Sunday, 7 February 2010

A 'Mary Lennox' moment

Mary Lennox is the heroine of this book. This is the copy my grandmother bought me in the early 60's because she had loved the story so.
Although it is so grey and dull in the garden this weekend, something has definitely changed. The air smells different and the birds are singing, tuning up. Our robin sings hidden in a holly and I can hear another singing back from a few gardens away. The dunnocks are chasing each other round and round the hedge so I can't decide if there are two or three or four of them. And of course poking up through the dead leaves and tangled stems are the crocuses and daffodils and narcissus. The Mary Lennox of the story is a spoilt little girl from an colonial family in India who has been orphaned and taken to live in chilly Yorkshire. Left to  her own devises she learns to skip in the gardens of the large house where she lives and discovers a locked walled garden which she secretly works in. Of course Mary's personality blooms with the garden and the book has a very happy ending. (Curiously I went on to marry a 'Colin', the name of the boy in the story - although my Colin calls himself Tod - but that is another story).The descriptions of the garden's return to life has never left me, and I know it is a favourite read of many of you.  As  I went into the garden to take the netting off the bowls of bulbs I planted up last autumn. (The netting stops the squirrels digging them up) Mary Lennox sprang into my mind. I thought I'd also get out the watercolours, and like the robin I have done a couple of tuning-up sketches.
These are called February Gold - I wonder if they will live up to their name.
I have little success growing snowdrops in my garden. I don't know why. It may be that I disturb the bulbs in the summer, and although I have tried planting them in out of the way places they seem to disappear after a couple of years.  I was given a potful a couple of years ago and took some successful photographs of one when I set up some lighting as part of my photography course. I have one little rather weedy flower this year where I planted this out. So fingers crossed it will be there next year!

I hope your weekend hasn't been too dull - just go and look for those bulbs!

10 comments:

WrightStuff said...

I've noticed the birds singing much more lately too and there's some tiny daffodil shoots peeking out of the ground. Spring is on the way!

WrightStuff said...

Forgot to say - Secret Garden a big fave of mine too! Read it loads of times as a child :)

marigold jam said...

That snowdrop photo is stunning! We have been out in the garden today too and our robin has been sitting in the tree watching us as we worked - the same one perhaps who came and sat on a post near the kitchen window and asked why the food hadn't been put out and it was now nearly mid-day! I took some out at once and he folowed me down the garden to where I usually put it and before I was back in the house he was there eating his fill!

Jane

Printed Material said...

Jill,
What a fabulous snowdrop photo. Buy some 'in the green' in the new few weeks after flowering and then plant them. It's a fail safe way of snowdrops taking and replenishing year on year. Lovely watercolours - what a wonderful way to record the changes in the season. I never read The Secret Garden but saw a film a few years ago. It is a magical story. Lovely to be reminded. Lesley.

Menopausal musing said...

The birds are definitely acting as if spring is just around the corner here. We were lucky enough to find a fifteen foot swathe of snowdrops at the very bottom of our garden when we cleared it. (It hadnt been gardened for fifteen years!). I love the things. That was a beautiful photo and your sketches are truly lovely.

Lalabibaby said...

The birds are getting busier and louder and our budgies are sitting on eggs. I don't know what will flower in my garden this year ... puppy has managed to eat or sit on most things! The rhubarb is starting to sprout behind the shed too. Secret Garden is one of our favourites and whenever we drive into Hexton my girls look at the big wall on the right because when they were little they were convinced the secret garden was behind there x

Leenie said...

Thanks for the advanced notice of good things to come. Our high alititude will keep the ground cold and the robins away for a few more weeks. For the farmers' sake we are actually hoping for more snow. The runoff fills the reservoirs that are used to irrigate the fields. And the skiers are not ready to quit either. Personally I would like to hear a robin and see some green. The watercolors are fun and the photo is a stunner.

Kate said...

What a gorgeous copy of The Secret Garden you have there, I love the illustration. And talking of illustrations, your very own are absolutely lovely, I hope you show us more as the year progresses. As for the snowdrop photo, it is brilliant - I'm trying (unsuccessfully) to take some photos of jewellery and I so wish you were here with me! x

Lizzie said...

The Secret Garden has always been one of my favourite books. I re-read it again recently (never too old for a good kids' book!). I have a dvd copy of the BBC tv version, which was on when I was a little girl. I love that to bits.

The sketches are rather sweet and that snowdrop photo is a stunner!

We have some little white face peeping out in our border and the birds are getting busier by the day. They still need their bird seed putting out though - not much around for them just now.

Lawendula said...

I really must read this some time in English! Have read this in German, but it's also quite a time ago.
"Little Princess" isn't that from her too? I really adored that old Shirley Temple Movie, when I was a kid. Strange foreign world...
Robins are my favorite birds, they are so beautiful!
Have a nice day!