By the time Francis wrote this book she'd suffered two divorces and the death of her oldest son, Lionel (just 18). She had bouts of depression most of her life as well. As with all authors their books hold certain elements of themselves in them. The garden in her story was said to have been based on the garden at Great Maytham Hall in Kent, England, where she lived off and on from the mid-1890's to 1907, and which probably offered her great solace.
I'm enjoying my garden this year immensely! We, I should say my husband, dug up all the grass in the front yard last Fall, and we put down pea gravel around several circular garden beds. I helped sift the rocks out of the dirt and planted and transplanted lots of flowers that are coming up this Spring. Now that I've fenced in the area my little Westie can enjoy it with me. Here he is looking at the newly-installed gate wondering if there's a way to get through it so he can explore further afar. He hasn't been enticed to jump off the wall because his little legs are too short. He's too smart to risk it.... so far:
I also have my own little Secret Garden in the back yard. We'd fenced in the side yard some years ago and with the existing plants there it was a natural place to close in with a couple boxwoods and an arbor trellis. I made a brick walkway in the form of a cross and planted periwinkle:
I also built a little stone bench to sit on. It's a place I can go to when I want to be alone.
Years ago a friend gave me a lovely framed poem called "The Secret Garden" for my birthday which, that year, happened to fall on the day I was flying to my mother's funeral. I'd taken care of her in my home for the previous year, but she was being buried next to my father in a different state. The poem held great meaning for me at the time. My relationship with my mother had had it's difficulties and I had come to realize that taking care of my mother, with all it's attending problems, had been a blessing to me. The experience was quite eloquently expressed in the poem my friend had just given me:
The Secret Garden
There is a secret garden
Where the issues of life take root.
We choose the seeds we sow,
The seeds produce their fruit.
In your appointed time to tend,
To play the gardener's part,
What will you sow?
What will you grow?
In the secret garden of your heart.
The poem and the experience of caring for my ill mother for a year made me realize just how important my "heart" was--what I planted there is what would grow and bear fruit. If it was resentment, then that is what I would reap. If it was forgiveness, then the fruit would be love.
What will YOU sow in the secret garden of YOUR heart?
Father, thank you for the reminder that my heart is a very important place! It's the garden where infinite possibilities lie. Help me to tend it carefully.
Link to scripture: http://niv.scripturetext.com/psalms/15-1.htm
Take action: Create your own secret garden