Monday, July 05, 2010

The Secret Garden


One of my favourite books as a child was "The Secret Garden" by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I was in Fourth Class (Grade 4) when it was read to us on Thursday afternoons by our teacher. I could hardly wait for the next episode, rationed out to us in this way. Subsequently, I took it out of the library numerous times. My parents could never see the point of presenting me with my own personal copy of a library book that had been read so many times.

I bought it for my daughters and again, and I was very lucky this time, I managed to acquire a very old edition for the grandgirl. We all shared the same opinion - we absolutely adored it.

The movies that have been made of it have failed to capture the story very well. The book is quite dark which enhances the slowly brightening beauty of the garden the children create out of emotional need and loneliness.

Of the films, the 1949 version, the second movie adaptation with Margaret O'Brien, which was filmed mostly in black-and-white while the sequences set in the restored garden are in Technicolor, is my favourite. My review of it is here.

I was reminded of all of this when exploring with my dog yesterday I found this wild lost garden and its overwhelming rhododendrons. I took a photo of one and paraphrased Existentialism 101 to myself:

"If a rhododendron blooms in a wild forgotten garden, does anyone see it?"

10 comments:

  1. I loved that book with a passion. And then my sister's mother-in-law had a walled, mostly secret, garden on her demesne, which was just magical, even to a garden-shy person like myself. I seem to remember a very good BBC tv production, which captured that darkness of which you speak. It was very enjoyable. xoT

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  2. I *adored* The Secret Garden - every time I reread it, I discovered something new about the story as I got older - the different layers that swept over my head when I was 7 or 8 that only came to life when I was able to understand the more complex issues - but the magic stayed the same.

    If you are ever over in the UK and happen down to Cornwall, then go to the Lost Gardens of Heligan: http://www.heligan.com/ - they were completely overgrown when WW1 took away the garden staff (and most never returned), but were rediscovered and restored.

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  3. I don't think I ever read the book, but I do recall the BBC series that Tessa mentions, and I enjoyed that a lot. The story has come to mind on several occasions, when, like you, I've stumbled across a long abandoned garden somewhere.

    "Can anywone see it?" lol!
    The whole world can now, WWW - if they vivit your excellent blog.

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  4. Tessa:
    Isn't it wonderful how it resonates with us all?
    I remember a garden like this in the local church grounds, it had a potting shed in the middle and two doors always locked in the walls but we would climb over the wall and pick the flowers and veggies.
    XO
    WWW

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  5. Jo:
    Cornwall & Devon are on my list of places to see before I die, I will remember the Lost Gardens of Heligan. Thanks!
    XO
    WWW

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  6. Twain:
    She be a rare beauty alright!
    XO
    WWW

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  7. T:
    I must track down the BBC series!
    Thanks for the compliment!
    XO
    WWW

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  8. I must borrow that book for Elly and read it again! I love hidden wild forgotten gsrdens.

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  9. i loved that book, too, and i am heartened that your daughters love it too--children's books are not so complex and thoughtful anymore; they move lickety split, with no pauses for introspection. just plot, action, boom.

    my dearly loved nieces will have nothing to do with any of the books i send them. i keep sending them. some things one should simply not give up on.

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