Nature and Gardens

A. Bronson Alcott lived his Transcendentalist philosophy most simply and completely in his love of Nature and its by-products. Son of a farmer and a dedicated vegetarian from a young age, Mr. Alcott knew that the ideals of a virtuous life were often exhibited in, and derived from, the natural world, providing a perfect complement to his spiritual ideals.

Although only two of the original twelve acres of Alcott property remain, the modern-day stewards of Orchard House still respect and seek to honor the powerful connection the Alcotts had to their surroundings.

Below: Mr. Alcott’s School of Philosophy and the West side of Orchard House, ca. 1880

“Who loves a garden still his Eden keeps,
Perennial pleasures plants, and wholesome harvest reaps.”

~Amos Bronson Alcott

“ A house without a garden or orchard is unfurnished and incomplete.”

~Amos Bronson Alcott

“ I had an early run in the woods before the dew was off the grass. The moss was like velvet, and as I ran under the arches of yellow and red leaves I sang for joy, my heart was so bright and the world so beautiful. ... A very strange and solemn feeling came over me as I stood there, with no sound but the rustle of the pines, no one near me, and the sun so glorious as for me alone. It seemed as if I felt God as I never did before, and I prayed in my heart that I might keep that happy sense of nearness all my life.”

~Louisa May Alcott, age 12

“ My long-stretching bean-rows, trim as an air-line, the peas binding the central wall and extending from the front gate to the brook, have a very pretty effect. ... Nature! The outlines of all things and designs are drawn in Nature, and it is the sweet privilege of Man to divine and fill out these sketches, completing in Art what is begun in Nature. I think I garden more to the eye than to the appetite.”

~Journals of Amos Bronson Alcott

“Apples have other virtues than those that nourish merely. They refresh the spirits by their taste and perfume. ... Apples had once the reputation of being good for immortality. They are still good for virtue and wisdom. ... For subtlety of thought, for strong sense, grace of diction, for ideas, [one] best betakes himself to conversation with orchards.”

~Journals of Amos Bronson Alcott

For more on the landscape of Orchard House, click here.

More Wit and Wisdom from the Alcotts

January The New Year
February Valentine's Day
Black History Month
March Women's History Month
April The Promise of Spring
May / June Wedding Blessings, Wedded Bliss
July / August Nature and Gardens
September Education and Schools
October The Wisdom of Little Women
November Birthdays
December Christmas
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Louisa May Alcott Memorial Association