How Does Your Garden Grow?

Chances are, being a garden-minded gal, you’ve read The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett at least once in your life. But maybe you haven’t, or maybe it has been too long since you let yourself get lost in the lush tendrils and vines of this timeless story. That’s the beauty of The Secret Garden – rather than gathering dust over the years, it somehow blooms fresh every time you read it.

Even now, a century after its original publication, you’ll find yourself wandering through its pages like the paths of a garden, peeking among the leaves and delighting in the discovery of a new flower or fruit that you hadn’t noticed before.

Here, let me show you …

“And then she took a long breath and looked behind her up the long walk to see if anyone was coming. No one was coming. No one ever did come, it seemed, and she took another long breath, because she could not help it, and she held back the swinging curtain of ivy and pushed back the door which opened slowly …  slowly.

Then she slipped through it, and shut it behind her, and stood with her back against it, looking about her and breathing quite fast with excitement, and wonder, and delight.

She was standing inside the secret garden.”

You’re hooked, right?!  Just reading this passage, I’m drawn into the garden all over again, and I can’t wait to find out more.

The Secret Garden book cover, photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons, Project Gutenberg

One of the things I love most about this book is its theme of rejuvenation, which makes it an irresistible read for adults and children alike. As the story evolves, we watch as the garden heals the cantankerous young orphan Mary Lennox, as well as other characters that are drawn into its secret realm. But it’s not a matter of magic, at least not the supernatural variety. Miracles are sown from the hard work and love that Mary invests in reviving the long untended garden.

Dirt, spades, stories, and friends – that’s my kind of magic!

And here’s a wee bit of trivia: The Secret Garden was inspired by author Frances Hodgson Burnett’s home, Great Maytham Hall, in England. On the grounds she found a vast walled garden dating from 1721 that was overgrown and neglected until a little robin helped her find a hidden door (just like in the book!). Burnett restored the garden to its rightful glory, and it was there that she wrote many of her books.

Great Maytham Hall Garden, photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons, Stephen Nunney

How have gardens or other green spaces inspired you? Tell all!

Speaking of gardens and gates, here’s the view from my office window. The patch of blue is my Sweet Lena Iris in full bloom. The smell when you stand right in the middle removes your identity completely. You just are. In the moment.

  1. Gabrielle says:

    LOVE this book, definitely one of my favorites… the story never gets old no matter how many times I read it!

  2. I have not read the book, and now plan to. I’ve been growing flower beds, and herb gardens, ever since I moved into my first house. I hated living in my basement apartment, and promised myself, that when I did get my first house, I’d shower it with flowers. Now I am working every year on showering our farm house. When we moved in, there were waist high weeds all around the house. Extended family gave us flat rocks and I started designing and filling flower beds. I remember my neighbor, way down the road, pulling in and telling me he could bring his tractor down and dump the dirt for me. I said “thank you” but kept hauling it in a wheelbarrow. Each year we continue to bring life to the property. Each year I enjoy sitting on my porch and seeing all that color, the birds, and peace it all brings.

  3. Jan MacKay says:

    “My Secret Garden” is one of my very favorite stories and movies too. I myself grow my garden in wheat Straw Bales. Very easy on the back and pray bones, little maintenance and easy on the water bill. I get the largest strawberries in the area and herbs and awesome sugar snap peas. I still use the ground for some of my gardening but this is great for strawberries especially.
    No need for soil and very little amending is needed.

  4. “My Secret Garden” is in my head,in my thoughts of my wonderful 46 year marriage to a teacher of children, our own included….My outdoor reflective garden is in process of being redesigned by me, as a place to experience the beauty of what is around me at anytime of the day…birds, insects, green old growth bamboo, 4 hugh old fashioned spireas, 2 ‘kiss me at the garden gate’ shrubs I recently purchased and planted for next Spring, hubby’s (purchased from you) Sweet Lena’s, and other old fashioned plants from my southern childhood, and favorite places. Thanks to you for reminding me of this beautiful story of another’s Secret Garden.

  5. Pingback: Secret Garden Coloring Book | Raising Jane Journal

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