I had to retrace my steps a bit on this one,
as I mistakenly thought this area was
further north, so back to south England
A walk around Kent
with Frances Hodgsen Burnett
The picture above is of Great Maythem Hall,
the "real" Misselthwaite Manor of
the Secret Garden, where Frances H B
lived while she wrote the book.
These are pictures of the gardens there...
I don't remember how young I was when I first
encountered the cross little Mary of this book.
I believe my Mom read it aloud the first time,
so I must've been quite young as I began reading
for myself at 5.
No matter, it had a profound impact on my life
and reading it again was just as wonderful
now that I am older. I have probably read it
at least 20 times and it's magic
never gets stale.
"The seeds Dickon and Mary had planted
grew as if fairies had tended them.
Satiny poppies of all tints danced in the breeze by the score,
gaily defying flowers who had lived in the garden for years
and which it might be confessed seemed rather to wonder how
such new people had got there.
And the roses--- the roses! Rising out of the grass,
tangled around the sundial
wreathing the tree trunks and hanging from their branches,
climbing up the walls and spreading over them
with long garlands falling in cascades---
they came alive day by day, hour by hour
fair fresh leaves and buds--- and buds---
tiny at first but swelling and working Magic
until they burst and uncurled in cups of scent
delicately spilling themselves over their brims
and filling the garden air."
Also on a serendipitous note, a dear old
lady passed away this past week who once
told us that her most favorite book
was this one...that was my first thought
when I remembered her life.