A garden and a library

The public library in Camden, Maine  includes a beautiful waterfront garden.  June 2012

The lower level of the public library in Camden, Maine
opens onto a beautiful waterfront garden. June 2012

“He who has a garden and a library wants for nothing.” Marcus Tullius Cicero

Several weeks ago one of our readers sent me this quote, and I immediately thought “That would make a great post for the blog.”  What makes the quote so appealing is that most people can have at least a small library and garden, or even if they cannot, can have access to public or private libraries and gardens — sometimes very grand ones.

As much as I love my own library (not a place, but a collection of books scattered throughout two different homes) and my own modest attempts at gardening, I will never tire of exploring the wonders of public libraries and gardens.  I also enjoy the more modest but equally appealing libraries and gardens of like-minded friends.  In such settings there is wealth enough to fill several lifetimes with exploration, discovery, and joy.

I read a translator somewhere who said that he imagined Cicero must have been referring to a garden as a gathering place where people could sit and discuss ideas.  While that sounds logical, there are all kinds of reasons for gardens, just as there are all sorts of reasons why people need libraries.  Wherever you find them, and whatever you find within them, I wish you an abundance of opportunities to enjoy both.


  1. Eric

    It’s easy for Cicero to say – he was such a wealthy slum lord, they named a whole suburb of Chicago after him.

  2. stephstephxo

    Stunning post…..I love books, I’ve always wanted a large library, ever since I watched Beauty and The Beast when I was younger and she gets given a library, fabulous! Nothing better than sitting in a garden or park and reading a great book. That quote is lovely, sometimes the most simple things in life are the most enjoyed and treasured.
    Take care
    Steph 😃💋

    • Hi Steph, thanks for your comment! I also identified with Belle in the Disney movie, especially the song at the beginning where everyone is singing about how peculiar she is; it sounded very familiar! I’m so happy you liked the post.

  3. Bobby Harris

    I would add a good friend to make one rich indeed.

    • Hi Bobby, I agree! And for some strange reason, most of my good friends love gardens, or books, or both! I think it might have been you who sent me that quote. Hope your flowers are beautiful this year!

      • Bobby Harris

        My flowers are looking lovely, thanks to Randall. I will have to post some pictures.

        • I’ll have to be sure and check your FB page to see them!

  4. merry

    Good morning, Julia. Books, Friends and Gardens…a woman after my heart! :}

    • 🙂 Life is beautiful, isn’t it? No matter what else isn’t. Thanks for being here!

  5. Sheila

    Julia, what a lovely combination you have written about today! Yes, life is beautiful, indeed. I so hope that you are having a good weekend. It’s definitely a day to be resing and reading here in our “tin condo”, with the light rain falling. Great for all the gardens,too. Continued prayers, Sheila

    • Sheila, it sounds wonderful to be resting and reading with the patter of light rain overhead! We’ve had a quiet and peaceful day inside today, although it has stopped raining here. I have been sitting with Pasha all day because we feel that he’s getting ready to leave us. He’s not in any distress, but doesn’t feel like doing anything and is lying very still. If he shows signs of pain or distress we will have to make that very tough decision, but for now he seems content just to lie quietly. His eyes are awake and lively as ever, but his body is fading fast. Thanks for the prayers, they are helping.

      • Sheila

        Julia, if Pasha is comfortable, these are special days that you are sharing. I will always remember the Salty and Pasha comments here, to each other, several months ago. So cute! My heart is heavy though. I hope your night goes well. Sheila

        • Thank you Sheila, it is so comforting to know those who truly understand. Jeff’s aunt Gloria, who is also a close friend, recently lost her beloved dog of 16+ years, Marlee, so it seems we are all navigating this passage together. I too have enjoyed sharing about Salty and Pasha. I know that our memories will bring us a lot of comfort and joy over the years.

  6. Libraries & bookstores… Heaven on earth 😉

    • Thanks, I’m so glad you agree! I love the convenience (and economy) of digital books, but hope the old-fashioned bookstores and libraries never go away. There’s nothing quite like browsing in real, 3-D life!

  7. How lucky are the folks in Camden Maine? Very pretty and what an inspiring place to find a good read or just a bench by the water. I did find life came and went thru our garden at the lake. It’s where you always go with company to take a photo to remember the day. It’s where we dined with friends in the summer and of course I spent many hours just pruning and planting with a vision of some English country garden in Northern Alberta. I loved just watching the birds or butterflies and bumblebees just doing their thing too, humbles you how much work they must do to simply see another day.

    • Those folks in Camden are definitely lucky! A lovely town and fabulous library. I wish I could have shown a 360 view of it – when I took that photo I had my back turned to a gorgeous view of the water. There are lots of quaint shops and restaurants and some fabulous B&B’s – the owner invited me into one and it was stunning. I asked her how her town had so many great gardeners and she said it was because everyone was so eager for spring to come that they went all out for blooms. Lucky you too, to have a garden on a lake!


  1. This bequest of wings | Defeat Despair

Thanks for encouraging others by sharing your thoughts:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: