Monday, December 19, 2011

If You Have a Garden and a Library, Part II

"And the secret garden bloomed and bloomed and every morning revealed new miracles."
                                                                                                         --Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden
Oh, the mysteries and the miracles of a garden. We were reminded of this when we--daughter, granddaughter, and I--attended a most delightful little play recently, an adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett's classic, The Secret Garden.

My daughter chanced upon the opportunity when she saw a banner advertising the upcoming play, sponsored by a local woman's club and to be performed in a small theater downstairs in a community center. Though the stage was small, and viewers settled into metal folding chairs on three sides of the platform, the performance could not have been any more professionally done. Wow. The acting was fantastic. The setting design, for what space was available, was uniquely done. How else could you represent Mary's bedroom, Martha the maid tending to the newly-arrived spoiled and temperamental child, and a locked gate to a secret garden? Where would Mary find the hidden key? And why was Colin in a wheelchair?

The experience was made all the more rich by seeing it through the eyes of the child with us. "Why is she doing that?" Angelica asked when Mary threw a tantrum. "She found the key in that tree!" she pointed out when Mary discovered the means to enter the garden. "Where's the bird?" she wondered when Dickon's friend the robin sang out. We came away with a sense of wonder--at talent and art, performance and staging, a time-honored story, and an all-round simply fun evening in a garden. Including autographs! What a great memory-maker.

Ah. Cicero's quote again (see part I, here): If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.

Wisdom can be found in gardens, too. Additional samples from Burnett's garden:

~"Where you tend a rose, my lad, a thistle cannot grow."
~"It made her think that it was curious how much nicer a person looked when he smiled. She had not thought of it before."
~"Much more surprising things can happen to anyone who, when a disagreeable or discouraged thought comes into his mind, just has the sense to remember in time and push it out by putting in an agreeable, determinedly courageous one. Two things cannot be in one place."
~"At first people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done, then they begin to hope it can be done, then they see it can be done--then it is done and all the world wonders why is was not done centuries ago."
~"If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden."
Wishing you gardens and libraries galore in the upcoming new year. May your garden of days bloom, and every morning reveal new miracles.


  1. What a wonderful thing to do!!!! Great pics!!!!

  2. My husband refuses to let winter come one minute sooner than it must. He covers our summer flowers during the frosty nights, and so we always have the last blossoming plants in our neighborhood (maybe in town even). Still, this time of year, it's hard to find a garden in Ohio.

    But a library? That we never lose. It's nice to know that while I'm curled up with a book on a blustery winter night, the earth is already preparing my next garden - only months away!

  3. I have read The Secret Garden many,many years back. Lovely pictures.

  4. It was fun to do this with you two! I love that Angelica already has an appreciation for theatre (and books, of course!!!)