When I announced over dinner to mister gardener that I am developing a spot in the yard for a new secret garden, his response was, “A secret garden? Why would anyone want a secret garden?”
Surprised, I had to think a minute. “Well, it’s the delight of planning, planting, the joy of using it, sharing it and the excitement of discovery.”
“If you ask me (nobody did), I don’t think it makes sense. It would be like me making a beautiful chair in the workshop, then bringing it up to the house and hiding it in a closet. Maybe I’d share it. Maybe I wouldn’t.”
I could see we were going nowhere with this. “You’ve got a point, dear…” And we switched to the conversation to the wonderful tomato harvest.
Like sugarplums, visions of the new secret garden are dancing in my head. I have already spent several days hidden deep inside clearing, pruning, transplanting, and making room for what is to be. Dragging in a chair, I sometimes sit and think about the habitat I will create for the birds that I already see in this area, I imagine leading the grandchildren on an adventure picnic to an enchanted new wilderness, and I think of sipping my morning coffee here watching a microcosm what goes on in nature. There are two bunnies that call this garden home. They do not scurry when I approach. They are stretched out on the cool earth. Like the animals of the Galapagos they have no fear of humans. So together we share this space, just me and the bunnies.
One fun feature is that I can peek out into the world of bright sunshine and roses and mowed grass but no one notices me hidden in the dappled sunlight in this new space. The labs walk by searching and sniffing the air and I have seen mister gardener scratch his head and look around for me. “Yoo hoo,” I say. Up until my little announcement, he thought I was just weeding. Now he wonders if I’m actually going through with this notion. I see it on his face. I think secret gardens must appeal more to Maid Marions of the world who grew up with playhouses and sisters. I will allow this Merry Man to join me in my secret garden for a cocktail on occasion. I shall name it Sherwood Forest.
Ann Hohenberger, The Garden Club of Gloucester