It was autumn when our family moved to a new home on 20 acres in the country. After settling in, the first order of business was planning a garden. An area was chosen, fenced in and prepared for planting in the spring. While this work was happening, the little Lathams had their own idea about a garden…a secret garden. They began by clearing a trail into the woods. They raked and scraped and pulled up the growth. Finally, there was a twisty little path leading to a small clearing in the trees.
The children came to me for help choosing plants for this shady area. Luckily, a friend had recently thinned her garden and offered to give us flower bulbs of all varieties. The Latham kids each chose an area of the garden and began planting. They moved rocks to make borders and placed logs to be used for benches.
Early the next spring, things began happening. The children were happily surprised to find their bulbs sprouting and blooming. It was beautiful to see those flashes of bright color interrupting the dark green of the woods. More plants were added throughout the spring. One Little Latham planted a fairy ring of purple cone flowers. Some native wonders were discovered by the gardeners, too. They found tiny wild strawberries, goose berry bushes, and blankets of purple violets.
The path was well worn by the passing of many little feet, but the rest of the garden was a little wild. This made it even more mysterious. It seemed as if the flowers had sprung up on their own amidst the grape vines and poison ivy. It was cool there, even on the hottest summer days.
This secret garden was the backdrop for many games and adventures. It was truly hidden. If a visitor came to the place; he never knew the garden existed. That is, until he was invited in…