The Allure of a Secret Garden

The Secret Garden

One of my very favorite books from childhood is The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgeson Burnett. My fourth grade teacher Mrs. Van read it to us in class and I was just hooked – as have many a little girl since it was first published over 100 years ago. In addition to the lovely story of the lonely and miserable little girl who find happiness, family and friends on the windswept moors of England, but it had the romantic and mysterious lure of a secret place behind a high garden wall.

The Secret Garden book covers

Who doesn’t feel the pull of a walled-off space – the need to get in there and find out what’s going on? Secret gardens are romantic in their pull towards possible adventure. We think of clandestine assignations (how’s that for an old-timey expression) and private moments. It takes daring to walk down a path into the unknown, or to find the door and push it open. It’s just a uniquely human need to go exploring.

Walls and Doors to a Secret Garden

Savannah secret garden southern living wrought iron
via Southern Living

Naturally, there’s nothing like a walled-off secret garden for structure and the ultimate in private spaces.

Great_Maytham_Hall_Garden_-_geograph.org.uk_-_228928 Steven Nunney Secret Garden
Great Maytham Hall Garden | photo by Steven Nunney

It just makes you want to breach the walls to see what’s inside, doesn’t it? Especially if it might look like this garden in Germany below.

secret garden in Germany
Hidden garden in Landschaftpark Duisburg-Nord in Germany

Arbors and Pathways to a Secret Garden

A brick garden path leading under a modern wood arch revealing a sitting area BHG secret garden
via BHG

Obviously, most of us have neither the space nor the resources to build a wall-in garden. But flower covered arbors and winding pathways have the same romantically adventuresome feel I think.

a bower of pink roses frames a bench and pink straw bag secret garden
Source unknown

Even a little picket fence does the trick.

pink rose arbor covering wood picked fence via HGTV secret garden
via HGTV

There’s nothing like a surprising moment such as this Lady in the Ivy just peaking out. She’s keeping a lot of secrets, I think!

Belton House uk Lady in the Ivy secret garden
The Lady in the Ivy at Belton House in the UK

 

Gardens at The Mount in The Berkshires

Linda Merrill photography Edith Wharton The Mount Massachusetts Secret Garden view from house

This is the view from the back terrace at Edith Wharton’s house in the Berkshires in Massachusetts. The “Italian” garden in the far corner has all the hallmarks of a secret garden.

Linda Merrill photography Edith Wharton The Mount Massachusetts Secret Garden 3

It’s out of the way, behind ivy covered walls and has little private spaces that are surprising and delightful.

 

 

Linda Merrill photography Edith Wharton The Mount Massachusetts Secret Garden 1

Linda Merrill photography Edith Wharton The Mount Massachusetts Secret Garden 2

I love the little wood benches about the garden for a little moment of solitude.

Linda Merrill photography Edith Wharton The Mount Massachusetts Secret Garden hidden bench

Linda Merrill photography Edith Wharton The Mount Massachusetts Secret Garden view to house

 The Secret Garden of Nook Cottage

Okay, this is my little back yard. It’s surrounded by high stockade fencing for a true feeling of privacy. And I love the little door in the back – which in truth only opens up into the woods behind. But just having the door feels mysterious.

Linda Merrill back yard fence door rhododenrans secret gardens

Tips for making your own Secret Garden

  • Create a private space that’s tucked away, out of sight.
  • Create a pathway and some kind of visual “obstacle” such as a wall, door or flower covered arbor
  • Add a small bench or other seat to offer a place to rest

Secret Garden Boutique (This boutique includes affiliate links. A small commission on sales is paid (at no cost to the buyer) which goes to help support this blog. Thank you!)

xoxo Linda Would you like my Favorite Tips for a Well-Decorated Home? Click here!

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