Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Secret Garden?

"It was the sweetest, most mysterious-looking place any one could imagine. The high walls which shut it in were covered with the leafless stems of climbing roses which were so thick that they were matted together. Mary Lennox knew they were roses because she had seen a great many roses in India. All the ground was covered with grass of a wintry brown and out of it grew clumps of bushes which were surely rosebushes if they were alive. There were numbers of standard roses which had so spread their branches that they were like little trees. 

There were other trees in the garden, and one of the things which made the place look strangest and loveliest was that climbing roses had run all over them and swung down long tendrils which made light swaying curtains, and here and there they had caught at each other or at a far-reaching branch and had crept from one tree to another and made lovely bridges of themselves. 

There were neither leaves nor roses on them now and Mary did not know whether they were dead or alive, but their thin gray or brown branches and sprays looked like a sort of hazy mantle spreading over everything, walls, and trees, and even brown grass, where they had fallen from their fastenings and run along the ground. It was this hazy tangle from tree to tree which made it all look so mysterious. Mary had thought it must be different from other gardens which had not been left all by themselves so long; and indeed it was different from any other place she had ever seen in her life."
I've always loved The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett and though there are no walls and only one rose, when I tackled this area yesterday, it was the long forgotten and much overgrown secret garden of the book that came to mind.
There's the blue bench Elizabeth and Phillip sit on in one novel -- it was being covered up by apple and forsythia branches. Elsewhere wild grapevines were hiding the rhododenrons and the smoke tree. What was a lovely garden room a few years ago is, to use a technical term, a BIG MESS.

Alas! I've let Elizabeth's garden go while trying to tell her story. In the best of all possible worlds, those stories would have brought in enough income to hire some help -- Julio?  Homero? Donde estan?

Not here, more's the pity. So yesterday I took pruning shears and loppers and began to rediscover my garden.   A hint of blue was winking at me from beyond a green fountain of forsythia and I hacked my way through to find a forgotten lace cap hydrangea -- a nice reward for a sweaty few hours.

Today I'll attack the wilderness once more -- load the clippings  up and take them to our brush pile and resume my battle with the wild grape.

As I recall, there's a Kousa dogwood back in there. 

Onward!
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23 comments:

R. Burnett Baker said...

Lovely post, Vicki. I was reminded of the music from The Secret Garden. I have it on CD and enjoy listening to it when driving on the highways...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDUjt6iH52E

Rick

Bernie said...

Vicki, I think you have a lovely garden, so lush and green.

I live in a town house (condo) so I only have a deck and hanging baskets.....I love your yard my friend......:-) Hugs

L. D. Burgus said...

It is all so wonderful.

Victoria said...

'The Secret Garden' is one of my favorite books, too. But Vicki, you don't just have a secret garden. You have a secret garden paradise! OK, it may be a little overgrown, but it's so luxuriant and beautifully green. And they didn't have that beautiful blue bench in the book...

evalinn said...

I read that book a looong time ago, bit I remember I really liked it! And thanks for sharing pictures of your garden!

Martin H. said...

There can be few things more satisfying than uncovering paradise a little at a time. Thanks for sharing your progress and delight.

Friko said...

I agree with Martin; these riches you are uncovering will be all the sweeter for having lain hidden.

Just don't go mad, a little mystery in a garden is a good thing.

joanny said...

Paradise Lost, now Paradise Regained in Ms. Vicki's garden. It looks like a lovely place for a picnic- and you do not even have to travel to get there, you have paradise in your backyard.

Joanny

Mr. Stupid said...

This was a great post! You have a beautiful garden, Vicki. Looks like a nice place to relax in.

Pat in east TN said...

A lot of work, but what wonderful rewards you are reaping! At least the weather wasn't so miserable yesterday ... I was also outside catching up on many neglected chores.

Brian Miller said...

oh excellent excerpt to set teh tone...bet it was refreshing to get out there and shape something other than words with your hands...i think even wild it looks lovely..nature is my playground...

Vicki Lane said...

Thanks for the link, Rick!

Sometimes I think wistfully of having a tiny manageable garden, Bernie. . .

I adore that book, Victoria -- have reread it many times. Also 'A Little Princess.'

Relax? Can a gardener ever really relax, Mr. S.?

I'm off to resume the battle in the cool of the morning!

NCmountainwoman said...

"The Secret Garden" was a favorite read-aloud book when my children were small. I still love it.

And far from looking neglected, your garden is lovely. It must be a treat to work among the beautiful plants. What with your writing, entertaining, vegetable garden and speaking engagements, not the mention the new chickens, I don't know how you do it.

willow said...

I recognized it right away from "Mary Lennox"! You truly have a wonderful secret garden. The story always makes me want to go dig in some glorious dirt.

Miss_Yves said...

Beautiful photos of your wonderful garden!
I've never read"the secret garden"
But "a little Princess"was one of the favourite novels in my childhood.

Tammy said...

You made me laugh (out loud--at work!) over the hired help part. Would that it were true... I am always amazed (and often appalled) at how swiftly the jungle can creep up and take over. One minute you can have a nice sedate cottage type garden area and the next time you look it has become a thuggish looking area no one wants to venture into. Glad you are making good progess. Weather still holds and hot and unbearably humid here...
Tammy

Elora said...

It looks like you should tie a string to the porch as you go out, so you can follow it back as you return. We sure wouldn't want to lose you!

Elora

Vicki Lane said...

John does all the chicken stuff, NCmountainwoman, as well as mowing, weedeating and a lot of other things. How do I do it -- well, I don't do any of it as well as I wish I did. And (case in point this overgrown yard) I do some of it very badly.

Me too, Willow!

If you liked A LITTLE PRINCESS, Miss Yves, you'd probably enjoy THE SECRET GARDEN -- I still reread it.

Tammy -- We had a couple of inches of rain recently, Tammy, and the grapevines grew like mad. Fortunately our really horrible heat has abated -- I think we're in the high eighties today.

Back amid the hollies and rhodos and grapevine, with the vines around my ankles and arms, I did have a vision of my skeleton being found hanging from the vines.

Reader Wil said...

I would love to walk in that garden of yours!( or Elizabeth's). The blue bench where she sat with Phillip is very inviting too. I love the secret garden too. There's also a movie of that book.

jinksy said...

I have a mini sized replica of your garden outside my door! But no inclination to attack it until the cool weather comes to inspire me, by which time the green stuff will have won the battle yet again...

jennyfreckles said...

'The Secret Garden' was one of my favourite books. It was set in 'the Craven district of Yorkshire' which is just up the road from here, around Skipton. I have always loved walled gardens, ever since reading the book.

Vicki Lane said...

And do you eat baked potatoes with clotted cream in your part of Yorkshire, Jennyfreckles?

Tipper said...

I like to find secrets in my garden-forgotten plants or new volunteers dropped by the birds or blown by the wind.

Yours makes me wish I could sit on the bence-especially since I now know it's Elizabeth's : )