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  • Writer's pictureLinda Odhner, with photos by Liz Kufs

Excerpted Inspirations #110



[Mary Lennox has found her way into the secret garden and is looking at it for the first time.] Her skipping-rope had hung over her arm when she came in and after she had walked about for a while she thought she would skip round the whole garden, stopping when she wanted to look at things. There seemed to have been grass paths here and there, and in one or two corners there were alcoves of evergreen with stone seats or tall moss-covered flower urns in them. As she came near the second of these alcoves she stopped skipping. There had once been a flowerbed in it, and she thought she saw something sticking out of the black earth – some sharp little pale green points. She remembered what Ben Weatherstaff had said and she knelt down to look at them. “Yes, they are tiny growing things and they might be crocuses or snowdrops or daffodils,” she whispered. She bent very close to them and sniffed the fresh scent of the damp earth. She liked it very much. “Perhaps there are some other ones coming up in other places,” she said. “I will go all over the garden and look.”  She did not skip, but walked. She went slowly and kept her eyes on the ground. She looked at the old border beds and among the grass, and after she had gone round, trying to miss nothing, she had found ever so many more sharp, pale green points, and she had become quite excited again. “It isn’t a quite dead garden,” she cried out softly to herself. “Even if the roses are dead, there are other things alive.” She did not know anything about gardening, but the grass seemed so thick in some of the places where the green points were pushing their way through that she thought they did not seem to have room enough to grow. She searched about until she found a rather sharp piece of wood and knelt down and dug and weeded out the weeds until she made nice little clear places around them. “Now they look as if they could breathe,” she said, after she had finished with the first ones. “I am going to do ever so many more. I’ll do all I can see. If I haven’t time today I’ll come back tomorrow.” She went from place to place, and dug and weeded, and enjoyed herself so immensely that she was led on from bed to bed and into the grass under the trees. The exercise made her so warm that she first threw her coat off, and then her hat, and without knowing it she was smiling down onto the grass and the pale green points all the time. -Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden (1911), pp. 73-74

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