Monday, 25 February 2013

My Secret Garden

   The children's story "The Secret Garden" was written in 1911 by Francis Hogson Burnett about a spoiled, sour child named Mary who had lost her family to Cholera in India and lived with her uncle in Kent, England. Her life is affected by the discovery of a secret garden. The secret garden at Misselthwaite Manor is the site of both the near-destruction and the subsequent regeneration of a family. Using the garden motif, Burnett explores the healing power inherent in living things. The story constitutes a struggle between common sense and the accepted wisdom of the day, in which common sense wins. Another theme is what today might be called 'positive thinking', and belief in its power to bring about psychological and physical healing. Along with this goes a powerful message about the way in which life circumstances affect the formation of personality.
Subsequently, the nursery rhyme  "Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary;... How does your Garden Grow?" was derived of that story.
   In the 1980's author and psychiatrist Nancy Friday began a  book series about sexual fantasies starting with "My Secret Garden". It was way ahead of the whole Venus/Mars phenomenon.

  There is a place in Niagara Falls called the Secret Garden. It is located smack dab in the middle of the tourist area in the Falls and yet it is usually empty and serene amongst the neon lights and crowds on Clifton Hill. It is a true wonder in this city. The exception being on weekends in the summer when hundreds of bridal parties flock to it for photo sets. The Secret Garden is much like the one in Burnett's story. It has imposing Iron gates and limestone walls. The ivy climbs on everything. There are hedge mazes, brooks, ponds, fountains, arbours and floral displays. There is an outdoor café in there also. It is all maintained by the Niagara Parks Commission.
  My first recollection of the Garden was in photos of my parents honeymoon in the 1950's. After a number of visits to Niagara Falls when I was young, I could never recall seeing this Garden. When I moved here a number of years ago, I rediscovered it. The Garden was as intact and identical as it was in my parents photos. It is still a great place for photography. I have taken pictures there with my T sister Jodianne and many more by myself. I also recently discovered on my Flickr page a friend, model, business tycoon and diva Christina Saint Marche had done some photo sets there too.

  Reflecting on the literary works, I feel that common theme of emotional growth and positive thinking that comes from my local Secret Garden. Sometimes though, I just like to take a bunch of pictures of myself outside. Whatever your reasons, be sure to check out the Secret Garden on your next visit to Niagara Falls between your time in the casinos and the haunted houses and wax museums on Clifton Hill.

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