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Musings: to meditate, think, contemplate, deliberate, ponder, reflect, ruminate, reverie, daydream, introspection, dream, preoccupation, brood, cogitate.

Monday, May 9, 2022

Secret Gardens

Welcome to my garden!  Please enter through the garden gate and find solace for your soul......

🎶Secret Garden🎶
(Music to listen to while you read)

The rains have forced me to take a break from working in my garden, although, in-between the bouts of rain I was able to tie up my Clematis that had been blown down from the arbor post. . . .

Back inside I began reading Marta McDowell's latest gardening book "Unearthing the Secret Garden---The Plants & Places that Inspired Frances Hodgson Burnett."  The following poem was one of Burnett's favorite poems.  McDowell notes, "Its verses capture Burnett's feelings for life in the garden, including her gardens....

The Lord God planted a garden
In the first white days of the world,
And He set there an angel warden
In a garment of light enfurled.

So near to the peace of Heaven,
That the hawk might nest with the wren,
For there is in the cool of the even
God walked with the first of men.

And I dream that these garden-closes
With their shade and their sun-flecked sod
And their lilies and bowers of roses,
Were laid by the hand of God.

The kiss of the sun for pardon,
The song of the birds for mirth---
One is nearer God's heart in a garden
Than anywhere else on earth.

For He broke it for us in a garden
Under the olive-trees
Where the angel of strength was the warden
And the soul of the world found ease.
--Dorothy Frances Gurney, 1913

I have a plaque in my garden with the fourth stanza and did not realize it came from this poem.  This stanza expresses MY feelings about gardening.

This Carolina Jasmine was planted on another corner of my arbor in 2014.  I have patiently waited for it to bloom, never giving up hope.  And this year it finally bloomed!. . . 

This Bleeding Heart seems to double in size every year.  It resides under the very old Dogwood tree that despite a deteriorating trunk continues to blossom every year.  It was blooming when we moved here 41 years ago. . .

In the corner of my arbor garden next to the steps to the deck I have a miniature garden for the faeries to enjoy. . .

Up on the deck I have a small bistro table underneath the window in my writing room I call my Snuggery. . .

In the corner overlooking the arbor are more plants I love. . .

Looking out from the other side of the deck the Ajuga are in their glory amongst the emerging Hostas. . . .

In my front garden I have put these Zinnias in this urn for now.  If you enlarge the photo (click on it), you can see the intricate design on the white ones. . .

The Azalea was planted there 30 years ago.  The Ferns in front of the well house appeared there on their own and have spread so much I had to move the rock border out into the gravel area to contain them.  The Peonies have buds and will do their show soon. . . .

This Azalea was planted at the same time, and has struggled to grow, but has hung in there to continue giving me its beautiful blossoms each year. . .

.......It is several days later now.  The rain has moved on and I've been out in my garden!  I'm enjoying Marta McDowell's book in the evenings.   It is arranged in four parts:  Before The Secret Garden; Inside The Secret Garden; After The Secret Garden; Outside the Secret Garden.  We gain insight into how the various places Frances Hodgson Burnett influenced the writing of "The Secret Garden." It is a delightful way to present a biography of an author and her book.  The Afterword is written by Burnett's great-great-granddaughter, Keri Wilt,  Speaker/Writer/Heart Cultivator, as she calls herself.  She has a website called TheWell-Tended Life, using the garden as a metaphor for living your best life.  I've been listening to her series of podcasts she made during the first year of the pandemic on her vlog on You Tube.  She interviewed 19 very inspiring people.  For those of you who watched Susan Branch's Zoom presentations hosted by The Enchanted Book Club you will recognize the interviewer, Hayley Salano, in Episode #16.  

I have never actually read "The Secret Garden," even though I have several copies of the book!  I've seen three versions of the movie, but do still want to read the book eventually.  If you haven't read it either and would rather listen to an audio version, you can listen to it HERE.  

On my Another Perfect Day blog I have a photo of my Secret Garden in a post I wrote called Secret Gardens.  In it I talk about the secret garden in our hearts.  I think each of us has a secret place in our hearts where we grow our dreams.  We tend them and nurture them there, waiting for the right season in our lives to bring them into the light so they can be shared with others. 

Like my Carolina Jasmine, my dream is patiently waiting in the secret garden of my heart to come forth into the light and blossom.  Do you have a dream in the secret garden of your heart that you haven't brought out into the light yet?

P.S.  If you want to see even more gardens, just click on "Gardens" in the Archives in the side bar.  There are 22 posts about various gardens!

P.P.S.  HERE is an overview of McDowell's book.  The one fault I have of the book is that the paper makes the photographs dull.  Once I saw the article on-line the contrast was striking.


  1. The Secret Garden is one of my favorite books, Cathy. Your garden is well tended and clearly loved. I find great solace in my own garden. The well tended garden is a great analogy for our own hearts.

    1. I hope you are doing well. This pandemic is lasting longer than we all hoped! Tending our hearts is very important right now. ❤️

  2. I love these visits to your garden, Cathy. Everything is so lovely.
    I have not read the book either, but I will get a copy from the library. My system has the gardening book and I now have it on order.
    I've been marveling at how enclosed I feel with the neighboring trees growing and houses being hardly visible this year.
    Day lily season has begun and the hydrangeas are in bud.

    1. Looking at these photos from more than a month ago now makes me realize just how much my garden has changed already. The Azaleas and Bleeding Heart are done, and the Peonies are on their way out already. But I have Roses, Lavender, and Penstemon now and the annuals I've added. My dfew Daylilies never bloom anymore. I think the deer get to them. I'm so glad you are enjoying your yard this year and hope you can stay there for many more years.


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