Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Secret Garden

Everyone dreams of having a secret garden.  Well, I have one.

You see, there once was a house that sat in this location.  People shared their lives here.  Memories were made, time was spent, and a gardener planted a garden.  The house is now gone.  Trees have fallen where a roof once sheltered a family.  And the garden was abandoned.  But not quite forgotten.  Every year I venture down to that secluded spot to see the secret garden.

Yellow daffodils bloom there.  And white irises.

The irises have spread.  They now form a thick clump of unexpected beauty that shines bright in the darkness of the surrounding woods.  Monkey grass, too, continues to spread.  It is so thick no weed dares to sprout in the middle of them.

Last year I transplanted numerous irises from this secret garden.  In fact, every white iris in my garden is from this place.  Like Sleeping Beauty, briars protect the rest.

Thank you, JG, for planting your garden all those years ago.  Though it looks quite different than when your garden was in its prime, the irises still bloom.  Even in a forgotten corner of the property, they still delight.  Because I know their secret.


  1. You are lucky, HolleyGarden! You seem to have so much to explore, and so much beauty around you too.

  2. HolleyGarden, what a wonderfully written post about your secret garden. You really toughed my heart. The first photo with the white irises growing through the fallen tree is quite magical, you captured the atmosphere perfectly.
    Thank you!

    PS. I didn't quite understand and I am curious to know, is the secret garden located on your own property?

  3. How lovely! I've found places like this, too. The houses are gone, but the gardens are still there. I always wonder about the people who lived there. It's very magical.

    Great post! You really captured the spirit of those old homesteads!

  4. My favorite children's book is "Secret Garden," so I had to read your post. How fun to imagine how someone once lived!

  5. Masha - I was surprised to see these irises come up the first year we lived here. I remember the old home and garden, but never imagined there was anything left.

    Christina - Yes, it is on our property. Just a short walk. We can sometimes see the irises when the sun shines just right, but most of the time we have to walk there to see them. It's a fun adventure to go see if they are blooming. Sorry I didn't make that clear. JG lived in the home (now gone) long before we moved here. This house was built in a different place on the same property. Hope that's clear!

    Shannon - it's amazing to me how long the bulbs continue to live. It was so nice to be able to get some of the bulbs for my own garden, especially since I knew the gardener that planted them originally.

    Cynthia - I love that book, too. This garden is not as beautiful, but I suppose it could be - given enough work!

  6. There are places like that here as well. The house is gone by fire, yet the gardens come back each year. It almost seems right to give some plants a new and loving home, leaving some for the history of the place.

  7. What a sweet post, Holley. Does it change from year to year? I always find that fascinating--especially in a wild place like a forest or a meadow or a secret garden. How the plants shift and rearrange and change over time. Thanks for the glimpse of your secret garden!

  8. GWGT - Those gardens are wonderful, aren't they, because they are so unexpected. I did feel a bit like I was saving some of the plants I transplanted. They are much happier up here in the sun.

    PlantPostings - It does change a bit, yes. I figured they were trying to reach the sunlight, or some are being choked out. It's amazing how much they multiply!

  9. Oh, that is such a romantic thing... we seem to have cemeteries like that but I haven't found a abandoned old homesite yet.

  10. Nice to see plants coming out of the ground in spring. I love your Roses pictures.

  11. Makes me wonder how many 'secret or forgotten' gardens are out there.

  12. Lovely. What a special place you have.

    In walking through our woods I've come upon ivy growing up a tree and wondered how it got there. Someone had to have planted it. But there have been no bulbs blooming. Later in the spring the phlox blooms through the woods and along the creek that parallels the lane. It's a vestige of a previous owner of the neighbor's 1808 home. That phlox has seeded itself through the woods. It's a nice surprise each year to see how much farther its gotten.

  13. How sweet to have a secret spot to explore and enjoy. I have noticed abandoned properties also, and wondered about the history and the people who must have once loved it.

    Thank for sharing, it made me smile.

  14. Jess - old cemeteries are special places, too. Such love expressed in the plantings.

    Sue - Thank you. It is wonderful when spring brings the bulbs out of hiding.

    Loretta - I think it's neat, too. It was a surprise when we first noticed them. Now we make a point to go see them.

    Darla - I bet there are more than we realize. That's one thing about bulbs - they are pretty determined to come up.

    Marcia - That sound magical. I bet the phlox blooms shine in the woods. How lovely it must be.

    Lifeshighway - It does make you wonder, because obviously someone took the time and effort to try and make things look nicer. And, really, they do look nicer, still.

  15. Your secret garden is lovely. I love exploring old homeplaces...especially their old garden sites, and seeing what is still growing. It is a very nostalgic experience, isn't it?

    1. Yes, nostalgic. That's the perfect word for it. It always makes one wonder about the lives that were lead there, and the gardeners that planted the plants that live on.


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