The Real Secret Garden

27 Feb

I don’t know if there is a book more dear or magical to me than Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden. I first read it when I was in the second grade (it was the children’s version and I’m pretty sure I got it at the dollar store but none the less) and proceeded to do every subsequent book report on it through 5th grade (miraculously, none of my teachers ever caught on). I remember staying up late with my mom making shoebox diaramas of the garden with mintures of Mary, Colin and Dicken and the little sheep and flowers. In fith grade I finally read the full version of the book and it was no less than wonderful to me.

Now at 25, The Secret Garden is still my favorite book of all time. I recently bought a children’s copy to read to my two year old son who, like his mommy, can’t get enough of books regardless of their subject matter (I read him Madeline E’ngel’s A Wrinkle In Time when I was pregnant). Also, to my joy, Chick-fil-a has recently started giving children’s classics with their kid’s meals (so now we have a chick-fil-a version of TSG as well!).

I was doing some research a few months back for my upcoming trip to England (I have around 50 cousins there along with some scattered relatvies in Scotland that I’ve mostly never met) and came across the actual, real-life garden that inspired Mrs. Burnett!! Obviously, this will be a stop on our itenierary and…I’ll secretly move my things in when no one is looking.

Mrs. Burnett apparently got the idea for the book while staying at the home between 1898 and 1907. She spent hours wandering through the gardens and observing its inhabitants. The little red robin that shows Mary Lennox the way to the hidden garden door actually appeared in real-life to Frances who found a hidden door of her own, giving her the idea for the story! (I’d like to meet this clever robin!)

This place made me instantly swoon and I think I’ll just have to take up perment residency there! (Hey, you can actually buy the apartments within the home!) The house is called Great Maytham HallTake a look at its breath-taking beauty below.

You can also (swoon!) get married there. What do you think? Can’t you just see The Secret Garden coming to life here? I personally want to buy a white cotton dress and giant garden hat and spend my days writing and sleeping among the flowers…but maybe that’s just me.


One Response to “The Real Secret Garden”


  1. Currently Reading…Jane Eyre « intothebook - November 8, 2012

    […] Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden (you can read a bit more about my obsession with TSG here). Though I took AP English in High School and plenty of World Lit classes in College, I somehow […]

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