“And the secret garden bloomed and bloomed and every morning revealed new miracles.” Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden.
One of my favourite things about Edinburgh is its sheer variety: all the mod cons of the city but with beautiful natural surroundings, like the Water of Leith and the beach at Porty. What’s more, if you want to get away from it all for a wee while, the number of nearby escapes on our doorstep really does spoil us. Last long weekend we took Bobby the car on an Easter adventure to a secret garden near Edinburgh. The tranquil hideaway, complete with elegant Victorian glasshouse, was just the tonic I didn’t know I needed. Only a twenty minute drive door to door, it was the perfect, restorative morning spent among the emerging blooms in the Spring sunshine. All the while we strolled I felt like I had stepped into the Frances Hodgson Burnett novel: I adored The Secret Garden when I was wee, and Mary’s childish awe at nature’s power and permanence still very much resonates with me today. I leave you with some choice quotations from the novel and will let some snapshots of our day do the rest of the talking.
“The Secret Garden was what Mary called it when she was thinking of it. She liked the name, and she liked still more the feeling that when its beautiful old walls shut her in no one knew where she was. It seemed almost like being shut out of the world in some fairy place. The few books she had read and liked had been fairy-story books, and she had read of secret gardens in some of the stories. Sometimes people went to sleep in them for a hundred years, which she had thought must be rather stupid. She had no intention of going to sleep, and, in fact, she was becoming wider awake every day which passed at Misselthwaite.”
“The robin flew from his swinging spray of ivy on to the top of the wall and he opened his beak and sang a loud, lovely trill, merely to show off. Nothing in the world is quite as adorably lovely as a robin when he shows off – and they are nearly always doing it.”
“Sometimes since I’ve been in the garden I’ve looked up through the trees at the sky and I have had a strange feeling of being happy as if something was pushing and drawing in my chest and making me breathe fast. Magic is always pushing and drawing and making things out of nothing. Everything is made out of magic, leaves and trees, flowers and birds, badgers and foxes and squirrels and people. So it must be all around us. In this garden – in all the places.”
Do you have a secret garden where you live?