A Secret Garden



Everyone should have a secret garden. Whether it’s a courtyard, patio or window ledge, secret gardens bring joy to your heart. I remember my first secret garden, it was a hidden place among the woods of Wisconsin when I was a little girl. I didn’t realize that it was a secret garden but I knew it was special, so I kept it all to myself, my cat and my books. When my family couldn’t find me, you can be sure that I was hidden under the great soft fir trees in my garden.  We had about 40 acres of land there, in my home of northern Wisconsin, the back 20 were fields that led to an airport runway. It was convenient for my fathers profession of being a pilot, airplane mechanic, airplane restorer and flight instructor. However, the front 20 were a forest. On one of my ramblings thru the forest I came across an area, where it looked like it used to be a carriage lane, with rows of soft fir pine trees lining each side. It’s the first time in my life that I recall creating stories in my head, here I imagined a wonderful world filled with carriages and laughter, mice and racoons in tweed suits, cats wearing glasses and finely dressed ladies and handsome gentlemen. The pine needles had layered the lane so that is was thick and soft. It created an insulation making a peaceful quietness there. Pretty, delicate little flowers raised their heads out of those fir needles, here and there with no rhyme or reason and yet it felt to me like a lilting poem. The great trees had huge lower boughs that made for a wonderful hiding place for a girl, her cat and her books.

I treasure those memories and so everywhere I go, I create some sort of secret garden.  In this home I knew exactly where I would build a secret garden. Hubby had a hard time seeing my vision but I just knew it would be perfect. As with all gardens it’s still a work in progress, but it’s come a long way!

I started with a driveway, a driveway? Why would you pick a driveway you might wonder? Well, there was a weird quirk in our new house. We had a driveway on one side of the house that went along to the back cement fence. Doesn’t sound all that strange yet, I know. Here’s the weird part. there was a sliding glass door on that side of the house. Not that strange either right? Wrong! the sliding glass door was in our master bathroom and it led to the side driveway! Now that, is weird! You just looked out the sliding glass door to see the driveway and neighbor walking by, or anyone really could just walk up to it! Very odd indeed. However, the minute I saw it I knew, that it could be turned into a beautiful little oasis. I love when you can take a negative and turn it into a positive!

Sadly, I didn’t get a true before picture. I forgot. Here’s the closest I have to the before picture. This is  from the direction of the outside of the privacy fence we put up around the sliding glass door. We did not include a gate to add more security. This is a secret garden afterall..

courtyarddrivewayThen we added a storage shed in front of the fence. You can see how the driveway went along in between our house and our neighbors house. We also have parking in front of our house so we didn’t need the driveway all the way back.

IMG_2861.JPGNow that I had it fenced in, I needed to deal with driveway issues, like a bunch of driveway rocks and a lot of weeds with wicked stickers.


I started by adding a layer of bamboo reeds on the fence for more privacy and then staining it.  I laid cardboard down over the stickers and rocks, then a layer of mulch over that.

Here’s the ugly frosted sliding glass door from the inside.


Once I had the area closed in with the privacy fence, I scraped off the frost on the glass. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to put much effort into it for awhile because we were working so hard on the apartment for the kiddo on the inside of the house, so I just threw a few things in there, including hanging a paint drop cloth over the sliding glass door area. I did that because the sun is harsh on that side and it saved us on energy costs last summer.


Then, I’m afraid it just languished away like this for a year, but I still had hope in my heart. With great joy we finished the kiddos apartment! Which meant, that this year I could work on my secret garden! I know you’d like to see how it turned out! Here it is!


It’s just a sneak peak! I have things growing! flowers and trees, and some tomatoes too. You’ll have to stay tuned for my next blog on what else I planted and the where’s and how’s of everything and of course, more pictures! I wish for you to have a secret garden in your life!



2 thoughts on “A Secret Garden”

  1. What a beautiful memory and the little garden looks wonderful. I love your story!

    1. aww, thankyou! that means a lot from such an amazing writer like yourself!

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