I hadn’t read The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett, since I was a kid but a friend gave me a copy for my birthday in November and I’ve finally gotten around to rereading it. What a joy!
This book is as much for adults as it is for children, perhaps more so. Much of the narrative focuses on what makes people happy or unhappy and how exercise, the company of peers and animals, being outside, and growing things can affect one’s mood and outlook on life. Although first published in 1910, it is just as pertinent now as it was then.
I think that all too often people are so intent on their businesses and personal woes that they forget the wonders of growing and the seasons. I love to wander through my gardens each day to see what is happening. Which plant has foliated? Which one is budded? Which plants are the birds visiting? What reseeded and where? Which plant combinations have occurred without my intervention? Should some of them be tweaked? Which plants have great looking deadheads? Should I move a plant? Which ones look like sculptures in the snow?
While rereading The Secret Garden, I was entranced all over again with the joy of reclaiming an unused and overgrown garden. I’ve always found something very satisfying about weeding and pruning. I find myself so intent on the process and evaluating the result that I forget about everything else. It’s a lot less expensive than psychotherapy and much better for the body and soul.