,” thought the butterfly. “They associate too much with people.”

― Hans Christian Andersen, Hans Christian Andersen: The Complete Fairy Tales and Stories, The Butterfly, 1861

Potted Plants

My Wife the Gardener

She dug the plot on Monday –
the soil was rich and fine,
She forgot to thaw out dinner –
so we went out to dine…
She planted roses Tuesday –
she says they are a must,
They really are quite lovely –
but she quite forgot to dust.
On Wednesday it was daisies –
they opened up with sun,
All whites and pinks and yellows –
but the laundry wasn’t done…
The poppies came on Thursday –
a bright and cherry red,
I guess she really was engrossed –
she never made the bed…
It was violets on Friday –
in colours she adores,
It never bothered her at all –
all crumbs upon the floors,
I hired a maid on Saturday –
my week is now complete,
My wife can garden all she wants –
the house will still be neat!
It’s nearly lunchtime Sunday –
and I cannot find the maid,
Oh no! I don’t believe it!
She’s out there WITH THE SPADE!

~ Peter (poem in old magazine)


To a Butterfly

I’ve watched you now a full half-hour;
Self-poised upon that yellow flower
And, little Butterfly! Indeed
I know not if you sleep or feed.
How motionless! — not frozen seas
More motionless! and then
What joy awaits you, when the breeze
Hath found you out among the trees,
And calls you forth again!

~ William Wordsworth


The Gardener

I know a gardening man,
Who grows red roses
And catches the caterpillars,
By their noses
He lifts up the beetles
That eat his carrots,
And takes them to the zoo
To feed the parrots.



Two little bunnies, bless their souls,
Go into hiding in their holes,
And they emerge a seething mob,
It must have been an inside job.


Sleepy Slug

A slug-a-bed snuggled
In somnolent sloom,
When a sobersides slithered
Right into the room,
A frightful slangwhanger
Who banged on the bed
And harangued him and snibbed
At his poor slimsy head,
Squalling:”Time you were spiffy
and slippy and sprack
You slubberdegullion,
You sprag, off your back!”


Gardening Tongue Twisters

Moses supposes his toses are roses,
But Moses supposes erroneously,
For nobody’s toeses are posies of roses,
As Moses supposes his toses to be.
Did Doug dig Dick’s garden or did Dick dig Doug’s garden?

Theophilus Thistler, the thistle sifter, in sifting a sieve of unsifted thistles, thrust three thousand thistles through the thick of his thumb.

From Diction exercises — How to Speak Clearly


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