Have you seen the movie or read the book, My Secret Garden? That was one of my favorite books as a child. In fact, I still love it.
But now, even better . . . I have my own secret garden! And I love it even more! In fact, every year at this time, I fall deeper and deeper in love with it.
But my secret garden isn’t hidden behind walls. It’s right out in the open where anyone can see it. So why is it a secret garden?
Well, my secret garden has many secrets. She shares a few with me each year, and I think if I lived to be 200, I would never learn all her secrets. She only shares her secrets when I’m ready to hear them, and I’m kind of a slow learner. I have to learn a whole new language to really understand her secrets, and her language is full of subtle and beautiful nuances, so it’s not something I can learn all at once.
One of her secrets is that she loves me like I love her. She loves the attention I give her . . . how I walk through her each day, admiring her beauty, singing to her, talking to individual plants, and expressing my appreciation to them. I can feel the energy of reciprocity as she returns the love and gratitude for my care.
She appreciates that I consider it a joy, rather than a chore, to take care of her. No one likes to feel they are just another obligation. And my garden is no different. So every time I go out to my garden, we greet each other like friends who love to spend time together.
Another secret is that my garden is all about relationships — and not just with me! And these relationships go far beyond the bees and butterflies pollinating the flowers.
She has a very complex web of relationships that I never see that allow the miracle of the garden to unfold. Although I’m somewhat aware of some of these relationships, they remain quite mysterious and magical to me.
The soil in the garden is literally alive with billions of tiny beings. Some are visible, but most are too small to see with the naked eye. In addition to the tiny microbes, there are also worms and some other little critters that live in the soil. All these little beings are working together and providing the nutrients needed by the plants in the garden. So I don’t actually fertilize the plants in my garden . . . I feed the microbes, instead, and they provide the food for the plants. I couldn’t garden without them!
Fortunately, I don’t need to understand all the complexity of this web of life in the soil. I just need to feed these little guys some organic matter, such as leaves and compost, and they do all the rest. I call these microbes my “compost buddies.”
Although I can’t see most of these tiny critters, I feel their presence. It wouldn’t be a garden without them. So one of the big secrets I learned was that what is happening above ground — where we can see it — is only the tip of the iceberg.
I just learned a new secret last night, and I’m really excited about it!
We all know that sound is vibration, right? Well, vibrations affect everything about life — including plants. Scientists have played music for plants and discovered that they grow better with classical music than with rock music. (Makes sense to me!)
But think about what other sounds you hear in your garden. Early in the morning, and again in the evening, the birds are chirping and singing enthusiastically. I’ve always loved hearing them, but I never thought about the effect their songs have on the plants in the garden! It turns out that plants take in more nutrients early in the morning and late in the afternoon, coinciding with the times the birds are the most vocal.
So my secret garden has a much broader range of relationships than I ever dreamed of. The microbes in the soil . . . the butterflies and bees pollinating the flowers . . . and now even the birdsongs creating the vibrational frequencies that help the plants take in nutrients. The healthier these relationships are, the healthier the garden is. Anything that affects one part affects the whole.
I’m so grateful to be part of the web of relationships in my garden. The more I learn the secrets of my garden, the more I learn how to be a human being. If I live long enough, and spend enough time there, I just might become the person I’m meant to be!
I’ve also learned that the entire earth is a garden. And like my little garden, the earth is a huge, beautiful, complex set of relationships. And when something affects one part, it affects the whole. In this case, the whole Earth.
So let’s appreciate her. Let’s sing to her. Let’s take care of her, as she is taking care of us. And lets do this joyfully and with gratitude, rather than out of a sense of obligation. There’s magic in the garden, from the smallest patch of flowers to the immensity of the Earth. As we learn to listen, we discover her secrets, and we learn to become better human beings living in our Secret Garden.