Ever since I read The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett I have wanted to have my own secret garden. Fortunately, my beloved is a keen gardener and has green fingers and thumbs and has created many gardens for me. We have mostly lived in the inner city so they have been small but beautiful and filled with little surprises, nooks and crannies. For the last twelve years we have shared our garden with three other families – it is spacious and green and a complete surprise to anyone who discovers it. After all, it is the inner city so a large garden is unexpected.
The sounds of children playing has filled this garden for years. A flowering plum tree has been climbed and played in often – in fact it has watched many children come and go. Sadly, it has died a slow and mournful death. The year I was unwell (2006) and spent much time sitting in this garden, it fought bravely. In the space of three months we had three springs – it covered its dying branches with blossoms. I felt that it expressed the confusion and muddle-headed thinking of my brain – something was not quite right!
Finally, no more blossom and it simply died. No one wanted to cut this tree down. Too many memories – its gnarled branches gave character to our garden. My young neighbour Tally has given our tree new life. I love her creativity:
I can look outside my kitchen window and I smile at this newly clothed tree. It took Tally hours and numerous balls of wool. How many secret gardens have a tree as unique as this?
Another secret garden is not secret all all. It is in the Botanic Gardens in Sydney. I walked there yesterday with a friend Jenny. We try and meet up and walk and talk during our lunch hour. Our walk yesterday took us to this glorious nook of the gardens that is splendid in spring. Despite the wind, it was quiet and sheltered – sweet smelling and stupendous.
As we walked, Jenny talked about being mindful and enjoying special moments – in the midst of chaotic busyness. Together we forgot about work and were drawn into the beauty of this garden. We both wanted to praise God for the beauty that is evident in His creation and so thankful to be able to stop and enjoy it.
Ah, the beauty and variety of the garden. I left behind my spring garden with freesias and poppies and the first sweet peas. Now I am enjoying the garden of Oxfordshire, which is turning its back on summer and beckoning autumn. Tantalising leaves promising the oranges and browns yet to come, .Thank you God for such beauty and variety.
Loving this! Your tree looks great all wrapped up. The ‘death’ of the tree was not the end. A good reminder on many fronts …