Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happiness in The Secret Garden

Happiness in The Secret Garden


I simply love being in a beautiful garden.  Whether it is just sittingstrolling, or sweating as I am cleaning and planting.  For me, there is something so very special about nature and, in particular, flora and fauna.  As a little girl, I loved the story of The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. 

Janet Allison Brown has retold The Secret Garden for little ones in a picture book illustrated by Graham Rust.

One of the underlying themes of the story is the way that happiness begets happiness.  What a wonderful thought!  It is impossible to always be happy, especially in the face of adversity.  However, can we just try to find the blessings in life and be happy so that everyone we touch will experience that happiness?
Burnett Memorial Fountain Central Park, NY
The Secret Garden is one of those classic novels that will always be sentimental to me because of how much I loved it when I was an adolescent.  The idea of a secret place whose "magical" powers can help us find happiness after heartache is one I think we all wish we possessed. 

I think it is important that we have such a place where we can go to feel rejuvenated.  For some it may be the beach, for others, it may be a spa, and for still others it may be a room in the home.  No matter where our "Secret Garden" may be, we need that space to call our own and to use the magic to lift our spirits.  For some reason, it is easier to believe in the magic of a setting than it is to realize that we can control our own happiness.  That is the lesson we learn from Mary and Colin.
 I also find it fascinating that a little bit of responsibility in one's life can lead to happiness.  Mary takes on caring for the neglected garden and then for Colin.  This gives her a sense of purpose that completely changes her character.  This is a lesson we can easily teach our little ones with the reponsibility of a garden.

Brown's version of The Secret Garden shows children that it is okay to seek out a "magical" place of their own where they can learn to cope with negative feelings.  I am finding this happening to my son after the birth of my daughter.  At 5 years apart, my son finds he prefers the quiet of his room to the screaming baby in the living room.  Although I may feel sorrow about his desire to be alone, he assures me that he "just wants some alone time".....words from a 5-year-old!

Here are some ideas for The Secret Garden!
The titles link to the websites.

Teacher Link provides an interdisciplinary unit of study on The Secret Garden.

Family Gardening 
The Kids Gardening website provides great ideas to help your children enjoy growing their own garden.

Kaboose offers a tutorial for making a Birdfeeder with little ones.     

 Key Wind Chime
If Mary had not found the key, she would not have been able to enter the Secret Garden.  This craft using recyclable materials is dedicated to that moment.  This would look wonderful with antique keys.

The Secret Garden
You can visit Free Classic AudioBooks website to download a free audio version of The Secret Garden.  There are many other classic audio books to download as well.

Crowd-Pleasing Tea Sandwich Recipes

Kara's Party Ideas has wonderful ideas for a little girl's Secret Garden Party.

Tea Time Sandwiches
All the girls in our family love to go to Afternoon Tea!  Southern Living has provided delicious recipes for tea sandwiches.  Any or all of these would be great for a Secret Garden Tea Party!

Of course, with tea parties there are always sweets!  One of my favorite "go to" recipes for a sweet tea treat is Ina Garten's lemon squares.  They truly are the BEST! 

"If you look the right way,
you can see that the whole world is a garden."
― Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

Tell Us About Your "Secret Garden"!

Linking to:


  1. What a fairy tale place. Just beautiful. Love the tea time sandwiches.

    1. Shawna,

      Thank you for visiting!


  2. Hi there,
    Oh I so remember this book. I read it to my grade 5 class. Then we watched the movie. And we went to see the live play. They loved to compare the versions - what was left out? How did the play have to change things. They also loved the way I read it with the accent because the author showed me exactly how to sound out the words.
    Love love love this book.

  3. Janis,
    Oh, how exciting that you met Burnett! This is one of my favorite books as well. I just love the themes that run through it. Thank you for visiting!

  4. oh those sandwiches & lemon squares look so yummy! :) i remember reading this book all the time as a kid! :) Thank you so much for linking up with me this week at Tasty Tuesdays!

  5. I love the ideas you have to go along with the book. We are featuring your post tomorrow on Share It Saturday. Our features this week are all about getting outside and creating with Spring's bounties. I love that your post shows us how to explore a wonderful book and then get creative with some fun activities to go along with the themes of the book. Thank you for sharing with us at Share It Saturday! p.s. Do you have a FB or Twitter page for your blog? We would love to follow you! We did follow on Pinterest. Looking forward to more posts from you on Share It Saturday!
    Colleen at

    1. Colleen,
      Oh My Goodness! I am so excited that you are featuring The Secret Garden! I am also very happy that you like the way we have organized the blog posts. We are very passionate about picture books. We not only want to share the books, but we want to do it in a way that will engage families and educators. You can follow me on twitter @kpfasanella and on facebook at Karen Fasanella. I did not think to include these on my sidebar, but I will now.

      Thank you again!

  6. Hello! I found your link at the Pinterest Party. I am a retired teacher who has found her secret garden! Pinning all your wonderful activities centered around the book.

    1. Jane,

      Thank you so much for stopping by. I am so happy that you enjoyed this post. I visited your blog as well and pinned the drift roses. What a beautiful garden!!!

      Thank yiou,