Friday, April 01, 2011

The Secret Garden

The Annotated Secret Garden, on eBay

Every spring for several years now, I take time to re-read the Frances Hodgson Burnett classic, "The Secret Garden".

Although her other well-known book, "A Little Princess," is actually my favorite, there's definitely a wonderful rainy-day air about "The Secret Garden" that makes it perfect for reading in April. Winds whistling across the moors, a lonely girl exploring a large house full of antiques and mysteries, and a walled garden waiting to be lovingly tended by small hands...

My favorite part of the book is the chapter where she finally finds the key and unlocks the gate to the hidden garden:

"The sun was shining inside the four walls and the high arch of blue sky over this particular piece of Misselthwaite seemed even more brilliant and soft than it was over the moor. The robin flew down from his tree-top and hopped about or flew after her from one bush to another. He chirped a good deal and had a very busy air, as if he were showing her things. Everything was strange and silent and she seemed to be hundreds of miles away from any one, but somehow she did not feel lonely at all. All that troubled her was her wish that she knew whether all the roses were dead, or if perhaps some of them had lived and might put out leaves and buds as the weather got warmer. She did not want it to be a quite dead garden. If it were a quite alive garden, how wonderful it would be, and what thousands of roses would grow on every side!

The Secret Garden Cookbook, on Amazon

Someday if I have a young child, I'd like to set aside a portion of the yard for a secret garden they can keep all their own. If we're still living in the house I own currently, there's a few tucked-away areas we could wall off with an attractive small fence (giving the child the illusion of privacy). Or there are a few flowerbeds that could be dedicated to a child's garden.

If you enjoy gardening and have space in your yard, why not consider letting your child have a space to make all their own. It wouldn't take much: they would need a spade small enough for their little hands, a small watering can light enough for them to carry, and tiny gardening gloves. But they don't need kneeling pads, gardening hats (Use any old hat or cap), fancy boots (their other boots will do just fine), or expensive potting chairs. (Resist the temptation to run down to Target or Pottery Barn Kids and buy all the adorable children's gardening supplies.)

Just let them have a few colorful packets of seeds, a few starter plants, some potting soil, and a bit of your attention and help at first. Know when to help, and when to back off and let them get dirty, make a mess, and create their own garden plan.


  • Fill up with gas, stop by an ATM, and pick up or drop off Netflix or Redbox movies as needed

  • If you're traveling early in June this summer, it's time to make reservations for flights, hotels, rental houses, rental cars, etc.

  • Empty trash cans throughout your home

  • Have everything ready for Easter, if you celebrate it? Eggs, dying supplies, candy, special outfits for your children? Camera batteries charged? Ready to take pictures?

  • Give the kitchen a quick freshen-up. Empty or load dishwasher, change out dishtowels, wipe down counters, scrub sink, mop floor. This should take less than 15 minutes.

TODAY'S PROJECT: Closet Cleaning Again

I'm finishing up the Spring Cleaning project I started yesterday on my closet. I still have a few dresses to try on - I need to decide which dress to wear to my birthday party tomorrow! And 35 pairs of shoes or so wait for me to sort them out.


This is Megan and Matti's beautiful blog about their gardening efforts in San Francisco. They've recently blogged about the S.F. Flower Show, their visit to Outerlands Succulent Gardens, and updated us on their lovely houseplants. Check this blog out if you are a gardening enthusiast!


Baseball Stadium Foods (Food and Wine)

Organize Your Spring Planting (Old Fashioned Homemaking)

Pretzel-Crusted Fried Cheese Recipe (Food Network)

Spring Hors d'Oeuvres (Food and Wine)

Starting Your Veggie Garden (The Local Dish)

Secret Garden Paper Dolls, on eBay


Matti at Far Out Flora said...

It does sound like a good time to get some spring cleaning out of the way. It rained for weeks here and finally dried out. I think we will hit a little inside, but want to get this bougainvillea out before end of day tomorrow. Matti

Joy to the World said...

I LOVE the idea of the childrens' garden! Must do this when the baby is older.