“From December to March, there are for many of us three gardens – the garden outdoors, the garden of pots and bowls in the house, and the garden of the mind’s eye.”
– Katherine S. White
Now there is one place I can lose myself in and that place is the garden. It is a place where I can go and feel safe, a place where you can remove yourself from the stresses of everyday life.
For me it is a place that often opens the secret door into another garden, which is the one in your head. Especially when times are stressful at work and in life, the times when life’s worries and stresses get on top of you and you need that time out.
“In my garden there is a large place for sentiment. My garden of flowers is also my garden of thoughts and dreams. The thoughts grow as freely as the flowers, and the dreams are as beautiful.” ~Abram L. Urban
For me, there is no better place than in the garden. Finding a nice quiet spot away from everything and everyone, closing your eyes taking in the sounds, smells and the atmosphere of the garden around you. Then visualising your own secret garden merging the two together.
“Of course there must be lots of Magic in the world,” he said wisely one day, “but people don’t know what it is like or how to make it. Perhaps the beginning is just to say nice things are going to happen until you make them happen. I am going to try and experiment.” ~Frances Hodgson Burnett
With the sounds and smells of the garden around you combined with the vision of your own secret garden, tackling the issues of the day or your life in general feels a lot less threatening.
Opening your eyes again to the real world, seeing the reality of the garden around you, at work it is a real pleasure at home … well that’s not go there, too much to do; often feeling a lot calmer and refreshed knowing that you can always go back to it at any time. With me I am usually brought back down to earth with a bump, when my phone starts ringing, usually somebody asking the bleeding obvious, or my Deputy telling about a meeting that I have forgotten all about.
As a child I was very lucky that I had a very real secret garden to go too with my Grandad … Green Knowe (Hemingford Grey Manor). The more I think about it, this is the garden I go back to in my sub-conscious. It is a place that I feel very safe, happy, calm with all the good memories; it is a place of hope and somewhere were you have no visitors … only the ones you allow.
It is a place that is very much in my thoughts at this present time, as I near the 21st anniversary of my Grandads death. My Grandad passed away on the 19th December 1991 and he was buried on the 24th December. Christmas Eve was always a special day for me, even before the death of my Grandad, but since then, even more so. At the time of his death I was 21 and with the 21st anniversary this year, I have now realised I have had half my life without him. His death did hit me hard at the time but I was able to move on. It is because he played such a big part in my life that he is often in my thoughts and I have a lot of good memories of him; these help me in times of stress in the present day.
Going back to that secret garden in your head, how many times do you close your eyes to try and visualise that particular plant, border, planting scheme or garden ornament, to see if it will fit into place … it will nearly always give the answer you were looking for.
The garden itself is a magical place, admittedly not every garden, I have seen some real nightmares in my time, I have already mentioned my garden at home. However all gardens are full of life, unless you have tarmacked everything, they are place full of flora and fauna both friend or foe; a place to relax, to play, work, laugh and cry; a place where many grow up in, get laid to rest in and a place to learn in. The garden itself is one of the best teachers in life you could ever have.
“Teachers who inspire know that teaching is like cultivating a garden, and those who would have nothing to do with thorns must never attempt to gather flowers.”
The garden is not just good for the environment, but it is also good for a persons piece of mind. A place to escape and it doesn’t matter how big, small or how grand that garden is, just as long as it gives you that feeling of belonging a place that is good for the soul. As for the secret garden in your head …. now that can be whatever you want it to be.