Dear Kids, Gardeners, and Lovers of the book The Secret Garden,
I recently received an article from a dear friend (thanks, Deb!) dated October 30-31, 2021, from The Wall Street Journal, page C11. It is entitled “A Blooming Genius,” by the WSJ’s children’s book columnist, Meghan Cox Gurdon. She was referring to the British author of The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett (1849 – 1924).
In her article, Mrs. Gurdon reviewed a related book by Marta McDowell, released last fall, entitled Unearthing the Secret Garden. In the book, McDowell intertwines Burnett’s talents for writing and horticulture.
Burnett’s The Secret Garden, written in 1911, is my favorite children’s book, so, of course, this article and the new biography grabbed my attention.
Ms. McDowell’s book reveals that Burnett was fond of flower gardens from childhood, especially growing roses, but she did not take up gardening in earnest until she was nearly fifty years old. She was too busy being a prolific writer. The review also reminds the reader that in her book, “Burnett makes an explicit link between the turnings of the year in a Yorkshire garden to the rejuvenation of two children: a sour little orphan named Mary Lennox and her hypochondriac cousin Colin Craven.”
For me, the attraction of The Secret Garden, aside from a mysterious walled garden on the grounds of spooky mansion in a desolate corner of England, is that it is “a story about transformation, second chances, and perhaps even miracles.”
I have reread The Secret Garden numerous times over the years. It never fails to cause hope to bloom in my heart. Next up: Unearthing the Secret Garden.
So, get a clue, Readers and Gardeners. Now is the time to peruse those seed catalogs, plan your garden (secret or otherwise), remain hopeful, and expect some miracles.