I have reached the stage now where luxury is not in fine possessions but in carefree possessions, and the greatest luxury of all would be the completely expendable.
Most of us are experts at solving other people’s problems, but we generally solve them in terms of our own and the advice we give is seldom for other people but for ourselves.
Enthusiasm is a plant which grows variously in the varying soils of different natures.
A garden is one of the few expressions of man’s nature that is altogether benign.
children once settled and confident can mostly be left, it seems, to manage their difficulties without us. Only what we must do, always and unalterably, is hold their hand firmly in general goodwill, then they themselves seem to deal with their own particular troubles far better than we can.
leisure is an attitude of mind, not simply remission of work.
children are not undeveloped versions of adult people: they are a different race of beings: they are children.
There is a stage with people we love when we are no longer separate from them, but so close in sympathy that we live through them as directly as through ourselves. … we push back our hair because theirs is in their eyes.
The sorrows we imagine are more profound and inconsolable than real life leaves us time for.
It is always one of the tragedies of any relationship, even between people sensitive to each other’s moods, that the moments of emotion so rarely coincide.
A collection of plants is not a landscape, any more than a list of choice words is a poem. The merit is in the design, not the material it is expressed in, and the best designs, like the best poems, make ordinary material significant by its arrangement.
If you would be happy all your life, plant a garden.
happiness makes us older, less romantic, less in need of dreams. Discontent, not happiness, is the food of youth and poetry.
The sorrows of children are profound and unsuspected.
The hardest of all is learning to be a well of affection, and not a fountain, to show them that we love them, not when we feel like it, but when they do.
We envy people we love for being always in their own loved company.
We are perverse creatures and never satisfied.
Understanding, above all, is a gift we should never offer uninvited.
Perhaps the way with any obsession is to ignore it simply. Not to fight it, since it draws strength from any contact with us, whether hostile or friendly.
We love those we are happy with. We do. For how else can we know we love them, or how else define loving?
As every real estate agent knows, a poor house in good surroundings will sell for a higher price than a better house in poor surroundings, and in a town they confidently ask 25 percent more rent for a flat with a view of a park that for an identical flat with no view.
the large black slugs … come out at dusk. Enormous slugs. As big as crocodiles. So huge we need a gun to shoot them. And by the end of the summer, if they go on growing, we shall have to go out in pairs together for protection.
Summer weather, like being in love,is a philosopher’s stone which turns our ordinary days to gold. But not the whole day … For it is never the whole day, never all our life which is transformed in any happiness, but only the exquisite moments.
when people go away, or when we leave the places we love, or something we treasure goes out of our life – I have always noticed that before it happens – this leaving, this parting – when we think about it beforehand we are overwhelmed with sadness at the loss to come. … the most unbearable sense of loss, the worst homesickness of all, so I have found, is this loss and sickness we feel beforehand, before we ever leave home.
the urgent crowds out the essential.