Monday, February 7, 2011

Monday Night Magical Movie: The Secret Garden

Tomorrow's my birthday, and I am so tired of looking at snow and ice. My thoughts keep traveling to the buds on the trees and the plants in slumber beneath the snow and ice. The trees look dead, but we know they are "wick," alive inside!

So I wanted to share one of my favorite magical movies about growth in nature and in the human heart, I love to watch this one in my studio, it's beautiful, peaceful and full of magic! This 1993 film was directed by Agnieszka Holland and was based upon the children's book by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

"Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow? With silver bells and cockle shells, and pretty maids all in a row."

"The other children used to sing that at me, but I wasn't as contrary as they were."

Poor little Mary Lennox, (Kate Maberly, Wendy in Finding Neverland) a young English girl living in India with her parents who never had time for her, so she was raised by her Ayah, her nanny who enchanted her imagination with stories of Indian folklore and legend. He parents die in an earthquake and she's sent back to the English countryside to live with her uncle who she also finds is absent not only emotionally, but often physically from his grand manor. Mary is left in the overbearing care of Mrs. Medlock, played by Maggie Smith (Minerva McGonagall from the Harry Potter series.) Is it any wonder Mary has become outspoken, inquisitive and just a little cranky?

Mary, left to her own devices, ventures in the wintry cold gardens and discovers an overgrown and neglected secret garden behind a locked gate, and of course, she also finds the key. It turns out it was her aunts garden, the twin sister of her mother who has died which is the reason that her grieving uncle is never around. Despite Mary's contrary nature, she's befriended by Martha, one of the servants who finds her rather amusing, and Marthas' younger brother Dickon, an interesting young man who seems to talk to animals and knows the secrets of the natural world. Mary and Dickon work in the garden and through their care bring it back to life as the spring grows into summer.
Through her nosing around she also discovers her cousin Colin, a sickly child who isn't allowed out of his room due to his health. Mary decides that against the will of Medlock and the entire household, Colin will be going outside to see her garden.

One of my favorite scenes in this movie (and there are many) is one evening the children build a bonfire with help from the old gardener and suddenly go into an impromptu magic spell in which Colin calls, "Oh great magic, please come to me, bring me my father here, set his spirit free!" and the rest of the kids join in chanting. It's an excellent example of how children naturally know instinctively how to make magic happen, how to raise and send energy, it's positively inspired!

I can't watch this movie without snickering when Mary tells her cousin Colin that he's sour all the time, and he responds my saying, "I'm...not...sour!" as he glowers and pulls the most sour face you've ever seen on the face of a child!

I also love the scene when he tells the household staff that he intends to venture out (in his wheelchair) and makes a grand speech about how they will leave him and his cousin and friend alone in the gardens of the manor. "He whispers to Mary asking her, "What does Raja say when he want everyone to leave?" On her instruction he waves a hand and announces in a royal tone, "I have spoken, all depart!" The kids in this movie are all very talented actors!
This movie is about the magic of nature, and love, and family, and how the heart of one person can save the hearts of many.

"The secret garden is always open now. Open, awake, and alive. If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden."

Monday Movie Featured Item:

Mary isn't the only one with a magical secret garden, you can decorate yours with this beautiful garden flag
from our Etsy shop



  1. I found your blog by searching for pictures from the Secret Garden movie. I absolutely loved this movie. It was one of my favorite books when I was young. One of my favorite scenes is when they do a fast motion of the garden growing from seeds.

  2. Thats one of my favorite scenes too! The whole movie just makes you smile!

  3. I do really love that movie....
    Always repeat that over and over again before bed time....


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