When Frances Hodgson Burnett’s book The Secret Garden was published in 1911 it was met with mixed reviews. A book featuring adolescent protagonists entrenched in adult themes of loss and neglect overcome by regeneration, it may have been that the reading audience was so broad neither knew how to accept it.
Throughout the years however the concept of secret gardens has never waned in style. It is thought that there are approximately 18,000 community gardens peppered across the United States and Canada alone. Ranging in purpose from cultivating produce to community improvement, these havens, even in urban areas, provide a respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Boosting the mental well-being for those who both care for and visit these verdant oases.
While opulent gardens have long been a source of wonder, ( we’re looking at you hanging gardens of Babylon and Dubai’s Miracle Garden), there is much to appreciate about the peace and simplicity of a wildly hewn bed of flowers and fauna cared for by enthusiastic yet amateur locals.
Although NYC is home to a handful of private gardens which are closed to the public, there are over 100 community gardens to be found in the tri-borough. A spot where you can stop and catch your breath and watch locals enjoy the fruit of their labours. Quite literally.
Our personal favourites can be found in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Always teeming with locals of all ages getting their hands stuck into the soil or sipping on a beverage while chatting with their neighbours, it embodies the true community spirit of this city we love.
Next time you visit New York be sure to check out a community garden and acknowledge the wonder of this modern take on Frances Hodgson Burnett’s Secret Garden.