Tuesday 29 March 2022

Son of the Secret Gardener


Most of us have read the book or have seen one of the four films made based on the children's classic novel The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgeson Burnett

It's beautiful story about friendship, secrets, and the human spirit, The Secret Garden tells the story of the courage of two unhappy and withering children who become determined to make their lives, and the lives of others around them, more joyful. 

Orphaned Mary Lennox is sent to live in her uncle's house on the Yorkshire moors, and the house is an unhappy one. 

Miserable and lonely, Mary starts to explore the house's gardens and she discovers a key to the secret garden.

Burnett based the story on her own beautiful and extensive garden at Maytham Hall (in Rolvenden, Kent). Burnett’s Head Gardener at the time was Trevor Millum’s grandfather, George Owen Millum (the inspiration for the gardener in the novel, Ben Weatherstaff). 

When Trevor Millum discovered the diaries of his father, the Son of the Secret Gardener, he decided to make them available to everyone and, in the process, to tell the story of his green-fingered father and grandfather. 

The result is this engaging book – destined to become much-loved bedtime reading for gardeners and nature lovers. This is an absorbing and entertaining read for all – especially those interested in the lives of workers on the country estates during the 1930s, the war years and in post-war Britain. 

The book is packed with fascinating details for gardeners and horticulturalists. It is illustrated with photos from the time, photos of the diary pages and charming drawings by Twink Addison. 

 A treasure trove of trugs & trowels, spuddling & shrubberies, pruning & potting, and weeding in all weathers! Yep Spuddling is a real word! page 38 explains it's origin, I looked it up before I found page 38.   

A window into a bygone world of great houses, serviced by a host of servants. Fascinating reading for all those who love historic houses and gardens – and a great gift for any garden-lover.

The Secret Garden is my eldest daughters favourite book and then when she saw the 1993 film (The third film version) and loved that as much as the book, and I ended up buying her the DVD and we watched it many times as she grew up. 

I also love reading historical books, and period publications about gardening and allotments like Your Garden in War-Time by C.H.Middlrton and Diggers Diary Tales from the Allotment by Victor Osborne and The Victorian Kitchen Garden by Jennifer Davies. So if you are anything like me you are going to love this book. 

Son of the Secret Gardener comes out on 4th April 

ISBN: 978 1 86151 971 9 Paperback 120 pages RRP: £11.50 April 2022 Quadrant Books is an imprint of the Memoirs Group www.quadrant-books.com Available through: the publisher, internet booksellers and all good bookshops.

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