Monday, August 9, 2010

"The Secret Garden"

Are there gardens that you love and would like to model your own garden after?   Carol of May Dreams Gardens asks that question on her blog, and if you comment with an answer, you'll have a chance to win a copy of "Monet's Passion" by Elizabeth Murray, courtesy of Pomegranate Communications.
Of course I wanted a chance to win this book (which Carol reviews in her blog post), and so started thinking about gardens that I love.  The first garden that came to mind is one I've only seen in my imagination.  A garden pictured in words by Frances Hodgson Burnett in her children's book "The Secret Garden."  
The garden is central to the book and to the physical and emotional healing of the characters and that's  its greatest appeal.  I want my garden to be a retreat - a peaceful place full of butterflies and birds, the scent of flowers and herbs, with the shade of trees and the music of trickling water.  With pastel colors in the spring, bright colors in midsummer, and warm reds, yellows, and oranges in the fall.  Where there are evergreens and red berries in winter.  Where the noise and hurry of the world are shut out by the ivy-covered walls.  A magical place.
Here is Frances Hodgson Burnett's description of the garden at the conclusion of the book (Should I say "spoiler alert"?):

The place was a wilderness of autumn gold and purple and violet blue and flaming scarlet and on every side were sheaves of late lilies standing together -- lilies which were white or white and ruby. He remembered well when the first of them had been planted that just at this season of the year their late glories should reveal themselves. Late roses climbed and hung and clustered and the sunshine deepening the hue of the yellowing trees made one feel that one stood in an embowered temple of gold.

It's not likely that I'll ever create my dream garden. But I'm blessed by every minute I spend planting, weeding, and just relaxing in the one I have.  And I can visit this other garden any time I wish just by closing my eyes.

"However many years she lived, Mary always felt that 'she should never forget that first morning when her garden began to grow'." 
— Frances Hodgson Burnett (The Secret Garden)


Anonymous said...

The Secret Garden was a favorite childhood book of mine. I like your final thought that you can visit any garden by closing your eyes and going there in your imagination.

TS said...

I loved Frances Hodgson Burnett's books as a child so I love your post! I want my garden to resemble a prairie in bloom. Or at least to feel separate from the overdeveloped area I live in. Considering al the birds that visit, it's a refuge for them as well as me!

debsgarden said...

I love The Secret Garden! I have read it several times and have watched a couple of movie versions of it. I think I have always had it in the back of my mind when planting my own spaces. Like yours, my garden will never look like the imaginary one, but the inspiration is definitely there! I very much enjoyed this post. Thanks!

Rosey said...

People that don't garden much really won't ever understand the need to create such a place. My husband says we could just build some ugly greenhouse and I put everything in there. Not the same. You just can't explain it to them.
I haven't read this book entirely. I think it would be a good winter project.